NEW YORK -- That anticipated race to 400 homers between Mark Teixeira and Carlos Beltran proved to be a blowout, but the Yankees first baseman finally cleared another outfield wall late on Sunday afternoon and hopes that will be a sign of things to come.
Teixeira slugged his fourth home run of the year in the eighth inning off the Twins' Tyler Duffey, accounting for New York's only run in a 7-1 loss. It was Teixeira's first homer since April 13 at Toronto, a span of 147 at-bats that represents the longest drought of his career.
"That was important for me, to show I can still do it," Teixeira said. "Obviously it's been a tough season for me. I feel like I'm taking good swings, and I got a good result on the last at-bat there."
Teixeira came into the season with 394 home runs, and Beltran trailed him by two at 392. While Teixeira is still looking up at the Mendoza line after Sunday's 1-for-3 performance, batting .176, Beltran has breezed by in the battle between the switch-hitters. Beltran hit No. 400 on May 15, and his team-leading 19 give him a career total of 411.
The Yankees would love for Teixeira to close that gap and swing the bat like he did last year, when he slugged 31 homers in an All-Star campaign that ended about six weeks early due to injury.
"I hope it gets him going, because he's really important to our lineup and we need him," Yankees manager Joe Girardi said.
Teixeira said his right knee is holding up well after he missed three weeks due to articular-cartilage damage. Defensively, he made a nice diving stop that robbed Max Kepler of a fourth-inning hit.
"It's pretty good. We can talk about it all year," Teixeira said of his balky knee. "I'm just going to have to deal with it. Right now we're managing it very well, and hopefully we'll continue to do that."
Sunday's loss dropped the Yankees back to .500 at 37-37. They have not been two games over the break-even mark since April 12, when they were 4-2.
"We're going to try to win tomorrow night's game and not worry about what's going to happen at the end of this month or the end of next month or later in the season," Teixeira said. "If we do that, and start playing better, then maybe we can make a run."
Bryan Hoch has covered the Yankees for MLB.com since 2007. Follow him on Twitter @bryanhoch, on Facebook and read his MLBlog, Bombers Beat. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.