Soriano's heroics make Hal seem wise

NEW YORK -- Alfonso Soriano gave Hal Steinbrenner a reason to smile on Sunday.

Two days after the New York Yankees' owner pushed GM Brian Cashman into dealing for Soriano, the veteran outfielder delivered a walk-off single in the a 6-5 win over the Tampa Bay Rays on Sunday at Yankee Stadium.

Soriano singled home Brett Gardner in the ninth as part of a 4-for-5 day with three RBIs and two runs scored.

"Very exciting moment," said Soriano, who was the Yankees' starting second baseman from 2000-03. "To again [be] back to the Yankees and have a game-winning hit, it's a very special moment."

The Yankees acquired Soriano on Friday from the Chicago Cubs for Class A pitcher Corey Black in an attempt to upgrade their right-handed power. While Cashman did not oppose acquiring Soriano, he told ESPNNewYork.com that he didn't want to surrender Black in the deal.

After a pair of hitless games to start his second stint with New York, Soriano broke out Sunday. He singled and scored in the first inning, and swatted a two-run shot off Matt Moore in the third to give the Yankees a 5-4 lead. Soriano's blast marked just the second homer by a Yankees right-handed hitter since June 25.

In the ninth, with two men on with one out, Soriano singled up the middle against lefty reliever Jake McGee to score Gardner. The win prevented a three-game sweep and gave Soriano his 13th career walk-off hit and his fourth as a member of the Yankees.

"It was great," Yankees pitcher Andy Pettitte said. "In talking with him yesterday, I asked him how he was doing, if he was relaxed. He was just like, 'I need to get my first hit.' ... He got that first hit and then he got three more after that. It was just great to see."

Over his first three days with the Yankees, Soriano has referred to the familiarity he has with the team due to the friendships he has with former teammates like Derek Jeter and Mariano Rivera.

As Sunday's game unfolded -- with Soriano driving in Jeter with his home run, Rivera pitching a perfect ninth inning and Soriano coming though to win the game -- it felt like the clock had been turned back 10 years in the Bronx.

"I see Mariano pitching and Jeter hitting and me, it feels like old times in the present," Soriano said. "We play together for three years and now after 10 years we come back and play together. It's very good.

"It makes me feel special to play with those guys because those guys are future Hall of Famers."