Our weekly review of the good, the bad and the odd in Yankeeland
BEST OF THE BEST: JESUS SAVES THE DAY
Jesus Montero played in his first game in pinstripes on September 1st and just four days later became a Yankee legend, with two home runs in the 11-10 win over the Orioles on Labor Day.
Montero joined Mickey Mantle, Joe DiMaggio and Joe Pepitone as the only Yankees to have a multi-homer game at the age of 21 or younger. And he became the second Yankee in the Live Ball Era to hit two homers in a game in their fourth career game or earlier, along with Shelley Duncan in 2007.
Jesus also drove in three runs and scored three runs. A search of the Play Index at Baseball-Reference.com tells us that DiMaggio, Mantle and Lou Gehrig are the only other Yankees to do that in a game before their 22nd birthday. And Montero joins Charlie Keller in 1922 as the only Yankees to have a three-RBI, three-run game within their first four major-league games.
SUPER-NOVA SHINES BRIGHT
The Yankees began their second-to-last homestand of the season with 3-2 win over the Blue Jays last Friday night. Ivan Nova won his eighth straight start and earned his 15th win of the season with seven innings of two-run ball.
This was the 12th straight start in a row made by Nova that the Yankees had won. The only time in the last 30 years that the Yankees had a streak like that was in 2001, when they won 20 straight games started by Roger Clemens during his Cy Young-winning season.
And the only time in the Live Ball Era the Yankees had a win streak that long in games started by a rookie pitcher was 1950, when they won all 12 of the games started by Whitey Ford.
Brett Gardner ignited the Yankees comeback with a two-run home run in the third inning. The longball travelled 368 feet and would not have been a homer in any park besides Yankee Stadium, according to ESPN's Home Run Tracker Team.
The Yankees rallied again for the victory over the Blue Jays on Saturday afternoon. Robinson Cano delivered the key hit, with a two-run double in the seventh inning that gave the Yankees a 5-4 lead.
It was the 40th double of the season for Cano, and also his 100th and 101st RBI. According to the Elias Sports Bureau, he's the fourth Yankee with consecutive seasons of 40 doubles, 20 homers and 100 RBIs. The others are Gehrig, Don Mattingly and Paul O'Neill.
Most Seasons with 40+ Doubles
It is the fifth time that Cano has hit 40 two-baggers in a season. The only Yankee to have more 40-double seasons is Gehrig. Cano, Gehrig and Mattingly are the only Yankees to hit 40-or-more doubles in three straight seasons.
David Robertson pitched the eighth and ninth inning for his third career save, and first this season. The last time that Mariano Rivera had a regular-season save of at least two innings was more than five years ago, on July 16, 2006 vs. the White Sox.
CC CHASING GATOR
The Yankees completed the sweep of the Blue Jays with a 9-3 win on Sunday. CC Sabathia won his 19th game, striking out 10 batters and allowing two runs before being removed in the eighth inning.
Sabathia joins Jack Chesbro, Vic Raschi and Red Ruffing as the only Yankee pitchers to win at least 19 games in three-or-more consecutive seasons. Chesbro is the only one to do it in his first three seasons with the team. He won 21 games in 1903, 41 in 1904, 19 in 1905 and 23 in 1906 –- which were also the first four seasons in the history of the franchise.
Sabathia continued his climb up the list of single-season strikeout leaders, as he now has 211 in his pinstripe career. Just two lefties have had more in a season: Ron Guidry struck out a franchise-record 248 batters in 1978 and Al Downing struck out 217 in 1964.
Derek Jeter matched his career-best with five RBI, a feat he has now done four times. He now has the most games with at least five RBI by a Yankee shortstop, passing the defensive whiz Roger Peckingpaugh.
CANO CASHES IN
Montero stole the show in the Labor Day matinee game against the Orioles, but he wasn’t the only one that made history that day.
Cano hit his third grand slam of the season and seventh of his career as part of the Yankees six-run second inning. His seven grand slams are tied with Tony Lazzeri for the most by a Yankee second baseball all-time, according to Elias.
And he is just third second baseman in major-league history to hit three grand slams in a single season, along with Alexei Ramirez (2008) and Roberto Alomar (1997).
Rivera notched his 597th career save and his 69th against the Orioles, setting a record for the most saves by any pitcher against any team, according to the Elias Sports Bureau. He had been tied with Trevor Hoffman, who had 68 saves against the Dodgers.
After a rain delay of more than four hours, the Yankees and Orioles decided to start their game at 11:08 p.m. The Yankees have now been involved in the two longest rain delays this season: Monday night, and a 3-hour, 27-minute delay on June 9 vs. the Red Sox.
Jorge Posada, Francisco Cervelli and Gardner each homered in the Yankees 5-3 win as the Yankees became the first team in the majors with 200 home runs. This is the 13th season the Yankees have hit at least 200 homers. No other team in MLB history has even 10 seasons with 200-or-more homers.
Cervelli, Gardner and Posada have hit a total of six homers from August 30 through September 6. All the other Yankees have combined to hit seven homers in that span.
WET AND WILD
The Yankees sent out a Triple-A lineup to back up A.J. Burnett for their Wednesday afternoon game, and lost 5-4 in extra-innings. Mark Reynolds had the game-winning hit with an RBI single in the top of the 11th inning, despite being 0-for-5 with four strikeouts prior to the hit.
My blogging colleague Mark Simon tells us that Reynolds is the second player in the Live Ball Era to have a game-winning RBI against the Yankees in a game in which he had at least four strikeouts. The only other is Hank Blalock, who had a game-winning double for the Rangers in the 12th inning on May 16, 2003
Chris Davis did Reynolds one better with five strikeouts in the game. They are the third pair of teammates to strike out at least four times each against the Yankees. In that Rangers game in 2003, Juan Gonzalez also struck out four times, and the Royals' Bo Jackson and Mike Macfarlane each whiffed four times on May 19, 1990.
Burnett threw three wild pitches in the game, bringing his total to 23 this year, which matches Tim Leary in 1990 for the most by a Yankee in a single season.
This was the sixth time as a Yankee he had a game with three-or-more wild pitches. No other Yankee has more than two such games. It is also his 12th game with at least two wild pitches. No other Yankee has even 10 such games.
Montero continues to swing a hot bat, with another hit and two more RBI, giving him six hits and five RBI in his first five games. He's the third Yankee in the Divisional Era to reach each of those totals in his first five career games: Thurman Munson (1969) and Jim Lefebvre (1980) also did it.
EXTRA, EXTRA BAD LOSS
The Yankees lost in extra innings 5-4 for the second straight day to the Orioles. This time it was in Baltimore, on a walk-off hit by Robert Andino in the bottom of the 10th inning, who gave us our Obscure Yankeemetric of the Week:
According to the Elias Sports Bureau, this is the second time in major-league history that a team lost in extra innings on consecutive days to the same team in different ballparks.
It also happened on April 19 and 20 -- in 1900. The Boston Beaneaters lost to the Phillies 19-17 in 10 innings at the South End Grounds in Boston on April 19, 1900. The next day they lost to the Phillies 5-4 in 11 innings at the Baker Bowl in Philadelphia.
Granderson had two assists in the game, which helped keep two runs off the scoreboard. It’s his second game this season with at least two assists. The last Yankees player with two multi-assist games in a season was Mel Hall in 1992, according to Elias.
Katie Sharp is a researcher with ESPN Stats & Information