Mark Teixeira returned to the lineup Monday night and homered in his second at-bat as the Yankees went deep four times in a nine-run second inning in a 10-2 win over the Red Sox.

Teixeira, who went 1-for-3 with a walk, had missed the previous 20 games and 30 of the previous 31 with a Grade 1 strain of the left calf. He tried to come back once before, Sept. 8 in Baltimore, and re-injured himself diving into first base on the final play of a loss to the Orioles.

"Felt good," Teixeira said. "Lucky I didn't have to test it. No hard sprints or anything like that today. The win made it feel really good."

Teixeira's real test didn't come at the plate or on the bases. It came on defense in the second inning.

He crashed into the first-base dugout railing waist-high while chasing a pop-up hit by Jarrod Saltalamacchia. Teixeira didn't catch the ball, but also didn't get injured, thanks to a smart decision he made during the play.

"I considered diving into the dugout," he said. "But I'm thinking, 'That's probably not the best thing to do.' I'm not sure if I would have caught it, anyway. I had to run over there and test it out."

advertisement | advertise on newsday

Teixeira was replaced at first base in the eighth inning by Nick Swisher as manager Joe Girardi started to rest his regulars in the blowout.

"It feels a lot better than when I came back the first time in Baltimore," Teixeira said. "That's why I feel more comfortable this time."

It showed. Teixeira hit a two-run home run to the second deck in right off Alfredo Aceves for the final runs in the second inning as the Yankees took a 9-0 lead. It was his 24th home run of the season and his second at-bat of the inning.

After Robinson Cano led off the second with a home run off Clay Buchholz, Teixeira struck out looking at a 3-and-2 fastball.

Curtis Granderson and Russell Martin later homered back-to-back in the inning.

"I didn't really know what to expect," Teixeira said. "But I thought I saw the ball really well today. On the home run, put a really good swing on the ball."

While the Yankees were on the road last week in Minneapolis and Toronto, Teixeira was in Tampa, Fla., getting himself back in shape for the final three games of the regular season.

He played in Instructional League intrasquad games -- the Bombers vs. the Pinstripes, he said -- and called the experience "a really good week in Tampa, very productive. We accomplished everything that we wanted to accomplish."

Monday night, too.