Bats perk up to help Yanks edge Mets
Homers by Teixeira and Granderson give Hughes 10th win
NEW YORK -- There was no way to predict when the Yankees' slumping lumber would begin to show signs of life again, but facing one of the best pitchers the National League has offered this year didn't promise to be the easiest remedy.
While the Yankees weren't expecting to take a ton of great swings against Mike Pelfrey, the two they got proved to be enough. Mark Teixeira and Curtis Granderson connected for a pair of two-run homers in support of Phil Hughes' 10th victory as the Yankees defeated the Mets on Saturday, 5-3.
The Yankees snapped their three-game losing streak, awakening a lineup that had been handcuffed in the final two games of their set against the Phillies and gone down quietly against the Mets in Friday's series opener.
- 134 wins
- 118 wins
"You never want to lose three in a row," Teixeira said. "We take a lot of pride in winning series and trying to win every single game. That just didn't happen the last few games; the offense was a little lacking. Today, we beat a good pitcher."
Teixeira offered promise that he might finally be beginning the tear that the Yankees have waited for him to begin, having endured a slow start that has carried long past his customary April woes.
After Hughes kicked himself for giving up the second of two homers to speedy leadoff hitter Jose Reyes, the switch-hitting Teixeira belted his 11th home run in the third inning, a two-run shot that tied the game.
"We all know that Tex is going to hit," Yankees manager Joe Girardi said. "Sometimes it can be frustrating for people when you're struggling. People get anxious, but it's a long year. Tex is the kind of guy who can carry you."
Teixeira also brought in the Yankees' first run in the first inning with a double-play grounder, and he has hit safely in nine of his past 11 games. The Yankees took the lead in the fifth, as Granderson teed off on Pelfrey for his sixth homer, a two-run shot over the auxiliary scoreboard in right field.
"When you're able to get runners on base, you try to maximize those opportunities as much as possible," Granderson said. "I think we're starting to do a better job of that over the past couple of games. We haven't hit with consistency, and whenever we get that, we try to keep the pressure on."
Granderson has four homers in his past 17 games after hitting two homers in his first 27 games this year, and he has been a helpful presence since coming off the disabled list from a left groin strain.
"He's a threat wherever he is," Girardi said of Granderson. "He had a big two-run homer today for us. Curtis runs balls down all over the outfield for us, and he can make an impact in so many ways. He's an important part of our club, and his home run today put us ahead."
The outburst put Hughes in the driver's seat toward avenging his only loss this year, a May 22 dud at Citi Field, even though his first few innings on Saturday seemed rather wobbly without the usual sharp command of his fastball.
Hughes fired his first pitch of the afternoon over the plate for a strike at 1:08 p.m. ET, and by the time the clock ticked ahead a minute, Reyes was already circling the bases, having lined Hughes' second pitch over the right-field wall.
Reyes repeated the feat in the third inning, slugging a two-run shot -- his fifth -- which came with Henry Blanco on base. Hughes was internally furious on the mound but later said he was thankful that Teixeira and Granderson were at least able to come to his rescue.
"It's huge," Hughes said. "After I gave up the two-run homer, I was really mad with myself because obviously we're struggling to swing the bats a little bit. Pelfrey has been really good this year. But we responded and did a great job offensively. I was just trying to get us through six or seven innings."
That turned out to be all the Mets would muster against Hughes, who completed seven innings of five-hit ball, walking three and striking out four with a wild pitch.
"I thought we had a few opportunities," Mets manager Jerry Manuel said. "Their guy made some good pitches at the right time and was able to get a double play or popup when he needed to. That's just part of baseball."
Girardi said the Yankees "got enough" off Pelfrey, who lasted seven innings and allowed five runs. They had a chance for more, but Ryota Igarashi wriggled out of a second-and-third, none-out situation in the eighth that did not wind up haunting the Yankees.
Joba Chamberlain got back on the horse after a rocky outing in Thursday's loss and pitched a scoreless eighth -- helped by Teixeira's sharp play on a Jesus Feliciano grounder -- and Mariano Rivera whirled a perfect ninth inning for his 16th save in 17 opportunities.
Still able to call themselves winners in eight of their past 12 games, the Yankees had the long ball to thank. Teixeira guessed that Pelfrey might have made just two mistakes all afternoon, and the difference was that this time around, they landed in the seats.
"Homers help," Teixeira said. "I've always been a big proponent of strikeout pitchers and home-run hitters. When you have a good pitcher out there, you're not going to get 15 hits off of Mike Pelfrey. You're just not going to. You have to hit the ball out of the park and hope for the best."
Bryan Hoch is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.