Those are strong signals the New York Yankees are only going to get better, and they've already got the best record in the majors.
|All-time HR leaders|
|1. Barry Bonds||762|
|2. Hank Aaron||755|
|3. Babe Ruth||714|
|4. Willie Mays||660|
|5. Ken Griffey Jr.||630|
|6. Sammy Sosa||609|
|7. Alex Rodriguez-y||595|
|8. Frank Robinson||586|
|9. Mark McGwire||583|
|10. Harmon Killebrew||573|
|11. Jim Thome-y||572|
Rodriguez was 6 for 46 at the plate entering the game as he worked his way back from hip flexor tendinitis that kept him out of four games from June 11 to June 15.
"The last four or five days, every day has been a little better," he said.
Without the option of being the designated hitter in these interleague league road games, Rodriguez's injury has been tested on the field as well as at the plate.
"Physically, he looks pretty good," manager Joe Girardi said. "I asked him how he was doing, and he said he's doing OK. Our plan is to play him tomorrow, and that would be four days in a row, then we have three days in L.A. and we get our DH back. So if we can get through this week, it should be OK."
Arizona starter Dan Haren retired 12 of his last 14 batters and left with his team trailing 3-2 after seven innings. New York blew the game open against Arizona's atrocious bullpen with a six-run eighth.
Pettitte (9-2) allowed two runs and seven hits in seven innings. He struck out seven, walked two and even got a rare base hit, considering he doesn't bat in AL games.
The 38-year-old left-hander said he appreciates these victories more now because he believes he has become a more complete pitcher at this stage of his career. Giving the Yankees another strong start a day after A.J. Burnett's continued struggles, Pettitte lowered his ERA for the season to 2.48.
"It's extremely important because he's given us distance and he's given us a lot of wins," Girardi said. "Andy has had so far a brilliant first two-and-a-half months for us."
Haren (7-6) gave up three runs and six hits in seven innings, striking out eight and walking one. He singled twice, the first driving in the Diamondbacks' only runs of the game. Haren improved his batting average to .452.
"I do all I can," Haren said. "Baseball is a team sport. It's not like golf or something like that. Every guy on the roster needs to contribute. I do my best at the plate. ... I try to put together the best at-bat I can and make the pitcher work and good things have happened because of that."
Rodriguez traced his improvement from the end of the team's weekend series against the Mets, then he had an RBI double Monday in the series-opening loss to Arizona.
"Going back to the weekend in New York, I felt like there were some good signs, although there weren't much results," he said. "Last night, my last two at-bats hitting the ball and driving the ball to right-center was a sign of good things to come."
His ninth home run of the season, and only his third since May 10, came with two outs in the first after Derek Jeter's leadoff single. Rodriguez's two-out single brought in the go-ahead run in the third.
Jeter has also been struggling, going into the game with six hits in 36 at-bats.
Haren, 4-0 in seven career starts against the Yankees before Tuesday night, left after throwing 109 pitches. He was lifted for a pinch-hitter despite his high batting average. Haren and manager A.J. Hinch were in agreement the right-hander should not have gone out for another inning.
"We can't continue to ride him too heavy," Hinch said. "It's easy to want to do that. It's easy to want to leave him in. We've taxed him pretty much every start and he really hasn't had a breather and I didn't feel good about it, so I'd made the decision early to pull him."
When Hinch turned it over to what has been, by far, the worst corps of relievers in the majors, the results were predictable.
Esmerling Vasquez faced five batters and gave up five runs without an out. Chad Qualls, recently deposed as closer, brought his 8.87 ERA to the mound and gave up Jorge Posada's sacrifice fly, an RBI single by Curtis Granderson and a two-run double by former Arizona State player Colin Curtis. It was the first big-league hit for Curtis, called up from Triple-A Scranton on Monday.
- Rodriguez needs eight home runs to become the seventh player in major league history to hit 600.
- Haren tied his career high for hits with 19, one shy of Micah Owings' franchise record.
- Cano got his 100th hit on Monday night, in his 274th at-at. Only three Yankees have reached 100 hits in fewer at-bats -- Dave Winfield in 1984, Paul O'Neill in 1994 and Jeter in 1999.
- The crowd of 45,776, third-largest at home for Arizona this season, was decidedly pro-Yankee.