The Yankees hit five home runs once before this season. It was earlier this month, and Alex Rodriguez hit three of them. With their regular clean-up hitter on the disabled list tonight, the Yankees did it again.
Mark Teixeira went deep. Then Marcus Thames. Then Jorge Posada, Curtis Granderson and Derek Jeter. Five home runs from five different Yankees.
“It’s going to be a team effort,” Mark Teixeira said. “One person isn’t going to carry any team. It’s just really important for all of us to do what we did tonight. Be aggressive, when we get good pitches don’t miss them and hopefully score a lot of runs.”
It was Teixeira’s seventh home run of the month, Granderson’s fourth home run in 11 games and Posada’s third home run since Saturday. Oddly enough, it was only Thames’ second homer off a lefty this season.
The surprise was Jeter. It was his 10th of the season, giving him 15 straight years with double digit homers, but Jeter had not hit a home run since his inside-the-parker on July 22. He hadn’t hit a ball over the fence since June 12.
• Nick Swisher fouled a ball off his left knee in the seventh inning. He tried to stay in, but Joe Girardi eventually went to pull him in the middle of the at-bat. “I feel fine,” Swisher said. “It’s just swollen up a little bit. I can’t wait to wake up tomorrow and see how it feels.” Swisher had a considerable limp in the clubhouse.
• The at-bat ended with pinch hitter Brett Gardner looking at one pitch for a strikeout that was credited to Swisher. “I’ll get him on the bus,” Swisher said.
• Dustin Moseley has won four of his six spot starts in place of Andy Pettitte. Tonight he retired the first eight batters he faced, and when he got into trouble later in the game, he did a good job limiting the damage against a lineup that can put up big number in a hurry. “I started picking at the zone a little too much and falling behind in some counts,” Moseley said. “Against a lineup like that, you can’t do that.”
• Remember when the Yankees couldn’t beat lefties? They’re now 15-5 in their past 20 games against left-handed starters. They’ve won five in a row.
• The Rays are still playing — and winning at the moment — but tonight’s win assured the Yankees will wake up with at least a share of first place. “It will mean something at the end,” Girardi said. “There’s a lot of baseball left.”
Associated Press photos of Teixeira and Moseley