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The Strike Zone

Streaking Alfonso Soriano goes three-fer again, powers Yankees to win

Alfonso Soriano now has 18 RBI in four games after this three-run home run. [Jim Rogash/Getty Images] Alfonso Soriano now has 18 RBI in four games after this three-run home run. [Jim Rogash/Getty Images]

While all the pregame attention on the Yankees’ lineup centers around the No. 5 hitter, Alex Rodriguez, the No. 4 hitter, Alfonso Soriano, continues to power New York’s offense. The Yankees plated 10 runs on Friday night behind Soriano’s three hits: a first-inning RBI infield single, a three-run homer in the third and an eighth-inning line drive single.

It was Soriano’s fourth consecutive game of three or more hits, and the third time the Yankees scored double-digit runs in their last four games. The team had only scored 10-plus runs four times before Tuesday, and Soriano’s streak is even more impressive.

No player has had a longer streak of three or more hits than Soriano’s four games since Hall of Famer George Brett had six such games in 1976. In the interim, 27 players have accounted for 29 four-game streaks, with Johnny Damon and Kirby Puckett as the two players with two streaks, according to research done on Baseball-Reference's Play Index. (Puckett’s both occurred in 1986.) Soriano was the first to accomplish the feat this year, while the Rockies’ Wilin Rosario and the Angels’ Torii Hunter (now with the Tigers) both did so last year.

What sets Soriano apart is the quality of those multi-hit games: of the 30 four-game streaks since 1976, the re-acquired Yankee is the first to slug five home runs. His seven extra-base hits, which also include one double, rank second only to Damon’s eight (four doubles, one triple, three homers) while with the Yankees in 2006.

Soriano’s 18 RBIs during the streak -- which includes six and seven in back-to-back games Tuesday and Wednesday -- were easily the most, besting the 15 that Cody Ross had with the Marlins in 2008 and the 10 that Steve Kemp had with the Yankees in 1984, which were the only other two instances of double-digit RBIs during such a streak.

Barring an unexpected day off, Soriano will face Boston’s John Lackey on Saturday with the chance to push his streak to five straight games. If he do so, he’ll join esteemed company as the last two players with streaks that length are both in the Hall of Fame: Brett in 1976 and Rod Carew in 1975.
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