Yankees hit three grand slams, pummel A’s 22-9

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It wasn’t a pretty game, but the Yankees avoided what would have been a rare three-game sweep at home by scoring 20 runs between the fifth and eighth innings and made some history in torching the A’s 22-9.

The game featured grand slams from Robinson Cano, Russell Martin and Curtis Granderson.  It’s the first time ever that a team has hit three slams in a game.

It was just the fourth time in Yankees history that the team has hit multiple grand slams in the same game and the first time they’ve done it at home.  Bernie Williams and Paul O’Neill were the last Yankees to accomplish the feat, doing so on Sept. 14, 1999.

Martin finished the game a remarkable 5-for-5 with two homers, six RBI and a walk.  Yankee Stadium is the only place in the world that he has opposite-field power, and both of his homers were out to right field today.  According to Baseball-Reference data, just three of his previous 69 career homers had gone out to right.

The Yankees ended the game with 21 hits and 13 walks.  Only one of those walks came in Rich Harden’s 4 1/3 innings; the rest were from the pen.  Jordan Norberto gave up four runs on five walks and one hit in two-thirds of an inning.  Bruce Billings, making his fourth major league appearance, walked four in 1 1/3 innings.

The 13 walks surrendered by A’s pitching were two more than any other team had given up in a nine-inning game this season and matched the high for a game of any length.

All three slam hitters ended up with at least five RBI for the Yankees.  Granderson also scored four runs to go along with his five RBI.  Derek Jeter actually had three hits and hit with the bases loaded four times, but his lone RBI came on a walk.  Every Yankees starter except Alex Rodriguez drove in at least one run, and A-Rod finished 2-for-4 with two walks and three runs scored.  Just to punctuate things in the eighth, Andruw Jones followed up Granderson’s slam with a homer in his lone at-bat off the bench.

The one bit of bad news for the Yankees: Phil Hughes had to be pulled in the third having given up six runs and seven hits.  A.J. Burnett did his best to punch his ticket to the pen with last weekend’s ugly outing against the Twins, but Hughes really hurt himself today.  Oddly enough, both of his terrible performances since returning from the DL have come against the A’s; he hasn’t allowed more than two runs in any of his other seven starts.

With the game having turned into a laugher, Jorge Posada made his major league debut at second base in the ninth.  He was originally a second baseman in the minors, and he made the game-ending play today on an Anthony Recker grounder, though he bounced the throw to first.

Steven Matz to skip next spring training start with elbow issues

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Mets’ left-hander Steven Matz will miss his Grapefruit League appearance on Monday after experiencing soreness in his left elbow, according to a report by Mike Puma of the New York Post. Matz reportedly first felt discomfort in his elbow on Wednesday after pitching four innings against the Marlins, but a medical evaluation revealed no structural damage.

Still, it’s unsettling news for the 25-year-old, who is coming off of an injury-riddled 2016 season. Matz pitched to a 3.40 ERA, 2.1 BB/9 and 8.8 SO/9 during his sophomore campaign with the Mets, but his success was hampered by a bevy of shoulder and elbow issues that culminated in season-ending surgery to remove bone spurs from his left elbow.

Comments from Mets’ GM Sandy Alderson indicated that while the club doesn’t believe anything is significantly wrong with Matz’s elbow this time around, the setback could have an impact on his chances of cracking the Opening Day roster. Until he’s cleared to return to the mound, the club is expected to take a longer look at rotation candidates Robert Gsellman, Zack Wheeler and Seth Lugo.

Video: Andrew Toles hammers grand slam in Cactus League win

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Dodgers’ left fielder Andrew Toles crushed his first spring training home run on Saturday afternoon. With the bases loaded and a two-run deficit hanging over their heads in the fourth inning, Toles stepped up to the plate against Oakland right-hander Jesse Hahn and unloaded a grand slam on the second pitch he saw.

Third baseman Justin Turner was quick to follow up with a solo jack of his own, bringing the score to a comfortable 7-4 lead by the end of the fourth. Another three-run outburst in the fifth and an eighth-inning RBI single by Austin Barnes raised the final score to 11-6… which, coincidentally, was the same score the Reds used to defeat the Athletics’ second split-squad lineup on Saturday (albeit with a few more RBI walks than grand slams).

Toles, 24, is approaching his sophomore season with the Dodgers in 2017. He slashed .314/.365/.505 with three home runs and an .870 OPS in his first major league season in 2016 and is expected to platoon with the right-handed Franklin Gutierrez in left field this year.