It's probably fair to say Alfonso Soriano has snapped out of his early-season funk.
Starting in rightfield for the first time in a regular-season game, Soriano hit his second home run in as many days to help the Yankees beat the Red Sox, 7-4, on Saturday at Yankee Stadium.
Soriano's opposite-field blast came off John Lackey in the fourth inning, five pitches after the first of two homers by Brian McCann.
Since beginning the season 0-for-17 and looking clueless in the batter's box, Soriano is 10-for-24 with three home runs and four RBIs.
"I just feel comfortable,'' he said. "I said [then] as soon as I get my first hit, I would feel more relaxed at home plate. That's what I've tried to do. Be relaxed and swing at strikes.''
Soriano demonstrated his ability to accelerate from zero to 60 last year, too. After going 1-for-16 in a four-game stretch, he went 13-for-18 with five homers and 18 RBIs in the next four games.
Joe Girardi said Soriano seemed to begin turning things around after he was hit by a pitch April 6 against the Blue Jays. His power from the right side of the plate clearly is a necessity for the Yankees this season.
"Obviously, he can get hot and carry a team,'' Girardi said. "It's what he's capable of doing, and that's why he's important to our lineup.''
Soriano, 38, has hit 20 home runs since being reacquired by the Yankees last July 17 from the Cubs. That's the most in the majors in that span. Of course, playing at Yankee Stadium certainly can't hurt a guy who has power to the opposite field like Soriano. His home run to rightfield off Lackey didn't necessarily look great off the bat, but it ended up in the seats anyway.
"I asked him if he hit it well,'' said Carlos Beltran, who had a home run to rightfield of his own. "He said a little bit off the end of the bat, but that's what happens when you play in a ballpark with a short porch in rightfield. Anything can happen.''
Soriano said he really isn't doing anything differently, other than staying relaxed at the plate.
"That's all,'' he said. "I've been working hard in the cage and in BP -- swing at strikes and hit the ball hard.''