Teixeira starting to heat things up
Oakland, Calif. - Mark Teixeira paused ever so briefly from describing his dynamite day to cough and clear his throat.
It's no longer the debilitating, bothersome coughing and bronchial illness he experienced early in the season - and his increased strength of late sure shows in his power swing.
Three home runs and seven RBIs in two games.
Teixeira hit a two-run homer and a solo shot among his career high-tying four hits to back CC Sabathia's sixth win of the year, and the New York Yankees beat the Oakland Athletics 9-2 on Saturday for their fourth straight win to match a season best.
"I'm glad I'm seeing some results. Just being real aggressive with my swings and trying to let it go, which I've done my whole career," said Teixeira, whose five RBIs were a career high. "I am who I am. I wouldn't know how to explain what kind of hitter I am. I just go up and try to see the ball and hit it really hard. You're clearing your head, swinging hard and hoping for the best. That's what I've always done."
Teixeira and Robinson Cano each homered for a second straight day as the Yankees added three more longballs to give them nine homers in the last three games.
What a change for Teixeira, whose physical limitations kept him from clearing the fences even when he felt he was swinging as hard as he could.
Teixeira hit a solo home run in the fourth, added a two-run single in the fifth when New York broke it open and had a two-run homer in the ninth, almost single handily sending Oakland to its season-worst fourth straight defeat. Manager Joe Girardi said before the game he believes Teixeira is getting back to his former slugging self.
Derek Jeter hit a go-ahead RBI single in the third to give him 3,153 career hits for 15th on baseball's career list, then Jeter beat out a bunt single in the fifth to tie George Brett for 14th place with 3,154. Alex Rodriguez added a sacrifice fly in New York's three-run fifth.
Oakland's Josh Reddick connected leading off the third for his 13th home run and second in as many games, but the A's lost their eighth in a row at home to the Yankees in the Coliseum.
"After the home run he threw more sliders and curves and that made his fastball look even faster coming in," Reddick said. "I'm happy I'm swinging the bat but unfortunately we're not winning games. We have a team full of power and they know we'll turn it around.
Sabathia (6-2), back in his native Bay Area with 200 friends and family in the stands, outpitched former Yankee Bartolo Colon and drew cheers when introduced before the game. Former A's six-time Gold Glove third baseman Eric Chavez also received a warm welcome when he came to the plate leading off the third, and again after he doubled.
"They scored runs and kind of took the pressure off," Sabathia said. "I think we have one of the best offenses in the league."
Jonny Gomes hit a two-out RBI single off Sabathia in the first to put Oakland ahead, then New York quickly tied it on Cano's drive into the right field bleachers to start the second.
Teixeira followed up a two-hit night with a two-run homer in Friday's 6-3 win by adding four more hits for a season high and his 22nd career four-hit game. He singled leading off the eighth before getting caught off the bag on an unassisted double play by A's first baseman Adam Rosales, who first fielded Raul Ibanez's liner.
"It's what we've always known he's capable of doing in Texas," Girardi said. "Another guy who can carry your club for a while. That's how hot he can get. He swung the bat great today. Going back to a few days ago he took the walks, got some knocks, yesterday he swung the bat as well. It's good to see."
New York then loaded the bases against A's reliever Graham Godfrey, who hit Jeter with a pitch in the back of his left shoulder to force in a run. Godfrey had been slated to start Monday at Minnesota but now that will be Travis Blackley.
Sabathia allowed two runs on seven hits, struck out four and walked two in seven innings.
The Yankees' winning streak in Oakland dates to July 5, 2010 - their longest unbeaten run in this venue since it opened in 1968 and Oakland's longest skid in the series. New York has won 12 of 13 here overall and is 23-9 since the start of the 2004 season.
Colon (4-5) allowed six runs on nine hits in six innings and didn't walk a batter for the fifth time in his 11 starts and third in the last four outings.
The right-hander got through a 1-2-3 first on eight pitches, then surrendered Cano's seventh home run.
Chavez and Nick Swisher each had a double and single against their former club for New York, which is two games into a stretch 18 of 27 away from Yankee Stadium.
• Yankees LF Brett Gardner, on the DL since April 19 with a strained right elbow, is set to take swings Monday at the team's facility in Tampa, Fla. "Will it take a little bit longer than last time? Maybe," Girardi said. "I think you've got to turn it up a notch before you really know." Girardi said New York hopes to avoid another setback, which would likely put Gardner's return around the All-Star break. ... "Frio," Jeter said when he emerged to warm up before the game on a day first-pitch temperature was a cool 59 degrees. ... Tommy Milone (6-3) pitches for the A's today in his first appearance vs. New York, which counters with Hiroki Kuroda (3-6) in his first outing against Oakland since June 17, 2009, with the Dodgers. He is trying for his first road win after an 0-4 start.
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