New York Yankees’ Didi Gregorius watches his home run during the 10th inning of a baseball game against the Los Angeles Angels, Friday, April 27, 2018, in Anaheim, Calif.

By Mike Rosenstein

The Yankees take a nine-game winning streak into their four-game series with the defending World Series champion Houston Astros on Monday at Minute Maid Park in Houston, Texas.

A big reason for New York’s recent success is the smoking hot bat of shortstop Didi Gregorius, who was named the American League Player of the week.

Below is the press release from Monday’s announcement:

Gregorius posted a slash line of .357/.419/.821 with seven runs scored, a double, four home runs, 10 RBI and three walks to claim his first career AL Player of the Week Award, and the first for the Yankees since his All-Star teammate Aaron Judge last season for the week ending September 24th.  Among qualified AL leaders, the 28-year-old finished his strong week tied for first in home runs; second in RBI; third in total bases (23); tied for third in hits (10); fourth in runs scored; fifth in slugging percentage; and tied for seventh in extra-base hits (5).

In a road tilt against the Los Angeles Angels on April 27th, the Amsterdam, Netherlands native went 3-for-5 with two runs scored, a double and a solo home run.  The go-ahead homer in the 10th inning was the first extra-inning home run of his career, and was his 10th on the season.  In addition, the clutch round-tripper resulted in his 30th RBI on the season, the third-highest April RBI total in franchise history (since RBI became an official statistic in 1920).  Tino Martinez recorded 34 RBI during April of his AL MVP-runner-up season of 1997, while Alex Rodriguez also plated 34 in April during his AL MVP-winning 2007 campaign.  The round-tripper was also his fifth over a six-game stretch.  From April 22nd-25th, the left-handed-hitting slugger homered in four straight games, becoming the first shortstop in Yankees lore to accomplish the feat.  Didi, who enters play today with a slash line of .340/.436/.766, is on pace to become just the fourth player in Major League history to slash at least .330/.420/.750 with 30 RBI-or-more in April, joining Albert Pujols in 2006 (.346/.509/.914, 32 RBI), Larry Walker in 2001 (.375/.446/.852, 30 RBI) and Hall of Famer Ken Griffey Jr. during his AL MVP-winning 1997 season (.340/.420/.786, 30 RBI).  The Yankees play their final April game tonight against the Houston Astros at Minute Maid Park.  Led by Didi’s hot start, the Yankees (18-9) have won each of their last nine games dating back to April 21st, and trail the Boston Red Sox (20-7) by 2.0 games in the competitive AL East.

Tampa Bay Rays catcher Wilson Ramos (.500, 4 R, 5 XBH, 8 RBI) also posted a strong week amidst the Club’s eight-game winning streak.  The Venezuelan native enters play today having homered in each of his last three contests (April 26th-28th), becoming the first catcher in Club history to accomplish the feat.  Over his last 13 games, the 2016 All-Star has recorded a slash line of .391/.451/.761 with five doubles, four home runs and 13 RBI.  Other noteworthy performances last week included closer Edwin Diaz (4 G, 0.00 ERA, 3 SV, 8 SO) and starting pitcher Marco Gonzales (2-0, 1.50 ERA, 12.0 IP, 12 SO) of the Seattle Mariners; shortstop Eduardo Escobar (.370, 4 R, 6 XBH, 4 RBI) of the Minnesota Twins; and Didi’s teammates, starter CC Sabathia (2-0, 0.69 ERA, 13.0 IP, 8 SO), backstop Gary Sanchez (10 R, 3 2B, 4 HR, 11 RBI) and starter Masahiro Tanaka (2-0, 1.42 ERA, 12.2 IP, 14 SO).