NEW YORK (AP) — Alex Rodriguez hit his first homer in 15 days, Andy Pettitte pitched seven sharp innings and the New York Yankees beat Texas 8-2 on Tuesday night for their seventh straight victory over the Rangers.
Derek Jeter drove in two runs and Doug Mientkiewicz started a pair of rallies from the No. 9 spot and New York improved to 6-2 since owner George Steinbrenner called his $195 million team’s 9-14 start “clearly not acceptable.”
Four of those wins have come against the Rangers, including a three-game sweep in Texas last week.
Robinson Cano broke out of a 1-for-21 slump with two doubles and New York scored a pair of runs on a two-out error by center fielder Jerry Hairston Jr. in the third.
Pitching for the first time since buddy Roger Clemens announced he’ll return to the Yankees this season, Pettitte (2-1) worked around some shaky infield defense in the first two innings. He allowed one run and seven hits for his first win in five starts since April 10 at Minnesota.
Hank Blalock doubled three times and walked for the Rangers, who were coming off a three-game sweep of Toronto.
After getting hit by a pitch from starter Mike Wood (0-1) in the third, Rodriguez drove an 0-1 delivery over the right-center fence in the fifth for his 15th home run of the season. The two-run shot, which gave the Yankees a 6-1 lead, was his first homer in 47 at-bats since April 23 at Tampa Bay. It also was New York’s first homer in four games.
Rodriguez has slowed down after a torrid start, but he still leads the major leagues in home runs and RBIs (39) by a comfortable margin.
Sammy Sosa’s two-out RBI single in the third put Texas in front. Sosa tried to score from first on Blalock’s second double, but he was thrown out at the plate on a strong relay from right fielder Bobby Abreu to second baseman Cano to catcher Jorge Posada.
Mientkiewicz, who doubled twice Monday to raise his average to .211, singled leading off the bottom half and scored on Jeter’s one-out double. With two runners on, Hideki Matsui hit a liner to center that got Hairston twisted around, and the ball glanced off his glove for a three-base error that made it 3-1 Yankees.
Mientkiewicz singled again with two outs in the fourth and scored on Jeter’s single. Johnny Damon, who was on second base, was cut down at the plate on the play by left fielder Nelson Cruz.