On a 1-2 count, Mark Teixeira blasted a line drive to rightfield for a two-run home run in the bottom of the first. Brett Gardner brought home Jacoby Ellsbury on an RBI single just two batters before, but the long ball legitimized an early rally.
"Lot of confidence right now," Teixeira said of himself and his team, which beat Baltimore, 4-3, Wednesday at Yankee Stadium. The first baseman went 2-for-4 on the night, adding a double to go with his homer.
"We come to the park every day expecting to win and when you get starting pitching the way we've been getting the last few games, it's a lot easier to do.
"Starting pitching sets the tone so as hitters we don't feel like we need to score a ton of runs, put too much pressure on ourselves. Obviously you want to go out there and give them a lead, but it allows us to play our game and keeps us in every game too."
But starter Ivan Nova had only retired the game's first three batters by the time Teixeira homered.
The 35-year-old All-Star has been on a tear with four straight multi-game hits since July 18. He's batting 9-for-16 with 4 runs, 4 doubles, 2 home runs and 3 RBIs in that span. It's his longest hitting streak since 2012.
Teixeira was on point defensively, too, making the catch on a low ball thrown his way in the fifth inning. The play helped bail out Nova, who had gotten into a jam with two men on base.
Second baseman Stephen Drew said Teixeira's "soft hands" and the team's defensive efforts have been game-changers. He added that the team "stepped up big tonight."
Said Teixiera: "Our defense, we can definitely play better. But some nights, a defensive play can win a game."