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Phelps rebounds with strong outing for Yankees

The SportsXchange

NEW YORK -- David Phelps was rolling along, having allowed just an infield hit to a speedy hitter.

After opening the top of the fifth inning with a pair of walks to Mark Reynolds and Jason Giambi, it seemed that the roll was going to end.

Phelps did not let it end, pitching through that inning and finishing six solid innings as the New York Yankees held off the Cleveland Indians 4-3 Tuesday night at Yankee Stadium.

Before pitching coach Larry Rothchild came out for a brief visit, catcher Chris Stewart also came out to settle things down.

"Even before Larry got out there, Stewy came out there and said think about throwing it in the middle of the plate and not your ball," Phelps said. "He focused kind of staying on the white of the plate instead of on the edges."

Phelps rebounded from a nightmarish start against the Mets when he allowed five runs, recorded just one out and threw 31 pitches in a 9-4 loss on Wednesday. He gave up just an infield single to Drew Stubbs with one out in the third and became the first Yankee to toss six innings and allow one hit after getting one out or less in his previous start since Catfish Hunter on Aug. 1, 1978 at Texas.

"It's good," Phelps said. "I tried to forget about my last start. It's always good to have a good outing after something like that."

The only thing preventing Phelps from going deeper was four walks and several lengthy at-bats that produced 102 pitches to 24 hitters. However, he is accepting about that and is confident enough to work out of it.

"I'd prefer not to battle but it's something that I've had to be real accustomed to in my career," Phelps said. "I'm not going to be a guy that's going to throw fastballs by people. I got faith in my stuff that I can throw a strike."

"He kind of ran the game," Cleveland manager Terry Francona said. "He mixed everything up and we didn't have anything to show for it. We made him work. We took our walks. We couldn't push any runs across. It's rare that you see getting one hit and look up and see a bunch of pitches like that."

By the time Phelps finished the sixth inning with a strikeout to Mike Avilles, a pop-out in foul ground by Stubbs and a fly out to shallow center field by Michael Bourn, he had a 4-0 lead.

That advantage was provided by Mark Teixeira, who homered for the second straight night.

"A big home run and that's two nights in a row," New York manager Joe Girardi said. "I talked about he's an RBI machine and that's what he is."

A night after hitting a grand slam from the left side of the plate, the switch-hitting first baseman hit a three-run shot from the right side off Scott Kazmir (3-3) with one out in the third.

"Seeing the power is important for me because I want to commit to my swing," Teixeira said. "The first couple of games back, you kind of feel for it, you don't want to let it go and then that one hurt. I haven't had that yet, so (I'm) just committing to the swing and hitting the home run left-handed and right-handed just kind of shows 'OK, let it go' and that's what I've always done. I've never tried to just punch up to the gaps or anything and it's definitely a good sign for the wrists."

Teixeira's home run proved more critical when the Yankees bullpen had some detours while getting the final nine outs.

Joba Chamberlain allowed a three-run home run to Stubbs with two outs in the seventh before Boone Logan finished the inning by fanning Bourn.

David Robertson put the first two hitters of the eighth on base but got former teammate Nick Swisher to line out into a 4-6 double play before retiring Carlos Santana on a groundout to second.

Mariano Rivera struck out two in the ninth for his 21st save in 22 opportunities and third since not recording an out a week ago at Citi Field.

Kazmir allowed four runs and seven hits in six innings as he failed to post consecutive victories for the second time this season. Kazmir's only bad inning was the third when seven Yankees batted and he allowed five hits.

"Other than that he was really good," Francona said. "He hung a changeup to the wrong guy and that spread out the game and that's part of what they do."

NOTES: Cleveland SS Asbrubal Cabrera was placed on the 15-day disabled list with a strained right quadriceps that he suffered running out a ground ball in the fifth inning on Monday. To take his place, INF Juan Diaz was promoted from Class AAA Columbus. ... The Indians also said that RHP Zach McAllister will miss his next scheduled start due to a sore middle finger on his pitching hand. McAllister was slated to start Saturday at Detroit and will now start next Tuesday against Texas. ... New York SS Eduardo Nunez suffered a setback trying to swing a bat at the team's minor-league facility in Tampa. Nunez has not played since May 5 due to a strained left oblique and the team said he will undergo an MRI. ... RHP Michael Pineda is expected to start a rehab assignment for the Yankees' single-A Tampa team on Saturday. That could start his 30-day clock to be activated from the DL after missing this year and last recovering from right shoulder surgery.
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