'Hart of the Order'
By Sean Hartnett
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When the Yankees re-acquired outfielder Alfonso Soriano, he was expected to give the Bombers a jolt of power. He's gone far beyond what anyone expected since pulling on the familiar pinstripes.
Soriano's mighty stick and megawatt smile have lifted the gloomy mood in the Bronx. Suddenly, the Yankees are only trailing the Oakland A's by five games in the hunt for the second American League Wild Card playoff slot.
Some say there's mystique, magic and aura in the pinstripes. Whether or not you believe in those type of things, Soriano has undoubtedly answered the bell and risen to the challenge. In a Derek Jeter-less Yankees world, he's accepted the baton and ran with it.
"Here it's like, more motivation," Soriano said. "All the players, they want to win."
Soriano has smashed seven home runs and driven in 21 runs in 17 games since his return to the Bronx. His slugging percentage as a Yankee stands at a remarkable .606.
On Wednesday, Soriano clubbed two homers and picked up seven RBIs as the Bombers bulldozed the Angels, 11-3. Yankees fans must have felt like they were experiencing déjà vu given his two-home run, six-RBI performance on Tuesday night.
Four home runs and 13 RBIs in two games -- mind-boggling statistics.
"He's got a good month these last two games," Angels manager Mike Scioscia said.
Wednesday night's heroics extended the Bombers' winning streak to four games, and the Yankees have the chance to complete a four-game sweep over the Los Angeles Angels on Thursday.
"It's pretty incredible what he's done the last two nights," teammate Chris 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."
Soriano has brought good feelings back to the Bronx. It feels as if we've all accidentally stepped into a time machine and traveled back to a time when the Yankees were actually an exciting team to watch.
Suddenly, it feels a lot more like 2001 than what some were pronouncing as "The lost season of 2013."
Follow Sean on Twitter @HartnettHockey.
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