The New York Yankees appear to be coming together all at once.
Winners of five straight, the Yankees will try for a three-game sweep of the Chicago Cubs when the teams conclude their series at Yankee Stadium.
The hot-and-cold Yankees have outscored their opponents 39-13 since returning from a 3-9 road trip. After opening the season 11-19 for their worst start since 1966, they won 16 of 18, then lost 11 of 14 before the current spurt.
Derek Jeter made sure the winning streak continued on Saturday as he hit two home runs, including the first grand slam of his career, and finished with five RBIs in New York’s 8-1 win.
With surging right-hander Mike Mussina making the start Sunday and then last-place Tampa Bay coming in for four games starting Monday, the Yankees are in position to make their first serious run at first-place Baltimore in the AL East.
“We’re gradually getting our confidence back,” Yankees manager Joe Torre said.
The Yankees are currently ranked 21st in the majors with a starting staff ERA of 4.53, but so far during the homestand, New York starters are 3-0 with a 2.78 ERA, including two complete games and eight stellar innings from rookie Chien-Ming Wang on Saturday.
Matsui is hitting .452 with three homers and 11 RBIs during his nine-game hitting streak, while Posada is batting .378 with two homers and seven RBIs during his 10-game run.
“The Yankees the last couple of days here have been pretty much unstoppable,” Cubs second baseman Todd Walker said.
The Cubs have lost three straight overall and dropped to 0-6 at Yankee Stadium. They were swept by New York in the World Series in 1932 and 1938 and did not return to the Bronx until Friday night.
Derrek Lee went 2-for-4 on Saturday, raising his major league-leading average to .387.