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Thursday, August 25, 2011
Sori hangs slider, halts hot streak



Rafael Soriano is known around the Yankees' clubhouse as "Sori."

After his outing Wednesday night, maybe “Sorry” is more appropriate.

Soriano walked off the mound in the Bronx to a downpour of boos after allowing a game-winning three-run homer to Coco Crisp in the 10th.

Crisp, the A’s light-hitting switch-hitter, drilled a Soriano slider deep into the stands in right to give Oakland a three-run lead it wouldn’t relinquish.

"I thought Sori threw a good pitch; [Crisp] just put a good swing on it," Nick Swisher said.

Swisher's view in right field must be a bit obstructed. Because both Joe Girardi and Soriano agreed that the breaking pitch Crisp hit didn't break nearly enough.

"Today wasn't my day," Soriano said.

That much was clear shortly after he took the mound. After retiring Kurt Suzuki on a groundout to second, Soriano gave up a single to Cliff Pennington and a double to Scott Sizemore on -- you guessed it -- a hanging slider.

Then came Crisp's blast to right.

"I felt good," Soriano said after making his first appearance in eight days. "It was one hanging pitch and that's it. That was the game."

The $35 million righty left the mound to loud chorus of boos, the same sound he'd grown all too accustomed to earlier this season, when he was roundly labeled a $35 million bust. And rightfully so.

In his first 16 appearances in pinstripes, Soriano pitched to a 5.40 ERA and allowed nearly 40 percent of the hitters he faced to reach base. In short, he was a disaster, leaving Yankees fans likely wondering, Thirty-five million dollars, for what exactly?

But Soriano returned to the mound a new man after missing nearly 2 ½ months with a mysterious elbow injury. With David Robertson established as Girardi's eighth-inning guy, Soriano slid comfortably into the seventh inning slot.

In eight appearances since coming off the disabled list, he'd allowed just two hits in 7 1/3 innings and limited hitters to an .087 average.

During that hot streak, Soriano said boldly that he felt like the pitcher he was last season in Tampa,  when he led all of baseball with 45 saves.

And nothing happened Wednesday to alter Soriano's opinion.

"Last year I blew some games, too. Nothing's gonna change. I'm just going to continue to pitch," he said.

The Yankees, of course, would like to see Soriano turn into a $35 million beast, not the $35 million bust they saw Wednesday night.