NEW YORK -- Gary Sanchez finished yet another incredible offensive August on a strong note, as the Yankees catcher belted his 12th homer of the month in Thursday's 6-2 victory over the Red Sox at Yankee Stadium.The 24-year-old Sanchez launched his 28th homer of the season in the third inning
NEW YORK -- Gary Sanchez finished yet another incredible offensive August on a strong note, as the Yankees catcher belted his 12th homer of the month in Thursday's 6-2 victory over the Red Sox at Yankee Stadium.
The 24-year-old Sanchez launched his 28th homer of the season in the third inning off Boston left-hander Eduardo Rodriguez, an opposite-field shot to right field that tied the game at 1. The ball came off Sanchez's bat at 99.4 mph and traveled a Statcast™ calculated 357 feet.
"It definitely feels good to hit 12 home runs in the month of August," Sanchez said through an interpreter. "I don't even remember how I felt last year. That was last year, but it's definitely a good feeling to contribute here and help the team."
Sanchez also lined a run-scoring single in the victory, capping an eventful month that included manager Joe Girardi challenging him that his defense "needs to improve, bottom line" during a series against the Indians in Cleveland and later a four-game suspension stemming from punches thrown in a benches-clearing incident against the Tigers in Detroit.
"I think he's handled it all pretty well," Girardi said. "I think sometimes we forget how young he is and how inexperienced he is, but I think he's handled it all pretty well."
Sanchez became just the sixth player in franchise history to hit 12 home runs in the month of August, and the first since Alex Rodriguez did so in 2005. Joe DiMaggio, Mickey Mantle and Babe Ruth also accomplished the feat, with Ruth slugging 15 in August 1929.
Last August, Sanchez slugged 11 homers in 24 August games en route to equaling Wally Berger's 86-year-old Major League record by hitting 20 homers in his first 51 career games. That performance helped Sanchez finish second in balloting for the American League Rookie of the Year Award.
"I think he's swinging the bat extremely well," Girardi said. "He's been really productive the second half for us. You look at his numbers and he's getting close to 80 RBIs (77) and he missed a whole month. It's really pretty incredible."
Sanchez's 28 homers lead all big league catchers and are the most by a Yankees catcher since Jorge Posada hit a career-high 30 in 2003, which is tied with Yogi Berra (1952, 1956) for the most all time by a Bombers backstop. Sanchez has hit 14 homers over his last 33 games (since July 27) after hitting just three homers in his previous 30 games.
The homer was the sixth that Sanchez has hit against the Red Sox this season, and the 10th of his career against Boston. Lou Gehrig (1927) and Mantle (1954, 1956) are the only other Yankees under the age of 25 to homer six or more times in a single season against Boston, according to the Elias Sports Bureau.
"I really don't pay attention to the numbers," Sanchez said. "That's why once in a while when you guys tell me 'Hey, you have 20, you have 25,' it surprises me when you tell me. I don't pay attention to the numbers, but what I can tell you is that when I go in the box, I go up there looking for a good pitch to hit and when I have people on base I make sure I do the job."
Bryan Hoch has covered the Yankees for MLB.com since 2007. Follow him on Twitter @bryanhoch and on Facebook.