Teixeira's big night sets stage for Martin's big hit

Teixeira's big night sets stage for Martin's big hit

Teixeira's big night sets stage for Martin's big hit
NEW YORK -- As owners of the best record in baseball, it's obvious that the Yankees do a lot of things well -- like hitting home runs, for instance. It's equally obvious, though sometimes masked by their record, what they don't do well -- such as struggling with runners in scoring position.

But when the Yankees hit the ball out of the park, the latter just really doesn't matter.

New York came up empty after back-to-back leadoff extra-base hits in both the sixth and seventh innings, but trailing by three runs in the bottom of the eighth, the third time proved to be the charm. Mark Teixeria hit a game-tying three-run home run and Russell Martin gave the Yankees the lead with an RBI single five batters later off of Kevin Jepsen, snapping what was an 0-for-8 start with runners in scoring position and propelling New York to a come-from-behind, 6-5 win over the Angels on Friday night.

"I feel a lot better now than I did before the game," said Martin, who has been mired in a career-worst slump that included an 0-for-30 rut and saw his average dip as low as .176.

"It's a good way to start the second half -- a 'W' and I'm starting to feel a little bit better about myself. It's never a bad thing."

Martin's RBI single was ultimately classified as the game-winning hit, but the catcher actually ended the game in the top of the ninth with his defense. Howie Kendrick, who had singled earlier in the frame, tried to advance when a pitch from Rafael Soriano got away from Martin, but the catcher recovered and made a strong throw to second for the game's final out.

"I always talk about how players want to feel like they're contributing, and he had a great night tonight," manager Joe Girardi said. "He threw three guys out. He had the game-winning hit. He had good at-bats. He did a good job with [Hiroki] Kuroda. He had a great night."

Teixeira's jack -- his 17th of the season and second of the night -- came off reliever Scott Downs, who came in to open the eighth after Angels starter C.J. Wilson held the Yankees to just two runs in seven innings. Teixeira finished the night with five RBIs for the third time this season -- he hit a two-run homer off Wilson in the bottom of the third -- all three of which have been multihomer games.

"It's all about the wins, it really is," Teixeira said. "I don't mind hitting two homers, but the win is the most important thing, because that's a really good team over there, C.J. Wilson's one of the best left-handers in baseball. Down three runs with their bullpen, not a lot of teams come back, and we did tonight."

Ahead 4-2 in the top of the eighth, Albert Pujols added to the Angels' lead with an RBI ground-rule double. Two batters later, Mark Trumbo -- who hit a three-run go-ahead blast in the top of the seventh -- sent a deep fly ball to right field, but Nick Swisher made a leaping catch at the wall to end the inning and keep the deficit at three runs.

"If he doesn't make that catch, we probably don't get back in that game," Teixeira said. "You can hit a three-run homer, you can't hit a five-run homer."

With his home run in the seventh, Trout extended his streak to five consecutive games against the Yankees with a home run.

"It's a tough one to stomach. It's just a credit to them," Trumbo said. "They're obviously a very potent lineup. In this ballpark, there's really no lead that's safe."

After struggling in his final start before the All-Star break, Kuroda settled for a no-decision after opening his second half in similar fashion. He allowed five runs and scattered eight hits to Los Angeles over 7 1/3 innings, including one walk.

"Especially when you have people on base, and you give up a home run like that [to Trumbo]. It's really frustrating," Kuroda said through an interpreter. "Other than that, I pitched really well, and I'd like to build on that.

"As long as you stay tough and patient, and you have to be resilient, because you have this great lineup and they'll probably back you up later in the game. I have to keep pitching tough."

In his first start at Yankee Stadium in April, also a Friday the 13th, Kuroda tossed eight scoreless innings against the Angels in his pinstripes debut. Friday, despite the circumstance of the calendar, he got a little bit lucky.

Adam Rosenbloom is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.