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The Strike Zone

Alfonso Soriano's hot hitting results in RBI first as Yankees stomp Angels

Alfonso Soriano drove in seven runs over two games against the Angels. (Kathy Willens/AP)Alfonso Soriano drove in seven runs over two games against the Angels. (Kathy Willens/AP)

Prior to Tuesday night, the Yankees had gone a dozen games without scoring six runs in a game. On both Tuesday and Wednesday night, however, the Yankees' new leftfielder, Alfonso Soriano, drove in that many runs on his own, becoming just the third player since 1916 to drive in at least six runs in consecutive games, and the first of that trio to drive in more than six in one of those by pushing across seven runs in Wednesday night's 11-3 win over the Angels.

The player Soriano drove in the most in those two games was himself, as he homered twice in each game, making him the first Yankee to have consecutive multi-homer games since Jason Giambi did it twice in 2005, and just the fourth player with consecutive multi-homer games this season, joining the Indians' Ryan Raburn, the Nationals' Jayson Werth, and the A's Josh Reddick, who tied a record by hitting five home runs in two games this past weekend. The two men who had previously driven in six runs in consecutive games were the Rangers' Rusty Greer on Aug. 22 and 23, 1997, and the Brewers' Geoff Jenkins, who also hit five home runs on Apr. 28 and 29, 2001.

Soriano, who hit a grand slam, a two-run double, and a solo home run for his seven RBI on Wednesday night, did not reach the record for the most RBI in consecutive games, however. That still belongs to fellow Yankee Tony Lazzeri, who drove in 15 runs in consecutive games on May 23 and 24, 1936, matching Reddick's feat of hitting five home runs in two games. The first of those two games was actually the nightcap of a double-header, the opening game of which also saw Lazzeri hit a solo homer, giving him 16 RBI and six home runs in three games over the span of two days. Lazzeri's 11 RBI in the May 24 game remain an American League record.

Still, Soriano's outburst fell just two RBI shy of Lazzeri's record, no mean feat given the anemic Yankees offense this season. Prior to Tuesday night, no Yankee had driven in six runs in a game this season, and only twice had a Yankees hitter driven in more than four: Apr. 9 when Robinson Cano did it, and May 10 when Lyle Overbay did it. Then again, Soriano also set personal career highs in RBI in both games. He had driven in five men in a game seven times in his career prior to Tuesday night, most recently on July 13 of last year, but never six.

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Soriano now has six home runs in his last seven games and claims that being rid of the pressure of approaching his 2,000th hit, which came on a home run against the Tigers on Sunday, has him feeling much more comfortable at the plate. Thanks in large part to Soriano's outburst in the last two games, he went a combined 6-for-9 with a rare walk, a single, a double, four home runs and 13 RBI over the two games, the Yankees stomped the Angels by a combined score of 26-10 in those two contests to find themselves with a modest three-game winning streak, their first since July 10-12.

Still, I remain dubious about the Yankees' ability to gain traction in the American League wild-card race. They are only five games behind the Rays, who currently occupy the second wild-card spot, but there are three other teams in between, and the Yankees had gone 22 games without consecutive wins prior to their current mini-streak, a stretch over which they were just 7-15 with the margin of victory in five of those wins being a single run. Soriano is doing exactly what the Yankees had hoped he would, providing power-based production from left field and the right side of the plate, but even a historic performance from Soriano may not be enough to get New York back to the playoffs.

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