NEW YORK -- Starting pitching has been the most important component of a hot stretch that saw the Yankees sitting at 15 games over .500 entering play on Wednesday.

Hiroki Kuroda's seven-inning outing in Tuesday's 4-3 loss to the Braves was the Yankees' 19th consecutive start of six or more innings, marking the longest streak in the Majors this season.


"I'm extremely impressed," Yankees manager Joe Girardi said. "A lot of those have been in National League cities, where you have to have a lead and you have to be pitching well or you'll probably get pinch-hit [for]. It's been impressive."

According to the Elias Sports Bureau, the run marks the Yankees' longest such stretch since 1981, when they also compiled 19 starts of six or more innings in a row.

Teixeira rests heel, should be OK for Mets

NEW YORK -- One night after Mark Teixeira took a Jason Heyward rocket off his left heel, the Yankees first baseman was on the bench for the start of the series finale against the Braves on Wednesday.

Teixeira did enter the game as an eighth-inning pinch-hitter for Eric Chavez and ripped a double down the left-field line. He remained in the game for the final inning of New York's 10-5 loss to Atlanta.

"It probably wouldn't have been good for me to play all nine [innings] hobbling around like that, but to play one inning and get one at-bat, I can get through it for the end of the game," Teixeira said.

Yankees manager Joe Girardi said that he had already been thinking of resting Teixeira for the afternoon contest, but Heyward's hard shot off Teixeira's heel had clinched it. Teixeira is expected to be in the lineup for Friday's game against the Mets. He said Heyward might be responsible for the hardest-hit ball he has ever tried to field.

"[The heel] was just really tight and sore, but luckily I didn't have to really put it in second gear for the double," Teixeira said. "It was a standup double, which was easy for me."

Chipper gets a nod in final trip to Stadium

NEW YORK -- The Yankees held a ceremony at home plate prior to Wednesday's game honoring Braves third baseman Chipper Jones, who has announced that he will conclude his 19-year Major League career at the end of the season.

Derek Jeter and former Atlanta teammate Andruw Jones presented Jones with a custom case containing third base from Tuesday's 4-3 Braves victory, marking Jones' final regular-season start at Yankee Stadium.

"It's hard to believe how long we've played this game, the good things he did in his career playing this game," Andruw Jones said. "I'm sure he thinks, deep in his heart, he thinks he can still play some more. But [after] too many injuries and feeling it when you get up in the morning, that's why I think he made this decision."

The 40-year-old Jones received a warm ovation from the crowd, tipping his cap toward the Yankees' dugout as he left the field. Mark Teixeira, a former teammate in Atlanta, said that he thought the presentation was "great."

"Chipper was one of my favorite teammates," Teixeira said. "I absolutely loved playing with him, loved hitting behind him in the lineup. We had a lot of fun together, a lot of success together, two switch-hitters batting three-four."

Andruw Jones, who said he first met Chipper Jones when the latter was rehabbing an injury at the Braves' Minor League complex in West Palm Beach, Fla., said that he also remembers the switch-hitter as being a "great teammate."

"He'd go out there and get the job done every day," Jones said. "He used to play every day. He never asked for a day off. He'd just go out there and play every day."

Jones may be better known in New York for his damage across town against the Mets -- he named a son Shea because he found Shea Stadium such an inviting place to hit -- but he is also retiring as a .340 lifetime hitter in Interleague action against the Yankees with five homers and 18 RBIs in 27 games.

He didn't fare as well in two World Series against the Bombers, hitting a combined .225 (9-for-40) with a homer and five RBIs in the 1996 and '99 Fall Classics.

"It was a very nice gesture, especially the battles that the Yankees and Braves have had in the World Series in the past," Teixeira said. "I thought it was first class on our part and his part too. He tipped the cap to New York fans, which he's not used to doing at Shea and Citi Field."

Bombers Bits

• Before Wednesday's loss, the Yankees were 18-0 this season when Alex Rodriguez drove in a run and had won their last 22 such games dating back to last season.

• On this date in 1963, the Yankees and Mets matched up for their first Mayor's Trophy game. The Mets, led by manager Casey Stengel, came away with a 6-2 win at Yankee Stadium.