The New York Yankees were all smiles on Sunday, as they got a home run from the returning Derek Jeter and a game-winning hit from Alfonso Soriano to get a 6-5 win over Tampa Bay.
Jeter came to the plate in the first inning against Rays starter Matt Moore, to a standing ovation from the crowd. He’d missed over 100 games with a twice-broken ankle and then a quad strain back on July 11. None of that seemed to matter, as he belted the first pitch he saw over the right-center wall to put the Yankees on the board. He finished 2-for-4, and was involved in every scoring inning for his team.
Also contributing to the team was Alfonso Soriano. After being reacquiredin a trade with the Cubs on Friday, Soriano had rocky weekend, but capitalized on a big opportunity. With Brett Gardner on second in the ninth inning, Sorinano hit a walk-off RBI single to give the Yankees the dramatic win. Soriano was mobbed by teammates for the first time in a decade, and Jeter commented on the excitement of it.
I’m happy for Sori, I know he wants to do well. He wanted to come back. There’s a lot of great memories here with Sori and it was almost like old-time’s sake.The first of anything is difficult to get — first hit, first home run, first RBI, first game is difficult to get. It feels great to contribute, but more importantly, we won.
It wasn’t all bright spots for New York, however. Starter Phil Hughes had a rocky day, getting in trouble in the second inning and then gave up a big three-run shot to Wil Myers in the third that would give Tampa the lead. After the game, he talked briefly about how his day went.
I wasn’t able to hold a lead twice, something us starters take a lot of pride in. To not be able to do that is disappointing. I’d rather it be this way than the other way around. The guys played well, and obviously we got a spark from Jeet today, and that was huge.
Soriano drilled a home run of his own in the bottom of the third to put them back up by a run, but Myers took the run back when hit another home run in the fifth to tie the game at 5-5. It was the first multi-homer game of his career. That’s where the game would stand until Soriano pulled off the ninth inning heroics to win the game.
The Yankees looked like a familiar team on Sunday. Former outfielder Hideki Matsui was in attendance to be honored before the game, Jeter hit a first-pitch home run, closer Mariano Rivera was lights out in the ninth, and Soriano had a pair of clutch hits as they came together for a huge win at home.
Tampa Bay falls to 7-2 on its 10-game road trip to start the second half, and loss control of first place after Boston shut out Baltimore. The Red Sox moved back in front by a half game with their win.
On Monday night, the Rays and Red Sox will make up a game that was rained out on Thursday evening. They will square off at Fenway Park, with first pitch set for 6:10 P.M. Eastern. After that, the Rays return home for their next set.
For more information, check out the MLB Examiner on Facebook as well as follow along on Twitter.