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On this date in 1996: Tino becomes a True Yankee

BALTIMORE, Md. — On this date in 1996, Tino Martinez had his True Yankee moment. Replacing Don Mattingly at first base, Martinez erased the boo-birds with one big swing of the bat.

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Facing the Baltimore Orioles at Oriole Park at Camden Yards, the New York Yankees would win a wild 11-6 extra-inning affair. It would foreshadow a season of gritty gutty resiliency for this bunch.

The Yankees banged out 20 hits, including a team-record six by left-fielder Gerald “Ice” Williams. Bernie Williams would collect five of his own. Gerald, Bernie, and Tino would all go yard in this contest.

Gerald hit a two-run tater to left off David Wells in the second stanza. In the fourth frame later Bernie connected with a solo swat to right.

As the game progressed, it was far from a pitching clinic. Yet, Andy Pettitte, who was chased after a one-inning start the evening prior, settled things down so to speak with three scoreless frames in extras.

The turning point and dagger though came off the bat of Martinez during the top of the fifteenth frame. Facing Jimmy Myers with the bases juiced, Martinez smacked a grand slam to left, breaking a six all stalemate.

In a contest between two teams jostling for AL East supremacy, it was a seminal moment for Martinez with his new team.