Our weekly review of the good, the bad and the odd in Yankeeland
RUSSELL HAS MUSCLE
Phil Hughes' successful comeback from a mysterious arm injury earlier this season continued with another strong performance in the Yankees' 8-1 win over the Twins last Friday night.
Hughes was just four outs short of a complete game, allowing one run on two hits, in one of the most dominating starts of his young career. It was the second time he had pitched at least seven innings and given up two hits or fewer, the other being his memorable one-hit, 10-strikeout performance in Oakland last April.
A search on Baseball-Reference.com tells us that, in the Divisional Era (since 1969), only three other Yankees have had at least two games of seven-or-more innings and two-or-fewer hits allowed at the age of 25 or younger: Dave Righetti, Dennis Rasmussen and Jim Abbott.
Russell Martin provided the offensive spark with three hits and three RBIs, including his third multi-homer game this season. He is one of five Yankee catchers to have at least three multi-homer games in a season, along with Yogi Berra, Elston Howard, Bill Dickey and Matt Nokes.
It was also the second time he'd homered twice in a game while batting ninth. He's the first Yankee ever to have two multi-homer games from the ninth spot in the order in a single season, according to the Elias Sports Bureau.
THE A.J. BURNETT DISASTER SHOW
The Yankees lost the second game of the series, 9-4, as A.J. Burnett allowed seven runs and failed to get out of the second inning in his shortest start as a Yankee.
This was the 34th time in the Live Ball Era that a Yankee starter had surrendered seven-or-more runs without completing two innings of work, the most recent being Phil Hughes' forgettable eight-run disaster in Baltimore two years ago.
However, as A.J. once again earns our Obscure Yankeemetric of the Week Award, he is the only one of the 34 in this group to top off a horrible performance like that with two wild pitches.
Derek Jeter was hitless in two at-bats in the loss, ending his streak of multi-hit games at six. The Elias Sports Bureau tells us that it was the longest such streak by a Yankee at the age of 37-or-older in team history. The previous record of five games was done several times, and most recently by Gary Sheffield in April 2006.
SUPER-NOVA STARS AGAIN
The Yankees bounced back with a 3-0 win on Sunday afternoon to win the series in Minnesota. Ivan Nova continued his impressive run since being recalled from Triple-A, tossing seven shutout innings for his 13th victory of the season.
Most Wins As Starter
Yankee Rookies, Since End of WWII
Nova's 13 wins are the most as a starter by a Yankee rookie since Doc Medich went 14-9 in 1973. Nova is also 9-0 in his last 10 starts, matching Whitey Ford for the longest streak of consecutive decisions won by a Yankee rookie since 1950.
Curtis Granderson made his 35th homer of the season a memorable one, turning a deep ball to center field into his third career inside-the-park home run. According to ESPN's Hit Tracker team, the homer would have been an over-the-fence home run in 10 major-league ballparks, including Yankee Stadium.
The last Yankee to hit at least 35 homers in a season, with one of them being an inside-the-park job, was Mickey Mantle in 1961. Granderson also became just sixth Yankee outfielder to hit 35-or-more homers in a season, joining Babe Ruth, Joe DiMaggio, Mantle, Roger Maris and Dave Winfield.
SWISHER, YANKEES A FEW FEET SHORT
Down 6-0 to the A’s entering the eighth inning, the Yankees stormed back with five runs in the final two frames but couldn’t complete the comeback as Nick Swisher flied out to deep center field with the bases loaded to end the game.
The last Yankee to hit a fly ball as the final out with the bases loaded in a one-run loss was Jason Giambi on Aug. 18, 2008 against the Royals.
Granderson was 0-for-3 and struck out twice, bringing his strikeout total to 133 this season. Only one left-handed Yankee has struck out more times in a single season: Giambi finished 2003 with 138 strikeouts.
CRISP COOKS THE YANKEES
The Yankees lost their second in a row on Wednesday night, 6-4, when the A's scored three runs in the 10th inning off Rafael Soriano and their comeback fell short once again with just one run in the bottom of the inning.
Swisher hit two homers in the game, his fifth and sixth homers this season against his former team. Since the A's moved to Oakland in 1968 only one other Yankee has hit that many homers against the team: Nokes, who had six in 1991.
Coco Crisp was the offensive star for the A's, with four hits in four at-bats and five RBIs. He's just the fifth player since 1950 to go 4-for-4 or better with at least five RBIs in a game against the Yankees. Crisp joins B.J. Upton (2009), Alex Rodriguez (2003), Mike Cameron (2001) and Ken Griffey Jr. (1996) in this exclusive club.
Soriano gave up the tie-breaking 10th inning three-run home run to Crisp. Our perennial Guest Yankeemetrician, Mark Simon, tells us that Soriano is just the second Yankee pitcher in the last 20 seasons to allow an extra-inning home run, which drove in three runs-or-more, at Yankee Stadium. The other came off the bat of Jeff Conine against Mariano Rivera on May 13, 2001.
WHAT A GRAND DAY IN THE BRONX
The Yankees avoided the sweep on Thursday afternoon with a record-breaking 22-9 win over the A’s. They became the first team in major-league history to hit three grand slams in a game, as Granderson, Martin and Robinson Cano all went yard with the bases full.
Most Grand Slams in a Game
It was just the fourth time that any Yankee team had even hit two grand slams in one game, and the first time they did it at home, according to the Elias Sports Bureau.
It was the eighth time in the Live Ball Era (since 1920) the Yankees scored at 22 runs in a nine-inning game, but just the second time they did it at home. The other was a 22-5 win over the White Sox on July 26, 1931.
The Yankees reached base 35 times, which included 21 hits, 13 walks and a hit-by-pitch. This was the fourth time in the last 90 seasons the Yankee reached base at least 35 times in a nine-inning game (excluding errors), and the first time since Aug. 12, 1953, against the Washington Senators.
The Grand Slam Boys -- Granderson, Cano and Martin -– re-wrote the history books with their monster days at the plate:
• They each had at least five RBIs, becoming the first trio in Yankees history with five-or-more RBI in a single game.
• Cano hit his sixth career grand slam and is now one shy of tying Tony Lazzeri for the most by a Yankee second baseman
• Granderson, with four runs scored in addition to his five RBIs, is the third Yankee center fielder to drive in at least five runs and score at least four runs in a game, joining Joe DiMaggio and Tom Tresh.
• Martin, who had five hits to go with his six RBIs, is the first Yankee catcher to reach those totals in a game.
Katie Sharp is a researcher with ESPN Stats & Information