Teixeira breaks HR drought as Yanks edge Twins

BY foxsports • July 10, 2009

Mark Teixeira's career-long homer drought is finally over.

After sending a Francisco Liriano fastball some 420 feet into the Metrodome seats on Thursday, Teixeira thinks his next long ball may not be far behind.

Teixeira ended a 23-game homerless stretch and the New York Yankees completed a season sweep of the Minnesota Twins with a 6-4 victory.

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"I'm a streaky home run hitter, and they come in bunches," Teixeira said. "And after hitting a bunch in a row it took a while to get another one."

Teixeira, who managed to keep his average and on-base percentage high through his power outage, connected on the first pitch of the fifth inning. It was his 21st homer of the season and first in 96 at-bats, dating to June 12 against the Mets.

Was it starting to wear on him?

"Not at all," he said. "We're playing so much great baseball. I'm getting on base. I'm still hitting the ball; I'm just not getting that lift.

"The last couple of weeks, that ball that I hit would've been a line drive to the left fielder or maybe a nice hard single," he added. "But once you get a little bit of a lift, a little bit of backspin, that's when home runs start coming."

Mariano Rivera picked up his 23rd save for the Yankees, who have won eight straight on the road and beat the Twins all seven times they met this season.

Francisco Liriano (4-9) gave up six runs - three earned - on seven hits in 5 1-3 innings for the Twins, who have lost 18 of their past 24 games against the Yankees.

Twins All-Star first baseman Justin Morneau was 0 for 4 and went 0 for 10 in the series.

"They just pretty much dominated us at home," Twins manager Ron Gardenhire said. "That's not supposed to happen."

New York moved Alfredo Aceves from the bullpen for a spot start in place of the injured Chien-Ming Wang. Aceves gave up four runs - two charged to him when reliever David Robertson walked Denard Span and Matt Tolbert with the bases loaded in the fourth - on four hits in 3 1-3 innings.

Robertson's walks were the only hiccups for the sterling New York bullpen. The relievers combined to allow two hits and no runs over the final 5 2-3 innings. Jonathan Albaladejo (4-1) pitched 1 2-3 hitless innings for the win.

"I thought it was going to come together right out of spring training, so it's a little later than I thought actually because we've had to shuffle some pieces with guys to fit in," manager Joe Girardi said. "They've done everything I've asked them to do. They haven't said, 'What's my role?"'

It was another shaky outing for Liriano, who has been nowhere near the dominating performer he was before Tommy John surgery 2 1/2 years ago. Gardenhire said Liriano "is still learning to pitch with less stuff than he had before the surgery."

With the bases loaded and one out in the second, Liriano got ahead 0-2 on Cody Ransom. But Ransom worked a walk to score Alex Rodriguez for a 1-0 lead.

"It's kind of frustrating," Liriano said. "I should have made some better pitches, especially the 0-2 count. Too many pitches all over the place."

Derek Jeter added an RBI single later in the inning to make it 3-0, with all three runs unearned thanks to an error by second baseman Tolbert.

Liriano needed 55 pitches to get through the first two innings, two days after the Yankees squeezed 57 out of Scott Baker in the first two frames.

The Yankees gave two runs back in the second on errant throws. Aceves threw a ball away on a pickoff attempt at first base and Ransom had a throwing error at third base as the Twins cut the deficit to 3-2.

Ransom and Brett Gardner had RBI singles in the fourth, and Robertson steeled himself after the two run-scoring walks. He got Joe Mauer to ground out with the bases loaded to end the inning and keep the Yankees in the lead, 5-4.

"They just wore us down," Gardenhire said.


Twins starter Glen Perkins, who missed his scheduled start on Wednesday because of illness, was still feeling poorly on Thursday. Nick Blackburn will start Friday against the White Sox and the Twins hope Perkins will be ready for Saturday. ... OF Johnny Damon was given the day off. Manager Joe Girardi said Damon was nursing a sore calf and knee. ... Girardi said A.J. Burnett will be the first starter after the break, followed by CC Sabathia, Joba Chamberlain and Andy Pettitte.

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