Teixeira, Gardner pace Yanks in win over Tribe
First baseman's grand slam, center fielder's two-run single lead way
NEW YORK -- On a night when Andy Pettitte struggled in his return from the disabled list, recently healthy Mark Teixeira took a giant step in putting his own DL stint behind him.
Playing in just his fourth game this season, Teixeira blasted his eighth career grand slam -- and first home run since Oct. 1, 2012 -- and the Yankees later piled on against Indians starter Justin Masterson en route to a 7-4 series-opening victory at Yankee Stadium.
In a rare on-field display of emotion, Teixeira pumped his fist as he rounded first base after watching his third-inning, bases-clearing blast just narrowly clear the right-field wall.
"With what he's went through this year, the injury he had was probably a little bit scary," Yankees manager Joe Girardi said. "To be out there playing after having to sit down for two months, you could tell how excited he was. It was probably a really long two months for him watching us play. It's great to have him back."
Masterson, who tossed a four-hit shutout against the Yankees on May 13, wasn't nearly as sharp this time around. Along with Teixeira's grand slam, center fielder Brett Gardner tagged Masterson for what turned out to be the decisive two-run single in the sixth inning, and designated hitter Travis Hafner -- who turned 36 years old on Monday -- ended the right-hander's night one inning later with a solo homer to right field.
Though it was Hafner's blast that ultimately chased Masterson, Teixeira's third-inning slam put the right-hander on the ropes early.
After the Yankees had loaded the bases with no outs to start the third, second baseman Robinson Cano hit a hard ground ball to former Yankee Nick Swisher at first base. Swisher, playing in his first game at Yankee Stadium as a member of the Indians, alertly fired home to cut down the runner at the plate and preserve the Indians' 1-0 lead. One pitch later, Teixeira crushed a hanging slider to clear the bases.
"It's a lot of fun," Gardner said. "[Teixeira] just came back the other day, and for him to step up in that situation and put up a four-spot just like that is pretty exciting."
In all, the Yankees jumped on Masterson for seven runs on nine hits and drew three walks over his 6 1/3 innings of work.
"You wanted to make sure you didn't let Masterson get in too much of a groove, because he's one of those guys who can go out there and dominate," Teixeira said. "So [the grand slam] was a big home run for us."
Though Teixeira's slam staked the Bronx Bombers to an early 4-1 lead, the Indians later rallied to tie the game against Pettitte, who didn't fare any better than Masterson in his return from the DL.
Pitching for the first time since leaving his May 16 start with a tight left trapezius muscle, Pettitte lasted just 4 2/3 innings, while allowing four runs on seven hits and three walks. He had allowed only one run through the first four frames, but ran into trouble and couldn't survive the fifth while admittedly battling fatigue.
"I feel good about the team winning, putting some runs up on the board," said Pettitte, who reported no lingering injury concerns following the outing. "As far as me, personally, it's frustrating because we finally put some runs on the board and then you give the lead [away]. I'm never going to be happy about that."
Cleveland started the fifth with back-to-back hits off the veteran southpaw then scored its second run of the night on an unusual sacrifice fly to Cano. With Gardner struggling to see the ball coming in from center, Cano drifted back onto the outfield grass to make the play, allowing Indians right fielder Drew Stubbs to tag and score from third base.
Tribe shortstop Asdrubal Cabrera followed with a groundout for the second out -- and subsequently left the game with a strained right quad -- but Pettitte couldn't finish off the frame. He issued back-to-back walks to load the bases before designated hitter Carlos Santana lined a ground-rule double down the left-field line to tie the game and end Pettitte's night.
"I thought we actually did a pretty good job against him. That's one of the last guys you want to give the lead, just because of the way he does pitch, and being a veteran," Indians manager Terry Francona said. "He can expand the zone. He can add and subtract. He can cut it. I thought we did a really good job of getting back into the game."
Reliever Shawn Kelley took over for Pettitte and promptly walked the first hitter he faced to again load the bases before inducing an inning-ending flyout from catcher Yan Gomes. Kelley went on to pitch 1 1/3 hitless innings, setting the stage for the Yankees' decisive rally and his third victory of the year.
Joba Chamberlain and David Robertson each tallied scoreless innings to follow Kelley, while Mariano Rivera retired the Indians in the ninth for his 20th save of the year.
"The bullpen's been the bullpen," catcher Austin Romine said. "Those are guys we can rely on. It's not just one or two guys; it's all of them. They come in, they put the fire out when they need to, they throw strikes and they get people out."
While the bullpen performance may have been nothing new for the 2013 Yankees, the lift provided by Teixeira -- both offensively and emotionally -- on Monday night was certainly a welcomed treat for a team that had lost seven of its last eight games entering the series opener.
"We needed this win," Teixeira said. "We've had a rough enough streak the last week and a half, two weeks, as it is, so we needed this one tonight. So that grand slam was just good for me and good for the team."