It should surprise no one that Yankees left fielder Alfonso Soriano was named American League Player of the Week for the period ending Aug. 18. Soriano went on one of the most amazing tears in one week in the game’s history.
Sori, who was acquired by the Yankees in a July 26 trade from the Cubs for minor-league relief pitcher Corey Black, batted .484 with nine runs, one double, five home runs and 18 RBI in seven games and 31 at-bats. The Yankees were 5-2 during that stretch as they fight to get into position for a playoff berth.
It marked Soriano’s seventh career weekly award. His previous honor was in the National League for the week ending May 18, 2008 with the Cubs. He won three AL Player of the Week Awards in his first stint with the Yankees, the last of which was for the week ending Sept. 21, 2003. Among Major League Baseball leaders for the past week, Soriano paced all hitters in home runs, RBI, slugging percentage (1.000), hits (15) and total bases (31), and was tied for first in runs scored.
Soriano went into the game of Aug. 13 against the Angels at Yankee Stadium battling a 1-for-16 slump and broke out of it with three hits, including two home runs and a career-best six RBI in a 14-7 Yankees victory. He topped himself the next day with a 3-for-3 game against the Angels that included two more homers and a new career-best seven RBI in an 11-3 Yankees victory.
Sori established career highs in RBI in two straight games and in the process became just the third player in major-league history to collect at least six RBI in consecutive games, joining the Rangers’ Rusty Greer in 1997 and the Brewers’ Geoff Jenkins in 2001. It was the third time in his career that Soriano had multi-homer games on back-to-back days.
After getting four more hits in an 8-4 loss to the Angels Aug. 15, Soriano took his hot streak to Boston’s Fenway Park where the night of Aug. 16 he went 3-for-4 with a homer and four RBI to lead the Yanks to a 10-3 victory over the Red Sox.
According to the Elias Sports Bureau, Soriano’s 18 RBI over the four-game stretch from Aug. 13-16 matched baseball’s all-time mark for the most RBI in a four-game period since it became an official statistic in 1920. The others to do so were the Cardinals’ Jim Bottomley in 1929, the Yankees’ Lou Gehrig in 1930, the Yankees’ Tony Lazzeri in 1936, the Yankees’ Joe DiMaggio in 1939 and the Cubs’ Sammy Sosa in 2002.
Other noteworthy performances last week included the Tigers’ Max Scherzer (18-1, 2.82 ERA), who became the fifth pitcher since 1912 to win 18 of his first 19 decisions in a season, and his teammate Miguel Cabrera (4 HR, 10 RBI); Twins pitcher Andrew Albers (two-hit shutout against the Indians Aug. 20); Orioles first baseman Chris Davis (.409, 3 HR, 6 RBI, 2 2B) and White Sox pitcher Chris Sale (2-0, 2.81 ERA, 1 BB, 14 K).
In recognition of his AL Player of the Week Award, Soriano will be awarded a watch courtesy of Game Time, the leader in licensed sports watches, available at MLB.com.