Let’s picture this scenario. Mark Teixeirawas hitting .198 on May 8 with five homers and 15 RBIs. Since Alex Rodriguez returned to the lineup that night, Teixeira has raised his average to .239, doubled his home run total and increased his RBIs to 29.

He has been hitting .342 ever since. This is the kind of offensive production the Yankees have been missing since April 6.

Last night in a series sweep of the Twins, both Tex and A-Rod connected back-to-back. Tex hit a 3-run homer and A-Rod hit a solo shot to give the Yankees a 4-2 lead they would not relinquish.

Tex also had a solo shot in the 7th inning to give the Yankees the cushion they would later need in the ninth inning, perserving their victory 7-6.

Andy Pettitte started the game poorly but got his focus and zoomed through into the 7th inning where he got two outs before Joe Girardi felt he had done enough and brough in Jose Veras. Pettitte (4-1) won consecutive starts for the first time this year, allowing four runs and 12 hits in 6 2/3 innings, Veras escaped a bases-loaded jam in the seventh when Carlos Gomez flied out and Phil Coke got four outs for his first career save, finishing as Mariano Rivera was given a night off.

Coke’s last frame was a bit troubling as I watched it on television. For this, I’ll refer to the play-by-play box:

Minnesota – Top of 9th SCORE
Phil Coke pitching for New York MIN NYY
J Crede walked. 5 7
M Tolbert ran for J Crede. 5 7
M Tolbert to second on wild pitch by P Coke. 5 7
J Kubel grounded out to first, M Tolbert to third. 5 7
M Cuddyer grounded out to second, M Tolbert scored. 6 7
C Gomez walked. 6 7
M Redmond hit for N Punto. 6 7
M Redmond grounded out to second. 6 7
6 Runs, 13 Hits, 0 Errors

Coke allowed two walks, a wild pitch, and three groundouts. It was so bad that Brett Tomko got up to warm up. That should not have happened. After the game, Coke went to Mariano Rivera and told him “Hey, you’re way better than me.” No, duh.

With the victory tonight, Pettitte earned his 219th career victory and leads the Yanks in victories, 4-1.

On the offensive side, every player except Nick Swisher had a hit, and five of the ten in the lineup had at least two hits. Swisher went 0-4, but at least this time he didn’t strike-out. Francisco Cervelli went 2-2, and had a sacrifice bunt. He’s really impressing everyone with his maturity behind the plate and his hitting. I mentioned last week that it will cool off as scouting reports get to him, but enjoy it while it lasts, Cerv!

The Yankees are 4.5 games behind the Jays and only one game behind Boston as the Jays and Red Sox face off today for a three-game series. The Yankees could use this opportunity to continue to beat on the Orioles as they come to the Stadium for the first time. CC Sabathia takes the mound tonight for his third start against the O’s. Here’s to seeing a performance worthy of May 8!