While a distinct autumn chill has been felt in New York for much of the past week, Sunday was a reminder that summer isn't quite over yet. It was a brilliant afternoon, sunny but not hot, and Yankee fans were treated to a 10-1 romp in the park over the Twins. Combined with a Red Sox loss, the Bombers now lead the AL East by nine games. The only Twins run came when Torii Hunter blasted a 3-0 fastball off starter Darrell Rasner in the second inning. Otherwise, Rasner, who has pitched well in the minors this season, had a fine outing in just his second big league start (and his first in pinstripes), allowing just four hits over six innings.
As for the offense, Robbie Cano, Jorge Posada, Alex Rodriguez and Bobby Abreu all had three hits. Rodriguez crushed two home runs--one into the black--and added an RBI single. The Twins' centerfielder thinks Rodriguez is pretty okay. According to Larry Brooks in the Post:
"They showed every bit of why they got A-Rod. The way he hit the ball today was not even right," Hunter said after Rodriguez had pounded a solo shot in the fifth to the right-center bleachers and then a three-run blow in the seventh into the black. "It's not even human. He's not human.
"Why dwell on the negative? You know what he can do. Why even dwell on what he did? He's not human, but he's going to have his slumps. He is one of the best hitters and might be the best hitter on the team.
"If y'all don't want him, we'll take him. How about that? If you don't want A-Rod, we'll take him. Well, we can't afford him. Give him to us, and y'all pay the salary."
Abreu tied a career-high by hitting three doubles. The most impressive came when Abreu led-off the bottom of the seventh and fouled the third pitch of the sequence off his lower leg. Abreu hobbled around the plate and eventually, Joe Torre and trainer, Gene Monahan came out to look him over. Abreu stayed in the game, and after taking ball two, slapped a ball into the gap in right center field. The ball was not that deep but Abreu turned-on-the-jets and beat the throw to second. He slid into the base head first and had to hang on to the base so as not to come off the bag entirely. It reminded me just a little bit of Paul O'Neill's desperate double in Game 5 of the ALDS back in 1997. The fans appreciated his hustle and gave Abreu a nice ovation as he came out of the game for a pinch-runner. After the game, Torre hoped that Abreu would be fine, adding, "He looked pretty good going from home to second."
Just about everything the Yankees did yesterday looked pretty good. They even had promising news to report about Hideki Matsui, who will play a rehab game this Wednesday in Trenton. We could see the return of Godzilla as soon as sometime next week. Bam.