Mark Teixeira and Russell Martin pulled a tag-team match on the LA Angels of Anaheim in last night's big win for the New York Yankees.
Whether the dramatics will be in store for today's middle test of a three-game series in the Bronx remains to be seen.
The Yankees were trailing, 5-2, heading into the bottom of the eighth inning until Teixeira cracked a three-run homer off Angels reliever Scott Downs to even the score. Derek Jeter doubled and Curtis Granderson walked prior to Teixeira's second home run of the game, while Martin later stroked an RBI single to give the hosts a 6-5 lead. Yankees closer Rafael Soriano made sure New York stayed on top and registered his 21st save in the ninth.
"Down three runs with their bullpen, not a lot of teams come back," said Teixeira, who ended with five RBI. "That's a good sign for us."
Hiroki Kuroda didn't have such a great day on the mound and escaped with a no- decision after giving up five runs and eight hits in 7 1/3 innings. Newcomer Chad Qualls got the last two outs in the eighth and picked up the win thanks to a four-run outburst in the home portion of the frame.
New York leads the majors with 136 home runs and second baseman Robinson Cano went 1-for-4 to extend his hitting streak to 16 games. Cano is batting .385 with nine runs, five homers, 16 RBI and eight multi-hit games during the surge. The Yankees, who have the best record in baseball at 53-33, are 51-19 when hitting a home run this season and 36-8 when clubbing multiple homers.
The AL East-leading Yanks, winners in five of the last six contests, opened a six-game homestand on a positive note and will also entertain the Toronto Blue Jays in the Bronx.
Yankees veteran hurler Freddy Garcia has won his last three decisions and will make his third start following 10 relief appearances this afternoon. Garcia held the rival Red Sox to a run on six hits and two walks in 6 2/3 innings of a 6-1 victory on July 7 at Fenway Park.
Garcia moved over .500 at 3-2 in 16 games (6 starts), but still has a less- desirable earned run average of 5.23. The right-hander is probably the best option for New York in this matchup due to his 15-3 record and 2.59 ERA in 27 career starts against the Angels.
The Angels opened the second half of their season on a down note and opened a seven-game road trip Friday night.
Mark Trumbo belted a three-run homer and had one taken away by Yankees outfielder Nick Swisher in the eighth inning. Trumbo has homered in five straight games against the Yankees. Tim Salmon had a homer in six straight games against the Indians in 1998.
C.J. Wilson started for the Angels and allowed two runs in seven innings. He struck out seven and walked two before Downs blew the lead.
"Just a couple mistakes," Downs said on the club's website. "Good hitters hit mistakes. That's what they did."
Erick Aybar also homered in a losing cause. The Angels are five games behind Texas for the AL West lead and will also visit Detroit for four games. They entered the Bronx last night having won two straight and five of eight games.
Jerome Williams will be activated from the disabled list in time to start today's game for Anaheim and was sidelined since mid-June after suffering an asthma attack. Williams made two rehab appearances in the minors and tossed six innings recently for Triple-A Salt Lake.
Williams has dropped three straight starts and lasted only 3 1/3 innings on June 18 in a 5-3 loss to San Francisco, giving up four runs and seven hits to fall to 6-5 in 13 games (12 starts) to go along with a 4.46 ERA. Before his current slide Williams had won six of seven decisions from April 20 - June 1.
The right-hander faced the Yankees for the first time in his career to kick off his 2012 campaign on April 15 in the Bronx. He was tagged for five runs in only 2 2/3 frames of a lopsided 11-5 loss.
New York leads the season series with the Angels, 4-3.