The start of Thursday afternoon's game against the A's was delayed an hour and a half due to rain, and by the third inning, Yankees fans were hoping that Mother Nature would hurry up and finish the job. The Yankees trailed 7-1, with Phil Hughes departing after yielding seven hits and retiring just eight hitters, and Cory Wade serving up a three-run homer to Cliff Pennington on his very first pitch. The sub-.500 A's appeared poised for a three-game sweep in the Bronx.
Fortunately for the Yankees, the weather held out long enough for the big bats to come to life. And then some. Russell Martin homered in the fourth inning to cut the lead to 7-2, then Robinson Cano drilled a grand slam in the fifth to pull the Yankees within a run. Martin added a grand slam of his own in the sixth to give the Bronx Bombers a 10-7 lead, and after the Yankees piled up six runs in the seventh via seven walks (!) against relievers Jordan Norberto and Bruce Billings, Curtis Granderson hit a grand slam of his own in the eighth as the Yankees extended their lead to 22-8.
With that last shot, the Yankees became the first team in major league history to hit three grand slams in a single game, an impressive bit of history even for the team that now leads the majors with eight slams on the year (the Marlins began the day with the lead at six). Furthermore, it was just the fourth time the Yankees ever hit multiple grand slams in a single game — the last was September 14, 1999, when Bernie Williams and Paul O'Neill went yard against the Blue Jays — and the first time they had ever done so while playing in any iteration of Yankee Stadium.
Despite ranking second in the majors in OBP, the Yankees came into the day just eighth in plate appearances with the bases loaded with 131. They had no less than 16 bases-loaded opportunities on the afternoon, collecting six hits, two walks, a sacrifice fly and an RBI fielder's choice in the process. In all, they bashed out 21 hits while walking a season-high 13 times, for a game OBP of .586. The 22 runs were their highest total since June 19, 2000 against the Red Sox.
Cano's grand slam was his second on the season, with Granderson, Martin, Francisco Cervelli, Jorge Posada, Alex Rodriguez and Mark Teixeira having joined the party as well. Granderson's homer was his 36th, extending his career high. Martin's homers were his 16th and 17th, putting him within two of his career high, set in 2007. After just one multi-homer game during his years in Dodger blue, the backstop has four during his short time in pinstripes, three in the last 11 days. Thanks to his first-ever five-hit game, he's back to hitting a rather respectable .243/.332/.429.
One other weird note during an afternoon full of them: in the eighth inning, as Joe Girardi emptied his bench, Cervelli pinch-hit for Cano and remained in the ballgame, taking over for Martin behind the plate. Playing second base as part of this weird double-switch was none other than Posada, who last played the keystone at Oneonta in 1991, his first year of pro ball. With two outs in the ninth inning, A's batter Anthony Recker hit a groundball to Posada, who one-hopped a short throw that nearly pulled Nick Swisher off the first base bag. Luckily, the left-handed Swisher held on even as he fell to the ground, sealing the 22-9 win.