After all the concern about Mark Teixeira's subpar beginning to the season, it appears - finally - that he is on course for the numbers he was expected to produce.
Which is basically what Teixeira had been saying all along, even when he was slumping.
The contrast between the July 2010 version of Teixeira and the earlier version was on full display Saturday in the Yankees' 7-4 loss to Kansas City. He drove in three runs with two home runs, a solo shot to rightfield to lead off the fourth inning and a two-run bomb to right-centerfield with two outs in the fifth.
Both came on fastballs from Royals starter Kyle Davies. It was his third multihomer game of the year and his third multihit effort in four games. He is 8-for-17 with seven RBIs in that span.
"Whenever you're on a good streak . . . when you do get pitches to hit, you're not missing them," Teixeira said. "When I was getting good pitches to hit early on, I wasn't hitting them well. I wasn't making good enough contact."
It's meant all the difference between his April batting average of .136 and his July average of .389, which has brought his overall average up to a respectable .261.
Teixeira is 28-for-72 with seven homers and 21 RBIs in 19 games in July. He has 20 homers, which leads the Yankees, and 69 RBIs, putting him on pace to reach 30 homers and 100 RBIs for the seventh straight season.
Manager Joe Girardi said he was never worried.
"I just think it was a matter of time," Girardi said. "He's too good of a hitter not to hit. He's just too good of a hitter. He's been tremendous in the month of July and that's really good for us. He's a huge part of our lineup."
It wasn't all roses for Teixeira yesterday, though, not with how things ended.
With the Yankees trailing by three runs and men on first and second with two outs in the bottom of the ninth - with Alex Rodriguez on deck - Teixeira grounded to shortstop Yuniesky Betancourt and was called out at first. Subsequent replays indicated he was safe.
"I had a feeling Tex was going to get on no matter what," Rodriguez said. "He's having one of those types of weeks and definitely one of those type of days where if he gets a strike, he's going to hit it hard, if not draw a walk."
The Yankees had fallen behind 6-0 in the fourth inning before the two homers by Teixeira and one by Jorge Posada brought them within 7-4 in the fifth.
"There are no moral victories when you're trying to win a division," Teixeira said. "When you lose a game, you lose a game and you try to get them tomorrow."