Gardner named AL Player of the Week
Gardner batted .478 (11-for-23) with three doubles, five homers, seven RBI, five walks and eight runs scored in six games to capture his second career weekly honor (last accomplished for the week ending June 9, 2013). It is the second Player of the Week Award this season for the Bronx Bombers after Carlos Beltran was tabbed on April 14th. Among Major League leaders, Gardner was first in slugging percentage (1.261) and tied for tops overall in homers and total bases (29). On the A.L. leaderboard, Brett tied for first in runs scored, tied for second in on-base percentage (.571), was third in batting average, was tied for third in hits and was tied for fourth in walks and RBI.
On Monday, the left-handed-hitting Gardner launched a pair of solo homers as part of a 3-for-5 effort, but his offensive efforts were not enough as the Yanks were doubled up by the Texas Rangers, 4-2, in Arlington. The two blasts marked Brett's first career multi-homer performance (in his 722nd game). The seven-year veteran carried a hot bat into Tuesday's tilt with the Rangers, going 4-for-5 with two doubles, a leadoff homer and three runs scored in a wild 12-11 victory for New York. His three runs scored were his most since crossing the dish four times in a 14-5 win over Boston on April 24th at Fenway Park. On Wednesday, the 30-year-old connected on a leadoff homer for the second straight day in a 3-2 loss to the Rangers. Brett became the first Yankee to hit leadoff home runs in back-to-back games since Derek Jeter on August 17-18, 2001 vs. Seattle, and he was just the third Yankee to accomplish the feat since 1965. The South Carolina native now has five career leadoff homers, with four of those coming this season. On Sunday night in Boston, the College of Charleston (S.C.) product went 3-for-4 with a double, a homer, three RBI and a walk as the Yankees edged the Red Sox, 8-7. Gardner's solo blast in the sixth inning proved to be the game winner for the Yankees. Heading into play today, Gardner is batting .284 with 16 doubles, six triples, 15 homers, 50 RBI, 70 runs scored and 18 stolen bases in 107 games. His 15 homers are a career best, surpassing his previous mark of eight home runs in 2013. In addition, all of his homers have come from the leadoff spot, which leads the Majors in that category. According to the Elias Sports Bureau, he leads the A.L. and ranks second among all Major League leadoff hitters with 44 RBI.
Other noteworthy performances during last week included Gardner's Yankee teammate Beltran (.480, 12 H, 5 RBI, 5 R); Adam Eaton (.556, 15 H, 3 2B, 6 R) and Alexei Ramirez (.370, 4 2B, 1 HR, 9 RBI, 7 R) of the Chicago White Sox; Corey Kluber (1st career shutout on 7/30 vs. Seattle) of the Cleveland Indians; Kyle Gibson (2-0, 1.93 ERA, 14.0 IP, 2 BB, 13 SO) of the Minnesota Twins; and Greg Holland (0.00 ERA, 4 SV, 6 SO) of the Kansas City Royals.