Derek Jeter had an immediate impact in his return to the New York Yankees on Sunday. Now, as the Yankees wait for the fate of another star, they kick off a two-game series versus the red-hot Los Angeles Dodgers at Dodger Stadium.
Jeter homered in his first at-bat on Sunday against the Tampa Bay Rays and Alfonso Soriano had four hits, including the game-winner in the ninth inning, to help the Yankees avoid a three-game sweep with a 6-5 win.
"It was a very exciting moment. In my third game back with the Yankees and to having a game-winning hit is a very special moment," Soriano said.
Jeter celebrated his return to the lineup for the first time since July 11 by going 2-for-4 with a solo homer and two runs scored.
"It was fun - I'm tired," said Jeter, who has hit safely in all six games he has played against the Dodgers. "I worked hard to try to get back on the field."
Mariano Rivera (2-2) tossed a perfect top of the ninth for the Yankees, who got a 4-for-4 performance from Ichiro Suzuki that included a run driven in.
Now, 2 1/2 games out of a playoff spot the Yankees hit the road for eight games. Alex Rodriguez is scheduled to join them at some point this week, but rumors are circulating that a lengthy ban for his involvement with the Biogenesis clinic is imminent.
Still, the Yankees could also get outfielder Curtis Granderson back at some point on this trip that also includes stops in San Diego and Chicago to face the White Sox. The Yankees are 26-25 away from home this season.
On Tuesday, they turn to veteran left-hander Andy Pettitte, who has lost his last two starts and is just 7-8 on the year with a 4.39 ERA. Pettitte lost to Texas on Wednesday, but pitched well, surrendering two runs in six innings.
"I feel good -- I can't take anything from it," Pettitte said after that outing. "When you lose, you can't take nothing from it. It's a loss, we need wins and it's frustrating."
Pettitte is 2-0 with a 3.94 ERA in five starts against the Dodgers.
The Dodgers, meanwhile, will rely on righty Zack Greinke, who is 8-3 with a 3.49 ERA. Greinke lost to Cincinnati on Thursday, as he gave up four runs and six hits in seven innings.
Greinke is 2-4 in 11 games (8 starts) versus the Yankees with a 6.45 ERA.
Los Angeles enters this series as the hottest team in baseball with wins in 26 of its last 32 games, including a thrilling win on Sunday that saw Cuban phenom Yasiel Puig deliver a walkoff home run in 11 innings.
"We've got a good thing going and we're just going to keep it rolling," reliever Brandon League said. "Puig's contributed a lot, but it's not only him. The best part of this is that it's a different guy every day, and we're not counting on one person."
These teams split a doubleheader in New York back on June 19, but this is the Yankees' first visit to Dodger Stadium since taking two of three back in 2010.