NEW YORK (AP) — Derek Jeter homered twice, Jorge Posada snapped out of a slump with his first grand slam in nearly six years and the New York Yankees beat the Houston Astros 9-3 on Saturday.
Javier Vazquez (6-5) pitched seven solid innings for his third straight win and fourth in five starts.
Jeter hit a leadoff shot and drove in four runs for the Yankees, who roughed up struggling left-hander Wandy Rodriguez and beat Houston without ailing slugger Alex Rodriguez (right hip) for the second consecutive day. New York moved a season-best 16 games over .500 at 39-23 with its seventh straight home victory — also a season high.
Hunter Pence and Carlos Lee hit long solo homers for the Astros, who had won three straight and eight of 10 before arriving at Yankee Stadium.
In the bottom of the first, Jeter sent a 2-0 pitch from Wandy Rodriguez (3-9) into the Houston bullpen for his 24th career leadoff homer, tying Hall of Famer Rickey Henderson for the franchise record.
Pence opened the second with a drive over the Astros' bullpen into the rarely reached left-center bleachers, about 430 feet from home plate.
Jeff Keppinger's third-inning RBI double put Houston ahead 2-1 but the Yankees came right back in the bottom half, when their first five batters reached safely.
Jeter drew a leadoff walk, stole second and went to third on catcher Humberto Quintero's throwing error. Nick Swisher hit an RBI single, Mark Teixeira walked and Robinson Cano reached on an infield single that deflected off Wandy Rodriguez's glove, loading the bases.
Batting right-handed, Posada went with a low-outside pitch and lifted it to right-center for his eighth career slam and first since July 26, 2004, at Toronto. He snapped a 4-for-34 skid since coming off the disabled list and became the eighth player to hit 250 home runs with the Yankees.
Waiting for medical clearance to get back behind the plate, Posada has been limited to DH duties since he was activated June 2 after being sidelined with a broken right foot.
Wandy Rodriguez was lifted after consecutive walks to start the sixth. One out later, Jeter homered to right-center off Jeff Fulchino to make it 9-3.
It was Jeter's ninth career multihomer game and first since Aug. 27, 2006, at the Los Angeles Angels.
Vazquez scattered six hits, struck out six and did not walk a batter for the first time in 11 starts this season. After a slow start in his second stint with the Yankees, the right-hander has gone seven innings in each of his last three outings.
David Robertson and Chad Gaudin finished up.
Wandy Rodriguez was tagged for eight runs, seven hits and five walks in five-plus innings, dropping to 1-5 in his past six starts.
NOTES: Astros manager Brad Mills said left-hander Tim Byrdak was available out of the bullpen after a cortisone shot Friday helped his ailing lower back. Byrdak pitched a scoreless eighth. ... Houston slugger Lance Berkman is 1 for 23 in six games on this road trip. ... With the Yankees ahead 6-2, speedy Brett Gardner replaced Marcus Thames (strained right hamstring) in left field to start the fifth. Gardner sat out the previous two days with a sprained left thumb but took batting practice before the game and said his thumb felt good. Thames went for an MRI. ... Kevin Russo started at third base in Alex Rodriguez's place and batted ninth. ... It was Jeter's first leadoff homer this season. ... The Yankees are 21-7 at home. ... A roar went up before the eighth inning when the giant video screen in center field showed that the United States and England were tied at 1 in their World Cup opener. ... It was military appreciation day at Yankee Stadium.