NEW YORK (AP)—Mark Teixeira and the surging Yankees have spent two nights in a row reminding the Mets which team gets top billing in New York.
Teixeira hit a go-ahead homer and Phil Hughes won his third straight decision, sending the Yankees to a 4-2 victory over their crosstown rivals Saturday.
Curtis Granderson also connected and Alex Rodriguez had an early RBI single for the Yankees (33-25), who go for a Subway Series sweep Sunday with Andy Pettitte on the mound against Jonathon Niese. They have won seven of nine and 12 of 16 to move a season-high eight games over .500.
“Right now we’re on a nice little run,” Teixeira said. “Starting pitching has been the key.”
David Wright hit a long homer and Omar Quintanilla went deep for the first time since 2008, but the scuffling Mets lost for the fifth time in six games. A pregame message on a clubhouse grease board encouraged them to “stay positive” and “keep battling.”
They got a strong outing from Dillon Gee but managed only two solo homers against Hughes (6-5), who topped his win total from an injury-plagued 2011 season.
“It’s nice to keep it going,” Hughes said. “I relied on my fastball a lot and I think that’s what’s been working overall.”
Coming off a four-hitter against the Tigers in which he threw a career-high 123 pitches, Hughes struck out six in 6 1-3 innings to improve to 5-1 in his last seven starts.
“I didn’t think he was quite as sharp as he was in Detroit, but I thought he battled his rear end off,” Yankees manager Joe Girardi said. “Made some big pitches when he had to. I thought he did a really good job for us.”
Cory Wade and a fine running catch in deep left-center by Granderson kept the Mets at bay in the seventh. Granderson added his 18th homer off Bobby Parnell in the eighth, ending an 0-for-18 slump, and Soriano got three outs for his ninth save in nine chances.
After a 9-1 loss Friday night, the Mets dropped to 2-14 in series in the Bronx.
“They have a lot of power up and down that lineup. We don’t,” Wright said.
The matchup between Big Apple foes was just one event on a jam-packed sports schedule Saturday in the New York area. Also on the docket: the Belmont Stakes, Game 5 of the Stanley Cup finals, a world-class track and field meet and an exhibition soccer match between South American rivals Brazil and Argentina.
Teixeira put the home team on top at Yankee Stadium before a sellout crowd of 48,575.
“I think the crowd gives us energy. It’s a big series for New York,” Teixeira said. “When you’re playing at home it just makes it that much more special.”
Gee (4-4) worked around leadoff walks in the third and fourth before another one came back to bite him in the sixth. He was one strike from escaping again when Teixeira lined a 2-2 breaking ball over the short porch in right to give the Yankees a 3-2 lead.
Teixeira’s 11th homer was the first hit for the Yankees since three of their initial four batters singled.
“I would throw that pitch again, just a little better. I hung it just a little bit,” said Gee, who had trouble staying loose—and with his footing on the mound. “I didn’t feel very good tonight. I thought my command was all right.”
Derek Jeter snapped an 0-for-17 slide with a leadoff single in the first. He advanced on Gee’s balk and scored when Rodriguez grounded a single up the middle.
Quintanilla tied it when he connected on a 2-2 pitch in the third for his third major league homer and first since a game-ending shot for Colorado against Cincinnati on Aug. 24, 2008.
Wright drove his eighth homer to the back of the Mets’ bullpen in the sixth, far beyond the 399-foot sign on the left-center fence.
“Singles don’t win too many games in this ballpark,” Mets manager Terry Collins said. “We have to have somebody step up and get some hits.”
Hughes has served up 15 home runs—at least one in each of his 12 starts. The Yankees said that streak is tied for the second-longest to begin a season in major league history behind Hall of Famer Bert Blyleven, who gave up a homer in his first 14 starts of 1987 with Minnesota, according to the Elias Sports Bureau.
Raul Ibanez grounded into a double play to end the first, dropping him to 0 for 9 with the bases loaded this season and the Yankees to 10 for 64 (.156) in those situations.
“We are better than what we’ve shown in those spots,” Girardi said. “I think it’s eventually going to change and that’s good for us.”
NOTES: Rodriguez tied Hall of Famer Eddie Murray for seventh on the career list with 1,917 RBIs. … Jeter reached 1,800 runs scored, passing Ted Williams for 17th place. … Yankees starters had pitched at least seven innings in seven straight games, the team’s longest streak since an eight-game run in July 2010. … Yankees RHP Hiroki Kuroda expects to make his next start after he was hit on the left foot by Daniel Murphy’s line drive Friday night, though Girardi said the team probably will have to wait a couple of days to know for sure.