Nick Swisher is laughing again, and he had plenty of reasons for his big smile Sunday night.
Swisher hit a tiebreaking three-run homer in the eighth inning and the New York Yankees routed the Chicago Cubs 10-4 in the finale of their first series at Wrigley Field in eight years.
“Just a total team effort today,” Swisher said.
Brett Gardner added his first career leadoff homer for the Yankees, who have won eight of 10 since they were swept by Boston in a three-game series at home. Swisher finished with four RBIs and Alex Rodriguez helped spark New York’s offense with three hits and a walk.
Another boisterous crowd packed Chicago’s longtime home for the third straight day, and there were more “Let’s go Yankees!” chants from pockets of New York fans, followed by the inevitable boos from the majority of the paid attendance of 41,828. The crowd for the rubber game brought the weekend total to 126,283, setting a Wrigley Field record for a three-game series.
“It’s a lot of fun. The atmosphere is great,” said Yankees left-hander CC Sabathia, who settled down after a rough start. “It’s always fun to come here to Wrigley.”
Alfonso Soriano hit his 14th homer and Aramis Ramirez had four hits for Chicago, which dropped the last two games of the series after winning four of five. Sean Marshall (3-2) pitched a perfect seventh, but failed to record an out in the eighth and was charged with two runs.
Soriano’s three-run shot off Sabathia (9-4) made it 4-1 in the third inning, but that was it for the Cubs.
“You play 27 outs for a reason and you’ve gotta keep the pressure on a club like that,” Chicago manager Mike Quade said.
Russell Martin had a tying sacrifice fly in the sixth for New York and Swisher hit a 2-0 pitch from Chris Carpenter deep into the bleachers in right to make it 7-4. The Father’s Day shot was Swisher’s first homer at the ballpark where his father, Steve, began his major league career in 1974.
“He’s my hero, my idol and to be able to give him this gift today, I guess, is just a great day,” Nick Swisher said.
Sabathia allowed four runs and eight hits in seven innings, improving to 6-2 with a 2.62 ERA in eight road starts this season.
David Robertson worked around two walks during a scoreless eighth and Jeff Marquez got Soriano to fly out with the bases loaded to end the game.