NEW YORK (AP) — Mark Teixeira hit his first home run of the season and Ramiro Pena delivered a key single while filling in for an ailing Derek Jeter, leading Andy Pettitte and the New York Yankees over the Texas Rangers 5-2 Sunday for a three-game sweep.
Pettitte (2-0) pitched four-hit ball for eight innings. The World Series champions won their fourth in a row, taking advantage of a wild Rich Harden (0-1) to hand Texas its fourth straight loss.
A notoriously slow starter, Teixeira hit a most-overdue homer. He shared the AL lead last year at 39 with Tampa Bay’s Carlos Pena.
Teixeira led off the third with a high-arching drive into the second deck in right field. He was hitting only .100 (4 for 40) this season when he connected. His glovework never seems to suffer despite his slumps — the first baseman leaped to snag Josh Hamilton’s liner and made a diving, backhanded stop on Matt Treanor’s grounder.
It was 2-all with two outs and the bases loaded later in the third when Pena looped a soft, two-run single for his first hit of the season. He started because Jeter was ill with a cold. Jeter left Saturday’s game early, giving Pena his first at-bat this year.
Jorge Posada lined a solo home run in the Yankees seventh.
Pettitte made the lead stand up, retiring 12 straight batters in the middle innings. Mariano Rivera closed for his fifth save in five tries.
Harden never found his rhythm, walking six and hitting two batters in 3 2-3 innings.
Elvis Andrus hit an RBI double and scored on a single by Michael Young to put Texas ahead 2-1 in the third.
Harden hit Brett Gardner and Teixeira with pitches in the first inning. Making his 130th start in the majors, it was the first time Harden had plunked two hitters in a game.
The speedy Gardner kept pestering Texas. He had three infield hits Saturday, and his bunt on Harden’s first pitch Sunday barely trickled foul. On the next pitch, Harden hit him in the right shin. Gardner stole second and eventually scored on a sacrifice fly by Robinson Cano.
NOTES: Teixeira went 76 at-bats before his first home run in 2007. He finished with 30 HRs. … Harden’s six walks were one shy of a career worst. … Gardner swiped two bases, then was caught stealing after being fooled by pitcher Darren Oliver’s pickoff. … Alex Rodriguez appeared to be trapped off second base when he made an early break with reliever Dustin Nippert still holding the ball. But Rodriguez made a nifty hook slide to beat Nippert’s throw to third. … While Jeter didn’t play, a fan wearing a Jeter jersey made a nice catch on a foul pop by Posada. … The Yankees posted their first home sweep against Texas of at least three games since August 2005.
Copyright 2010 The Associated Press.