NEW YORK -- Mark Teixeira was hitting .198 on May 8 with five homers and 15 RBI. Since Alex Rodriguez returned to the lineup that night, Teixeira has raised his average to .239, doubled his home run total and increased his RBI total to 29.
"Pitchers are just making a few more mistakes," Teixeira said. "It puts a lot of pressure on them when Alex is in the lineup and, you know, a pitcher is not going to want to get into deep counts and maybe walk me with a guy like A-Rod behind me."
Teixeira homered from both sides of the plate, combining with Rodriguez for back-to-back drives in a six-run first inning against ailing Glen Perkins, and the New York Yankees beat the Minnesota Twins 7-6 on a chilly Monday night to complete a four-game sweep.
After stringing together three straight walk-off wins for the first time since 1972, the Yankees overcame a 2-0 first-inning deficit and hung on to extend their winning streak to a season-high six. New York improved to 23-3 at home against the Twins during the regular season since the start of 2002.
"I can't wait to get out of here," Minnesota's Denard Span said. "Not just the stadium, but the whole city."
Andy Pettitte (4-1) won consecutive starts for the first time this year, allowing four runs and 12 hits in 6 2/3 innings, Jose 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.
"It's hard," Coke said. "I'm completely and totally gassed right now."
Span homered off Edwar Ramirez in the eighth and Coke faced Justin Morneau with a runner on. Morneau had four hits against Pettitte and had homered off Coke on a slider Saturday but struck out against him this time on fastballs away.
"As they start chipping away, you start thinking about, oh boy, here we go again. We're going to have another one of these nights," Yankees manager Joe Girardi said.
Coke was so overwhelmed he made a point of finding Rivera in the back of the clubhouse to tell him of his newfound appreciation for the closer's role.
"Hey, you're way better at that than me," Coke recalled telling him.
Cuddyer also homered for the Twins, who dropped to 4-12 on the road. They are 14-9 at home.
"We got beat here. We didn't play bad baseball here," manager Ron Gardenhire said.
There have been five or more homers in seven of the 17 games at the new Yankee Stadium and 63 homers in all, two shy of the record for most in the first 17 games at a major league ballpark, according to the Elias Sports Bureau. Forty of the homers have been hit to right field.
Coke threw 36 pitches -- two more than Perkins (1-3), who lasted just nine batters and got two outs. He allowed six runs and seven hits and is 0-2 in five starts since beating the Los Angeles Angels on April 19.
Minnesota said it will put him on the disabled list Tuesday with left elbow inflammation and purchase the contract of left-hander Sean Henn from Triple-A Rochester.
"When I straightened my arm, it just kind of tingles down through my fingers," Perkins said. "I did the strength test with the doc and he seemed to think it was in the nerves."
Knuckleballer R.A. Dickey, throwing more fastballs than usual because of a cracked fingernail, held off the Yankees for 4 1/3 scoreless innings.
Teixeira hit a three-run homer batting right-handed in the first inning and, after Minnesota closed to 6-4, had a solo homer hitting left-handed off Luis Ayala in the seventh. The drive into the second deck in right gave Teixeira eight hits and nine RBI in the series. He is batting .342 since Rodriguez's return.
"He's made a big difference," Teixeira said. "He's doing a great job taking his walks, and if he does get a pitch to hit, he's hammering it."
- There were 65 homers in the first 17 games at Hiram Bithorn Stadium in San Juan, Puerto Rico.
- At least one homer has been hit in every game this season at Yankee Stadium, Detroit's Comerica Park and Tampa Bay's Tropicana Field.
- Teixeira has 23 multihomer games, connecting from both sides seven times.
- Pittsburgh claimed RHP Steven Jackson off waivers from the Yankees.
- Twins 3B Joe Crede returned to the lineup after missing two games with a back spasm and achy hamstrings and went 0 for 4 with a walk.
- Minnesota was 3-for-13 with runners in scoring position, dropping to 4-for-38 in the series.