Teixeira breaks out with three hits, two-run HR
BALTIMORE - Joe Girardi called it a "bounce-back game" for Mark Teixeira after a lost weekend in Toronto, but how much of a springboard forward it is can't yet be determined.
Teixeira, off to the roughest start of his career, had three hits, including a two-run homer that highlighted a six-run seventh inning, in the Yankees' 12-7 victory over the Orioles in front of 23,171 at Camden Yards.
"After you lose a tough game or you're in a little streak, you want to bounce back as soon as you can and I think it is important," Girardi said of Teixeira, who went 1-for-14 against the Blue Jays, including an 0-for-6, five-strikeout game Saturday. "Tex is a professional, he's not going to let it affect him. But as a player, you still want to have those bounce-back games."
That such a game came against the Orioles (16-42) was predictable enough.
The Yankees (36-22), in bashing out 15 hits, including three home runs, won for the 20th time in 23 tries against the Orioles, who are as bad as ever despite firing manager Dave Trembley last week.
In addition to Teixeira, Curtis Granderson hit a grand slam, Nick Swisher had three hits, including his 10th home run of the year, and five RBIs, and Robinson Cano had three hits to raise his average to .370.
Teixeira, the primary topic of Girardi's pregame meeting with reporters as he came in hitting just .211, hit a two-run homer, his ninth blast of the season, to cap the Yankees' six-run seventh that gave them a 12-3 lead. In the same inning, Swisher hit a two-out, three-run double.
Teixeira, who is from the Baltimore area and spent his day off Monday relaxing with his extended family, he said, has resisted calling the early part of his season a slump, though Girardi talked before the game about mechanical issues the first baseman has had. Teixeira didn't dispute it.
"It's kind of like the cart before the horse; is it jumping at pitches that gives me bad mechanics or is it bad mechanics make you, because you're off, start guessing?" said Teixeira, now batting .220. "I think the combination of the two is not a good combination but hopefully I'll be more consistent now."
Phil Hughes (8-1), though not as consistently sharp as the Yankees have seen at times this year, was good enough, allowing a season-high nine hits but limiting the damage to three runs. Hughes struck out four and walked none. He has walked seven batters in his last six starts after walking 13 in his first five.
"It looks better at the end of it but I really felt like I wasn't on today at all," Hughes said. "I feel like if I was to evaluate myself without knowing how many runs I gave up and just by the pitches I made, I feel like I shouldn't have won this game. But I was able to battle as much as I could."
And, as he pointed out, get the kind of support he's gotten all season, 8.2 runs per start coming in. Hughes left last night's game with a 6-3 lead and the Yankees tacked on six more in the seventh, sending nine men to the plate, with Swisher and Teixeira getting the big hits.
"He was huge, man," Swisher said of Teixeira. "It's coming, boys, it's coming."
But only the days and weeks ahead will determine that for certain.