It appeared Mark Teixeira's best days were well behind him, but he's had a lot of good ones lately.
Teixeira's 338 home runs through his first 10 seasons - 2003-12 - were the fifth-most in baseball. Wrist problems limited him to 15 games last year, and he was back on the disabled list last month during his 34th birthday with a strained hamstring. His homer April 24 at Boston ended a 10-month drought, and he has gone deep four times in his last five games.
"I never doubted him," manager Joe Girardi said.
Teixeira is 4 for 10 with two homers through two games of this series, delivering a two-run homer and an RBI single in Saturday's 9-3 victory.
"You want to put up those home runs, and you want to drive in runs for your team, and when you start seeing that, then it makes you feel better about where you are physically," Teixeira said. "It's been a struggle the last year coming back from this injury, but so far the results have been good."
Teixeira is batting .357 with four home runs in his past seven games against Tampa Bay going back to 2012. That's the last year New York (16-13) won a series from the Rays at Yankee Stadium, where Tampa Bay has won seven of its past nine games.
The only other time the Rays (14-17) had won even two straight series in the Bronx was in 2005.
James Loney and Wil Myers have keyed the Rays' turnaround at Yankee Stadium. Both have hit safely in all 12 games there since joining Tampa Bay last season.
Loney is batting .521 with 10 RBIs in that span, and he's 6 for 8 in this series with a .613 average in his last eight versus the Yankees. He's hitting .443 in his last 15 games overall.
Myers is 10 for 25 with three homers and 10 RBIs in his last five matchups with the Yankees after going deep Saturday. Six of his 16 career home runs have come against New York, including a grand slam off CC Sabathia on June 22 for the first of his career.
Sabathia (3-3, 5.11 ERA) gets another shot Sunday after holding Myers hitless and beating the Rays on April 17, allowing one earned run in seven innings of a 10-2 victory.
He followed with six strong innings to beat Boston but stumbled Tuesday against Seattle. All four runs he allowed came in the fifth inning, and he was pulled an inning later in a 6-3 loss.
Desmond Jennings is 2 for his last 17 off Sabathia but has homered in three straight games. Evan Longoria is a .411 hitter against the left-hander with six homers, his most off any pitcher.
Tampa Bay counters with Erik Bedard (0-1, 5.52), who is coming off his best performance in a Rays uniform despite not getting a decision. He yielded a run and four hits in five innings of a 7-4 loss at Boston on Tuesday. The lefty is 0-9 in 15 starts since beating St. Louis on June 26.
Bedard allowed four runs in 3 2-3 innings of an 11-5 victory over the Yankees on April 18. He's 1-3 with a 5.01 ERA in the Bronx.
"Yeah, there's a little bit of a jet stream (there)," Bedard told the team's official website. "I think everybody knows that. You just try to keep the ball down."
Derek Jeter should return after getting Saturday off following his first career 0-for-7 performance in Friday's 10-5, 14-inning loss.
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