Newspaper article The Canadian Press

Canadian Catcher Russell Martin Enjoying Pennant Race with New York Yankees

Newspaper article The Canadian Press

Canadian Catcher Russell Martin Enjoying Pennant Race with New York Yankees

Article excerpt

Martin enjoying pennant race with Yankees

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TORONTO - Competing in a pennant race is what Russell Martin lives for.

The Canadian catcher belted his career-best 20th home run of the season Friday as the New York Yankees continued their playoff push with a convincing win over Toronto.

"This is the type of baseball that I enjoy," said Martin, whose three-run homer in the sixth inning blew the game wide open as New York beat the Blue Jays 11-4. "It's high intensity and this is the way I play the game."

The Yankees maintained their one-game lead in the American League East over the Baltimore Orioles, who defeated the Boston Red Sox 9-1 on Friday.

"We want them to lose as much as possible but they don't really seem like they want to give in," Martin said. "It's going to be coming down to the wire. It's September, it's time to get going.

"This is baseball at it's best, for me, just going out there every day with the race, how tight it is. I couldn't ask for anything better. It keeps you going every day."

Martin, who is from Chelsea, Que., has rebounded in the second half of the season. Friday's home run was his 12th since the all-star break.

"It's nice to get a career high at home in front of my family and friends," he said. "Probably about 12 people (were there to watch him). Trying to make them proud out there."

Before the break Martin was batting .179 in 68 games. But he has turned it on since, hitting .247 in 60 games after going 2-for-4 on Friday.

"Just trying to make a bad season a bit better," he said. "We're playing to win at this point so anything I can do to help the team win that's my main focus."

Yankees manager Joe Girardi, himself a former catcher, praised Martin for being able to separate his offence from his defence when he struggled at the plate.

"I never saw him really take his at-bats behind the plate," Girardi said. …

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