On historic day, Martin leaves mark

Russell Martin

Russell Martin

#55 C
New York Yankees

2011 STATS

  • GM101
  • HR17

  • RBI59

  • R49

  • OBP.332

  • AVG.243

Allow Russell Martin to put the Yankees' three-grand-slam Thursday in perspective.

"It's pretty amazing. This game has been played a long time and pretty much everything has already happened," he said.

Pretty much everything. But never three grand slams.

Thanks to one from Martin, another from Robinson Cano and a third from Curtis Granderson, the Yankees set a major-league record with three grand slams in one game.

And on a remarkable day for the franchise, Martin may have left the biggest mark of all.

He finished the game with five hits in five at-bats, six RBI and two home runs.

Martin’s five hits were a career-high. They also were the most for a Yankees catcher in more than half a century. Backstop Elston Howard went 5-for-6 in 1959.

It's just the sixth time in the live ball era (1920) that a major-league catcher has had at least five hits and at least six RBI in one game and the fourth time in that span that a Yankee has had five hits and at least six RBI in five at-bats.

The understated backstop said it was "definitely cool, definitely just fun to be a part of" Thursday's hit parade.

"I'm waiting to see who's gong to hit four," Martin said. "I don't know if it's ever going to happen. We'll see. But three's pretty cool."

Martin's slam in the sixth gave the Yankees a 10-6 lead. They trailed 7-1 in the second inning. In all, the Yankees ended up outscoring the Athletics 21-2 over the final six innings.

"I know our offense was potent but that even astounded me," Joe Girardi said.

The manager was also impressed by Martin, who's average has jumped 26 points in the last 28 games.

Martin struggled with a lower back injury that nagged him from May until the All-Star break. He said he started to feel better after the break and reported on Thursday that he’s 100% healthy, which is remarkable for a guy whose caught 101 games this season.

"It's pretty rare this late in the season," said Martin, who said he'd sent his bat to the Hall of Fame if they asked.

Martin's fifth hit was a double to left center in the eighth. He stood on second base, head down, kicking dirt off of his cleats as the crowd showed its appreciation with a full-throated roar.

"It feels good," he said of the cheers. "That's all I can really say."

Fair enough. On Thursday, Martin said plenty with his bat.