Bronx, NY – Brett Gardner came through with a tie-breaking two-run single in the bottom of the sixth inning, and the New York Yankees' sputtering offense sprung to life in a 7-4 victory over the Cleveland Indians in the opener of a three-game series.
Mark Teixeira belted a grand slam for his first home run of the season, with Travis Hafner adding a solo shot later on in the win. Austin Romine aided New York's cause by going 2-for-3 with two runs scored.
The Yankees entered the game having lost seven of eight and had scored a total of 15 runs during that stretch, but battered Justin Masterson (8-4) for seven runs and nine hits over the Tribe starter's 6 1/3 innings of work.
Andy Pettitte, making his first start since May 16, surrendered four runs and seven hits through 4 2/3 innings in his return from a strained left trapezius muscle. Four New York relievers combined for 4 1/3 scoreless frames afterward, with Shawn Kelley (3-0) beginning the sequence with 1 1/3 shutout innings to collect the win.
Michael Bourn went 3-for-5 with two runs scored in the loss, the sixth in a row for the Indians on the road and ninth in their last 10 visits to Yankee Stadium. Carlos Santana had a pair of hits, including a two-run double.
Former Yankee Nick Swisher finished 0-for-4 with an RBI and a run scored in his first appearance at Yankee Stadium since signing with the Indians as a free agent during the offseason.
"What makes this team good, and will win it our for us in the end, is that we have good depth," said Masterson. "You're going to lose games, you just have to make sure you don't lose a bunch in a row because that is when you fall into holes."
The game was deadlocked at 4-4 heading into the bottom of the sixth, when the Yankees put forth a two-out rally to move in front for good.
The light-hitting Romine extended the inning by beating out a tapper to the mound with a runner on first. Gardner then stepped to the plate and lashed a single up the middle that brought in both Ichiro Suzuki, who had worked a leadoff walk, and Romine after Masterson inexplicably cut off Bourn's throw home.
Hafner gave the Yankees some breathing room when the ex-Indian sent a Masterson fastball over the wall in the seventh, and Cleveland mustered just one hit against the New York bullpen after Pettitte departed.
Cleveland had carried a 1-0 lead into the bottom of the third before the Yankee bats broke out, tagging Masterson for six hits and sending nine men to the plate to surge ahead.
Reid Brignac and Romine delivered back-to-back singles to start things off before Masterson, who fired a four-hit shutout the last time he faced the Yankees back in May, walked Gardner to load the bases. Two batters later, Teixeira -- in just his fourth game back from a wrist injury that had sidelined him since the spring -- drove a first-pitch fastball just over the wall in right for a 4-1 advantage.
"We needed that one because you want to make sure that you don't let Masterson get into too much of a groove," said Teixeira. "So that was a big home run for us."
The Indians answered later on by tallying three runs as Pettitte labored badly in the fifth.
Drew Stubbs opened the inning with a double that snapped an 0-for-17 skid, took third on Bourn's infield single before alertly coming home on Mike Aviles' pop-up into shallow right field that Yankees' second baseman Robinson Cano caught with his back to home plate.
Consecutive walks to Swisher and Mark Reynolds later loaded the bases for Santana, who ended Pettitte's night with a hard smash down the left-field line that knocked in two runs and knotted the score at 4-4.
Cleveland drew first blood in the top of the third, which began with singles from Bourn and Aviles. After Asdrubal Cabrera pushed both runners over with a bunt, Bourn came around on Swisher's fielder's choice grounder to third.
Cabrera exited the game in the fifth inning after straining his right quadriceps while grounding out ... New York's Lyle Overbay, playing in his 1,376th career major league game, made his first-ever start in right field ... Pettitte made his 500th career major league start and moved past Mel Stottlemyre for third place on the Yankees' all-time list for innings pitched (2,665) ... The Yankees improved to 5-0 in games following a shutout loss this season and are 31-9 in such games under manager Joe Girardi ... Teixeira's grand slam was the eighth of his career and first since Sept. 28, 2011 at Tampa Bay.