First Pitch: Sori story continues

September, 21, 2013
9/21/13
6:00
AM ET
NEW YORK -- The New York Yankees wouldn't be within striking distance of the second wild-card spot in the American League if it wasn’t for Alfonso Soriano.

Soriano did it again Friday night at the Stadium, going 2-for-3 with a solo home run in the Yankees' 5-1 victory over the San Francisco Giants.

The 37-year-old outfielder has produced 16 homers and 49 RBIs in just 51 games since being acquired by the Yankees, which equates to 51 homers and 157 RBIs over a full 162-game season.

Soriano also reached the 100-RBI mark for the fourth time in his career; he hit 17 homers and knocked in 51 runs in 93 games with the Cubs before being traded to New York.

The Yankees were struggling offensively at the time they got Soriano, but that’s changed since he’s been hitting in the middle of their lineup. He is batting .373 with runners in scoring position as a Yankee, including .345 with runners on base.

Soriano is signed through next season at $18 million. If Alex Rodriguez is suspended for all of next season -- or part of it if he wins his appeal -- Soriano’s bat could prove huge, especially if Curtis Granderson departs via free agency.

Of course, if the Yankees could keep Granderson and get full seasons out of him and Soriano, they could be in pretty decent shape in 2014.

UP NOW: Wallace Matthews has the news about Andy Pettitte's retirement and why he thinks the left-hander will be kept out of Cooperstown. Wally also has the news about Rodriguez breaking baseball's all-time record for grand slams, while Matt Ehalt has a blog on CC Sabathia, who actually had a pretty darn good outing for once.

ON DECK: The Yankees and Giants resume their three-game series on Saturday afternoon when Ivan Nova (8-5, 3.36 ERA) faces Ryan Vogelsong (3-5, 5.73). First pitch is slated for around 1:05. The Matthews-Mazzeo tandem will have you covered for team ESPN NY.

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TEAM LEADERS

BA LEADER
Brett Gardner
BA HR RBI R
.283 14 47 68
OTHER LEADERS
HRM. Teixeira 18
RBIM. Teixeira 50
RB. Gardner 68
OPSB. Gardner .816
WM. Tanaka 12
ERAM. Tanaka 2.51
SOM. Tanaka 135