Thursday, August 25, 2011
Updated: August 26, 10:36 AM ET
It was a grand ole day at the ballpark
By Rob Parker
NEW YORK -- You never want to make that big a deal out of one game.
Make that triple wow.
For sure, the New York Yankees needed something big to happen against the Oakland Athletics after falling behind early on Thursday afternoon.
Still, those who braved the raindrops at Yankee Stadium never could have imagined they would be witnessing history.
The Bronx Bombers, a nickname that certainly fit on this day, hit three grand slams in their 22-9 victory over the A's. In doing so, they became the first team in major league history to accomplish the feat.
The Yankees have always been famous for the long ball in their storied history, but even this was impressive. If you were a fan and at the stadium, you had to have goose bumps. It was a moment one would never forget.
First, Robinson Cano hit a bases-loaded bullet into the right-field stands in the fifth inning. In the next inning, Russell Martin hit a grand slam to right field. And in the eighth, Curtis Granderson set the record with a granny of his own to right-center.
"You have to be pretty fortunate to do that," Yankees manager Joe Girardi said. "It's a pretty crazy accomplishment when you think about it."
Later he added, "I know our offense is potent, but that was even amazing to me."
The last time the Yankees hit two grand slams in a home game was 75 years ago. It tells you what a magical moment this was.
The Yankees, somehow, had 17 plate appearances with the bases loaded. A's pitchers were wild and all over the place with 13 walks. The Yankees did what they do. They didn't get themselves out. They were patient at the plate and made the A's pitchers eventually throw strikes. And when they did, the Bombers teed off, finishing Thursday with five home runs overall.
"I got some good pitches to hit and I got some good swings on them," said Martin, who went 5-for-5 with two homers and six RBIs.
On this day, however, it was about the long ball with the bases juiced. It's still one of the biggest thrills in sports. The stadium rocked and cheered with every grand slam that reached the seats. For sure, John Sterling, the Yankees' radio voice, needed a throat lozenge after the home run calls.
The fans in the stands knew they were watching something special, but not how special. All were amazed -- especially the players -- when the scoreboard flashed that Thursday was the first time in baseball history this has happened.
"It's pretty special," Martin said. "This game has been played a long time and to be a part of something that has never been done is amazing."
Cano's blast got the Yankees back in a game in which they trailed 7-1 after just three innings. The Yankees were down 7-6 after Cano's HR. "It put us within one run. As soon as the ball left the bat, kind of that mentality, we're going to win this game," Nick Swisher said.
Fittingly, Granderson, who has had an MVP-type season for the Yankees, sealed the deal with his 36th home run of the season. "The fact that we as a team have done something that all the teams that have ever played this game have never done before, especially all the offenses, it's pretty neat," he said.
On the surface, it's just a victory over the lowly A's. But this come-from-behind, suitable-for-framing victory was exactly what the Yankees needed to send them flying sky high toward a seven-game road trip that ends with three in Boston.
"A huge emotional win for us," Swisher said. "No one has ever seen that [three grand slams] -- one of those awesome days."
Rob Parker is a columnist for ESPNNewYork.com.
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