Soriano reaches 2,000 hits in style with blast
NEW YORK -- Alfonso Soriano's first career hit was a home run at the old Yankee Stadium. His 2,000th hit was a home run at the new Yankee Stadium.
Leading off the fourth inning against the Tigers in Sunday's 5-4 walk-off win, Soriano took the first pitch he saw from Tigers starter Justin Verlander and belted a solo home run, becoming the 16th active player to reach the 2,000 career hit mark.
"It's nice to get it out of the way," Soriano said after the game. "So now I'll feel more comfortable at the plate. I don't have to think about it, getting my 2,000th hit. I'm very happy."
Soriano had said that he was feeling "a little lost" at the plate recently; he was 0-for-9 with six strikeouts in the Yankees' first two games against the Tigers this weekend, and he said that he has to be more selective at the plate.
"It's hard to not think about it, but I know," Soriano said. "Sooner or later, I want to get the hit. When I get the hit, I know I'll feel more loose at home plate."
Before Sunday's game, Yankees manager Joe Girardi said that he was looking forward to Soriano sending his 2,000th hit into the rear-view mirror.
"I've talked about it all the time, I hate milestones," Girardi said. "Because they're talked about every day -- and not just here, sometimes at home. [Players] start to feel the anxiety of getting through it."
Soriano batted .200 (10-for-50) with two home runs and seven RBIs in his first 13 games after rejoining the Yankees in a July 26 trade with the Cubs, and he said that he is still working on getting adjusted.
"It's a little different now," Soriano said. "I used to play here in the American League, but most of the pitchers that I faced are not there anymore. These pitchers are new. I have to make adjustments, swing at strikes and be more selective at home plate."
Soriano said that he has enjoyed hitting in the heart of the Yankees' lineup, as he was accustomed to in Chicago, and is getting used to being surrounded with a different cast of players than the team he remembers leaving after the 2003 season.
"It's not the same, but it's a lot of talent on this team," Soriano said. "I believe in those young guys. They can do the job. If you're here in the big leagues, you're here for one reason. You have the talent to be in the big leagues."