CINCINNATI -- A lot had happened since the last time Jorge Posada hit a homer.
The catcher-turned-DH lost his spot as the Yankees' extra hitter. He was dropped to ninth in the order and took himself out of the lineup for one day, prompting a spat with the front office and an apology. He'd been reduced to pinch hitting and playing sporadically.
The only thing that hadn't changed: no homers.
Playing first base in the NL park, Posada ended the second-longest homer drought of his career on Wednesday, connecting on a two-run shot that sent New York to its fourth straight win, 4-2 over the Cincinnati Reds in the first game of a day-night doubleheader.
Posada's tiebreaking homer in the sixth off Mike Leake (6-4) ended his stretch of 126 at-bats without one. His last homer was April 23.
It's not like he was counting the days.
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"I don't know when's the last time I hit one, but I wasn't trying to hit one," Posada said. "They happen for me. I don't care when they do happen. I'm happy they are, but I'm not going out trying to hit a home run."
Good timing on this one.
New York moved a season-high 14 games over .500 at 43-29. The Yankees have matched their season high with four straight wins, and have 10 victories in their last 12 games.
Although Posada hasn't been hitting homers, he has gotten much better at the plate, recently putting together a nine-game hitting streak. He has raised his average from .165 to .227.
"Huge hit for him today," manager Joe Girardi said. "Love it! That ends up being the difference in the ballgame. You don't need to hit home runs to be productive."
Freddy Garcia (6-6) gave up two unearned runs in seven innings against Cincinnati's struggling offense.
The Reds fell to 1-7 against the AL. They dropped two of three over the weekend to Toronto, and now the first two against the Yankees. The main problem: few runs, which makes it tougher on the pitching staff.
"Yeah, it feels like it, but the offense will get back on track soon," Leake said. "I'm not worried about the offense. You've just got to keep battling, and eventually they'll score some runs for you."
Yankees third baseman Ramiro Pena committed three errors, including two in the fifth that gave the Reds their runs. Cincinnati has only seven earned runs in its last five games.
Garcia lost his first two interleague starts this season, but regained his touch against the slumping Reds. He allowed three hits and one walk in seven innings. Garcia is 22-10 in 39 career interleague starts.
The right-hander is 4-0 in four career starts against the Reds, all of them in Cincinnati and all of them for a different team. He played for the Mariners, the White Sox and the Phillies in the first three.
Mariano Rivera pitched the ninth for his 19th save in 22 tries. He has a record 66 career saves in interleague games, including 22 in a row since 2006.
Except for their rainout on Tuesday night that set up the doubleheader, the Yankees are enjoying their first visit to Cincinnati in eight years. They lead the majors in homers, but have cobbled most of their runs out of the simple stuff.
They got a pair of runs in the third on Brett Gardner's infield single, Curtis Granderson's hit-and-run single, Nick Swisher's RBI groundout and Robinson Cano's single. Cano has hit safely in the last 10 games.
The Reds needed help to get the runs back, and they got it from Pena, who was called up last week for his second stint with the Yankees this season.
Pena threw off target to first on Drew Stubbs' grounder -- the ball grazed the runner's left cheek -- for the first error. Stubbs made it to third on Edgar Renteria's single, then took off for home on Ryan Hanigan's grounder to third. Pena fielded it cleanly and had plenty of time to get Stubbs, but bounced his throw for another error.
Pena was filling in for Alex Rodriguez, who has a sore shoulder and got the game off.
New York finally did some slugging in the sixth. Cano singled and Posada hit the first pitch from Leake into the first row of seats in right field, near a fan wearing a Pete Rose 4,192 T-shirt.Notes
- Yankees SS Derek Jeter (strained calf) threw for the second straight day at New York's spring training complex in Tampa.
- New York INF Eric Chavez (broken left foot) could run the bases in the next couple days. He's taking batting practice and fielding in Tampa.
- Posada's longest homerless stretch was 140 at-bats in 2002-03, according to research by the Eiias Sports Bureau for the Yankees.
- The Reds activated RH reliever Sam LeCure off 15-day DL and optioned LH starter Travis Wood to Triple-A Louisville.