TAMPA, Fla. -- New York Yankees rookie Gary Sanchez has become the first player in major league history to hit 19 homers in his first 45 games.
Sanchez's solo drive in the sixth inning of the Yankees' 11-5 win over Tampa Bay on Wednesday, his second homer of the night, allowed him to best Wally Berger of the 1930 Boston Braves. Berger went deep 19 times in his first 51 games, while Sanchez was playing in the 45th game of his career -- 43 games this season and two games last season. The two blasts were Sanchez's fourth and fifth homers in his past four games.
Sanchez's sixth-inning homer, following his three-run shot in a four-run second off Tampa Bay Rays starter Alex Cobb, also marked the third time he has hit two homers in a game in his career. He has eight home runs in his last 12 games after a 10-game drought.
"It's hard to believe,'' New York manager Joe Girardi said of Sanchez. "I haven't seen anything like it.''
With an RBI single in the first inning and the two homers in the following four innings, Sanchez pushed his batting average to .337 with 38 RBIs in 165 at-bats. His 19 homers are the most by a Yankees rookie since Alfonso Soriano hit that many in 2001. Soriano needed 574 at-bats.
"It's great when you achieve something like that, but what makes it better is that you're helping the team win,'' Sanchez said through a translator.
On Tuesday, Sanchez's three-run homer in the seventh inning gave the Yankees the lead as he continued to thrill his teammates.
"There are plenty of words -- amazing, incredible, impressive," said 14-year veteran Mark Teixeira when asked to describe Sanchez's streak. "He's carried us. We are not even close to talking about a playoff berth if Gary doesn't come up and do what he has done."
The Yankees are 2.5 games back in the AL wild-card race.
Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.