Phil Hughes had good reason to be concerned. Jose Reyes had just hit his second home run of the game for a 3-1 Mets lead. Most days, a two-run lead in the third inning would feel tiny, but the Yankees hadn’t scored more than three runs since Tuesday.
“After I gave up the two-run homer I was really mad at myself because we’ve been struggling to swing the bats a little bit,” Hughes said. “And Pelfrey has been really good this year. We had tied it at 1, and to give it back again was bad. But we responded.”
That was the difference. A half inning later, Mark Teixeira — who’s stayed in the No. 3 spot despite his struggles — hit a game-tying home run into the Yankees bullpen. An inning later, Curtis Granderson hit a game winner into the right-field seats.
“The one thing you talk about during the season and in spring training is shutdown inning,” Joe Girardi said. “The importance of when you score, you don’t let your opponent score. Tex answering right back I thought was extremely important.”
Granderson’s home run was the first time Pelfrey had lost a lead all season. It was also the first time he had allowed two home runs in a game.
“Homers help,” Teixeira said. “I’ve always been a big proponent of strikeout pitchers and home run hitters because when you have a good pitcher out there, you’re not going to get 15 hits off Mike Pelfrey. You’re just not going to, so you have to put the ball out of the park and hope for the best.”
Here’s Girardi’s postgame.
• Girardi found out late this morning that Derek Jeter was getting treatment on his right foot. Jeter had not asked out of the game, but Girardi decided to play it safe and hopes it’s only a one-day issue. “His heel’s sore,” Girardi said. “We’ll see how he is tomorrow. I’m hoping we can put him back in the lineup.”
• Girardi on keeping Teixeira in the No. 3 spot: “We all know that Tex is going to hit. Sometimes it can be frustrating for people when you’re struggling. People want to see our guys do well every day, so I think that people get anxious, but it’s a long year. Tex is the kind of guy that can carry you.”
• Asked if today could get him going, Teixeira said more or less the same thing he’s been saying all year: “Today has no bearing on tomorrow or the next day,” he said.
• No word on whether Granderson will play against the lefty Johan Santana tomorrow. He sat out against a lefty on Friday. “Come in ready to play no matter what,” Granderson said.
• Pretty good line from Hughes when asked if he made an adjustment to strike out Jose Reyes in his third at-bat after Reyes homered in his first two ABs. “I didn’t give him a fastball right down the middle,” Hughes said. “I guess if you want to call that an adjustment.”
• Of course, Hughes was asked again about the possibility of pitching in the all-star game: “I think about it,” he said. “I don’t bank on anything. A lot can change between now and then. It would be nice, but I try to take the same approach every day and get better on my side days and not really think about it. If it happens, great. If not, not big deal. Just try to do what we did last year. Those things are nice, but we have one goal here.”
• Before Joba Chamberlain pitched out of his own trouble in the eighth inning, Girardi had Mariano Rivera already getting loose in the bullpen. Girardi ultimately stuck with Chamberlain, who got a strikeout to end the inning. “You don’t want to be caught off guard,” Girardi said. “Mo hadn’t thrown in five days, so he had plenty of rest. You always want to be prepared.”
Associated Press photos of the Yankees outfielders and Jeter on the bench.