Marcus Thames said things came “full-circle” for him on Saturday night.
The Yankees drafted a 19-year-old Thames in 1996. Fifteen seasons and three teams later, Thames contributed to the team that drafted him in a big way with a home run in the Yankees’ ALDS-clinching win over the Twins.
“It feels great,” a champagne-soaked Thames said in the Yankees’ locker room. “We’re doing what we set out to do.”
Thames drilled a first-pitch fastball from Twins starter Brian Duensing over the wall in the bottom of the fourth to put the Yankees up, 4-0. The two-run shot scored Robinson Cano and proved to be the difference in the Yankees’ 6-1 win.
Thames and Lance Berkman have platooned at designated hitter in the playoffs with Thames in the lineup against lefties.
He went hitless in three at-bats in Game 1 and finished 2 for 4 in Game 3.
Thames will be a key factor if the Yankees face the Rangers in the ALCS as Texas features two left-handed starters in Cliff Lee and C.J. Wilson.
But Thames wasn’t concerned about Texas on Saturday night.
He just wanted to soak in the Yankees’ series-clinching win. He’d watched the Bombers celebrate title after title while playing in the team’s minor league system. So Thames said it was satisfying to finally see it first-hand.
“As a youngster coming up in the system, you watch those guys and you want to get a taste of it,” Thames said. “It feels great.”