In case you didn't know, the Big League Stew blog over at Yahoo Sports is running a series called, "Homer History." In it, writers from Yahoo and other websites, are re-telling stories about memorable home runs from their perspectives. It's a fun series and frankly, I'm annoyed I didn't think of it first. So since I wasn't asked to contribute to the series on Yahoo, [Oh I'm kidding, why would I be asked?] I thought I would totally bite off their idea, and write my own post about a memorable Yankees home run from the 2015 season. Or this case, four memorable home runs that just so happened to be hit on the same day.
"Some people say that life starts at 40. I'll sign up for that right now." ~ Alex Rodriguez July 25, 2015
It seemed like an ordinary summer Saturday afternoon in Minneapolis, Minnesota. Baseball was being played as the Yankees were facing the Twins at Target Field. and hoping to rebound from a tough loss against their former teammate Phil Hughes the previous night, but things didn't start off so well for the boys in pinstripes. Their starter, CC Sabathia, put them in a 5-0 hole by the time the start of the fourth inning.
Sabathia gave up two runs in the first inning and three in the third and all of those runs came off two home runs - one by Aaron Hicks who hit a two run shot in the first and the other by Torii Hunter who hit a three run shot in the third.
As Alex Rodriguez waited for a 2-0 offering from Twins starter Tommy Milone in the top of fourth, YES broadcaster John Flaherty remarked that Alex had never hit a home run in Target Field. Not even a second later, A-Rod connected with an 88 mph pitch from Milone and sent it screaming 452 feet into the third deck of the left center field stands. As some boos rained down upon him, A-Rod rounded the bases with his head down and the Yankees were on the board.
Both Flaherty and his YES broadcast partner, Ken Singleton were in awe of the moonshot, which was reminiscent of Andruw Jones' shot a few years earlier (August 2011) which also landed in the third deck of Target Field. And fun fact: Sabathia was the starter that day as well.
In the seventh inning, with the score still 5-1 Twins, Rodriguez stepped in again to face Milone, and this time, Milone got way too much of the plate, and A-Rod creamed another one of his offerings into a faraway section of Target Field. Rodriguez's second home run of the day landed 422 feet from home, in the Twins' bullpen in left center, and it pulled the Yankees to within two runs, 5-3. At that point in the season, Rodriguez had over 20 home runs so I have no idea why anyone would try to sneak an 87 mph pitch by him, but Milone tried it and he paid for it.
Rodriguez saw six pitches in the two at bats against Milone that resulted in home runs.
Here's where the home run pitches missed:
In the top of the ninth inning, with the Yankees down 5-4, A-Rod stepped in against Twins' closer Glen Perkins, and without wasting a moment of anyone's time, jumped on the first pitch Perkins threw, and deposited it into dead centerfield 424 feet away to tie the game.
Here's the one pitch A-Rod saw from Perkins:
It was the first time Rodriguez had hit three home runs in a game since August 2010 and the home run against Perkins made A-Rod 6 for 10 against the closer with two home runs up to that point.
A few batters later, with Carlos Beltran on third and Chase Headley on first, back up catcher John Ryan Murphy joined the home run party with a three-run shot of his own on a 2-2 pitch from Perkins to put the Yankees up 8-5, which would ultimately become the final score. Murphy's shot kept carrying and eventually landed in the flowerbed above right centerfield.
Murphy was jubilant as he rounded the bases. So was Rodriguez and when Murphy made his way back to the dugout, A-Rod grabbed him and gave him a celebratory bear hug.
Here's the pitch that Murphy deposited into the flowers:
It turned out to be a big win for the Yankees, and for Rodriguez, who would be celebrating his 40th birthday a couple of days later. It also turned out to be one of the best games of the 2015 season up to that point, even with Sabathia's iffy pitching performance. And do you want to read something pretty amazing? Glen Perkins had only allowed six runs all season before the Yankees scored four off him in that ninth inning.
Comebacks are always a lot of fun to watch and in this case, Yankee fans were watching two comebacks unfold - a team's and a fallen superstar's.
Here's the video if you'd like to relive the highlights.