NEW YORK — Something has certainly clicked for Alfonso Soriano during his second stint in pinstripes.
Soriano homered twice for the second straight night and drove in a career-high seven runs, giving him a staggering 13 RBIs in two games while powering the suddenly potent New York Yankees to an 11-3 victory over the Los Angeles Angels on Wednesday.
“I know it’s not going to happen often,” Soriano said. “I hope I feel the same way tomorrow.”
Soriano hit an early grand slam and became the third player to knock in at least six runs in back-to-back games since RBIs became an official statistic in 1920, according to STATS. The others were Texas’ Rusty Greer in August 1997 and Milwaukee’s Geoff Jenkins in April 2001.
Soriano needed 144 at-bats to reach 13 RBIs this season with the Chicago Cubs on May 14. Back for another tour with the Yankees, it took him seven trips to the plate over nine innings the past two nights to match that number.
“We just were laughing. That’s unbelievable,” teammate Robinson Cano said. “That’s every player’s dream.”
Cano went 4 for 4 to pass Hall of Famer Phil Rizzuto for 15th place on the franchise hits list, and the Yankees hammered Angels ace Jered Weaver (7-6) in opening an 8-0 cushion by the second inning for Ivan Nova (6-4).
Still looking to make a push in the crowded AL playoff chase, New York won its fourth in a row and will go for a four-game sweep Thursday afternoon.
Soriano hit his fifth career slam in the first, launching a drive onto the protective netting above Monument Park in center field. He added a two-run double with the bases loaded in the second and homered again leading off the fifth. With the crowd of 38,379 chanting his name when he went back out to left field, he lifted his glove to acknowledge the cheers.
Given a chance to do even more damage, Soriano walked with a runner on second in the seventh. He scored for the third time on Chris Stewart’s two-run single.
“It’s pretty incredible what he’s done the last two nights,” Stewart said. “He’s just kind of bringing life into this whole offense. It seems like when he gets going everybody else kind of ignites, too, and our whole offense clicks. It’s nice having him in there.”
After spending his early years in New York from 1999-2003, the 37-year-old Soriano was reacquired from the Cubs on July 26 to give an injury-depleted lineup a boost. He got off to a slow start upon returning but has certainly turned it on lately.
“Here it’s like, more motivation,” Soriano said. “All the players, they want to win.”
Yankees manager Joe Girardi thinks Soriano has looked more relaxed since he homered Sunday for his 2,000th career hit. The seven-time All-Star agreed, saying his family and friends had put a little pressure on him leading up to the milestone.
He set a career best with six RBIs during New York’s 14-7 win Tuesday and then quickly surpassed the mark one night later.
“He’s got a good month these last two games,” Angels manager Mike Scioscia said.
Soriano hit his first grand slam since July 27, 2009, with the Cubs against Houston. It was the third time he’s had successive multihomer games.
He became the seventh player since 1920 with at least 13 RBIs over consecutive games and the first since Cubs slugger Sammy Sosa had 14 in August 2002, STATS said. The record is 15 by Yankees second baseman Tony Lazzeri in May 1936.
“It’s pretty hard to do, I don’t care how well you’re swinging the bat. But it has been huge for us,” Girardi said.
Nova, outstanding since rejoining the rotation on July 5, worked around 10 hits in 7 1-3 innings. He’s been hindered by a lack of run support recently, but that was no problem Wednesday.
“I (haven’t) pitched with a lead like that in a long time,” Nova said.
Weaver’s dud came out of nowhere. The right-hander was 6-1 with a 1.72 ERA in his previous nine starts and had won four straight decisions.
Missing his sharp stuff, he gave up nine runs (matching a career high) and nine hits over five innings as Los Angeles lost its fourth in a row. The reeling Angels have dropped eight of 10 and 14 of 19 overall.
PIRATES 5, CARDINALS 1
ST. LOUIS — Francisco Liriano was dominant coming off the worst outing of his career and the Pirates got home runs from Pedro Alvarez and Garrett Jones in a victory over the Cardinals.
The win snapped a season-worst four-game losing streak and gave Pittsburgh a three-game lead in the NL Central.
Liriano (13-5) allowed four hits with six strikeouts and needed just 94 pitches to beat the Cardinals for the second time this year.
Matt Carpenter doubled and scored on a groundout by Carlos Beltran in the ninth to snap Liriano’s shutout bid. He settled for his second complete game of the year.
Alvarez hit his 29th homer an estimated 440 feet to straightaway center leading off the second against Miller (11-8), and with one out Jones lined his 11th over the right field wall estimated at 392 feet.
NATIONALS 6, GIANTS 5
WASHINGTON — Denard Span made a diving catch in deep center field with two runners on base for the final out, and the Nationals held on for their fifth straight victory.
Jordan Zimmermann (14-6) increased his NL-leading win total, allowing one run in seven innings and outpitching Tim Lincecum (6-12). Washington matched its longest winning streak of the season and moved within one victory of .500 for the first time since July 20.
The Giants scored once in the ninth off Rafael Soriano, and put runners on first and second with two outs. Hunter Pence hit a drive to left-center, and Span ran it down near the warning track to preserve the win.
Ian Desmond homered and Anthony Rendon had two RBIs in a five-run fourth inning that put Washington up 6-1.
REDS 5, CUBS 0
CHICAGO — Bronson Arroyo pitched seven crisp innings, Todd Frazier homered and the Reds beat the Cubs to complete a three-game series sweep.
ROCKIES 4, PADRES 2
DENVER — Jorge De La Rose pitched seven solid innings, catcher Yorvit Torrealba completed a remarkable double play by tagging out two runners and the Rockies hung on to beat the Padres.
BRAVES 6, PHILLIES 3
ATLANTA — Chris Johnson drove in three runs, Jason Heyward homered and Brandon Beachy pitched six strong innings to help the Braves beat the Phillies.
D-BACKS 5, ORIOLES 4, 14 INNINGS
PHOENIX — Aaron Hill had a game-ending single with one out in the 14th inning to give the Diamondbacks their third straight walk-off win over the Orioles, 5-4.
RANGERS 5, BREWERS 4
ARLINGTON, Texas — Elvis Andrus broke out of a slump with two hits and two RBIs, and the Rangers rallied for three runs in the seventh inning to beat the Brewers.
BLUE JAYS 4, RED SOX 3, 10 INNINGS
TORONTO — Brett Lawrie singled home the winning run in the 10th inning and Toronto beat Boston to handing the AL East-leading Red Sox their fourth loss in six games.
TIGERS 6, WHITE SOX 4
CHICAGO — Miguel Cabrera hit a towering three-run homer and Detroit ended a three-game skid with a win over Chicago.
RAYS 5, MARINERS 4
ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. — Jason Bourgeois hit an RBI single to cap Tampa Bay’s two-run rally in the ninth inning and the Rays ended a six-game losing streak with a win over Seattle.
INDIANS 9, TWINS 8, 12 INNINGS
MINNEAPOLIS — Michael Brantley hit a sacrifice fly in the 12th inning and Cleveland rallied past Minnesota for just its third win in the last 10 games.
RANGERS 5, BREWERS 4
ARLINGTON, Texas — Elvis Andrus broke out of a slump with two hits and two RBIs, and Texas rallied for three runs in the seventh inning to beat Milwaukee.
MARLINS 5, ROYALS 2
KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Justin Ruggiano snapped a franchise-worst 0-for-42 slump with a single in the first inning and added two more hits and drove in a run as Miami beat Kansas City.