It’s no secret that the Yankees are a team built around offense. Over the last decade, the Yankees have sought after and have signed some of the best offensive talent on the market, from Mark Teixeira to Jacoby Ellsbury. So when the Yanks got shut out two straight times by the Blue Jays earlier this month and saw their once six-game division lead shrink to just a half a game, there was a justified panic about whether or not the Yankees would free-fall their way out of playoff contention. But the Bombers have responded to the challenge - so far - by using the long ball.
In fact, after that early-August debacle with Toronto the Yankees have hit at least one home run in 10 straight games. Several of those games have not even featured the club leader in homers inTeixeira, as he continues to deal with a bruised shin.
The streak began on Aug. 11 when Stephen Drew and Carlos Beltran took Carlos Carrasco deep in Cleveland in a 5-4 defeat. The Yankees would also lose the second game of their power surge when Brian McCann hit a solo shot off Danny Salazar in a 2-1 loss. But then the Yankees got on the right side of the win/loss column with an 8-6 victory over the Trib,e which featured a three-run blast by McCann and an insurance dinger by Drew.
Then the Yankees flew into Toronto seeking revenge, and they took two of three from their division rival thanks in large part to the four-bagger. The Bombers took the series opener thanks to Beltran’s clutch three-run blast in the eighth to put his team up for good, 4-3. Beltran swatted a big fly again in the Yankees’ 4-1 win on Aug. 15, a game that also featured a homer by Teixeira. The Blue Jays took the series finale, 3-1, but Ellsbury’s solo shot in the sixth inning kept the game in reach.
The Yankees returned home on Aug. 18 and slugged their way to an 8-7, extra-innings win over the Twins. The power was supplied once again by McCann and Beltran, both of whom have lived up to their massive contracts this season after really disappointing the masses last year.
The most memorable home run of the streak was undoubtedly Alex Rodriguez’s grand slam in the seventh inning that put his team in front on the way to an 8-4 win over the Twins on Aug. 19.
The series finale with Minnesota was a day game that saw rookie Greg Bird go yard twice on Twins starter Ervin Santana as the Yankees squeaked by with a 4-3 victory.
The Yankees started a four-game stand against the Indians on Thursday and though they lost, 3-2, A-Rod picked up his 26th homer of the season. The streak ended on Friday night as the Yankees dropped another to Cleveland, 7-3. The Yankees took Saturday’s game, 6-2, but their inability to shut down a non-contender like the Indians is puzzling.
Still, the Bombers are still well in contention as we get deep into the season, and as long as the bats are going strong they’ll be in it until the very end.