21 runs, 25 hits, six home runs, a 29-minute ten run fourth inning and close to four hours of constant battering of Devil Rays pitching was all in a days order for the Bronx Bombers as they inched closer to the Indians in the highly combustible AL wild card race.
While training camp does not start till Friday for the hometown Jets , the Yankees got off to an early start as they scored three touchdowns and held the woeful Rays to a field goal and extra point. To put the offensive onslaught of New York into perspective, fifteen teams on Sunday combined to score 21 runs and the Rockies, Mariners, Pirates, Cubs, A's and Padres were all shutout.
Shelley Duncan, brother of the Cardinals Chris Duncan and son of St.Louis pitching coach Dave Duncan, went 2-for-4 with two home runs, four runs knocked in and two base on balls. In the fourth inning with two on and two out against left-handed reliever Casey Fossum he belted a Prince Fielder type home run deep to left field. After receiving two curtain calls by the Yankee faithful, the 6-foot-5 power hitter now has three in four days.
"It's pretty exciting. He has a lot of energy," Rodriguez said. "Sometimes we need that energy, so that's good. I'm happy he's here."
A-Rod, who is having one of the most productive seasons in baseball history, blasted his 34th long ball of the season and climbed one RBI away from 100. In 97 games played, he's batting .313 with a .412 on base percentage and .665 slugging percentage. Rodriguez is now two homers shy of reaching the paramount mark of 500 career home runs.
Left Fielder Hideki Matsui added a regular season career-high five hits and scorched his 17th homer of the season to contribute to the offensive explosion. Before the All-Star break, second baseman Robinson Cano was batting a respectable .274. Since play resumed in the second half, he's batting .413 with 19 hits and a .609 slugging percentage. On Sunday, Robby tattooed Tampa's pitching for four hits, 3 runs batted in and a two-run home run deep to right field in the bottom half of the eight inning.
Other notable contributions were made by Melky Cabrera (2-for-4, two walks, two runs scored and a run knocked in), Derek Jeter (1-for-3, two runs scored and an RBI), Bobby Abreu (3-for-4, 3 runs batted in, 2 runs scored and a solo home run), and Jorge Posada (3-for-6, 1 run batted in and one run scored).