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By Rich Mancuso
BRONX, NEW YORK, July 14- Mark Teixeira said the four-day hiatus this week for the all-Star break was what he may have needed, and the New York Yankees know the rest did him well. He hit two home runs Friday evening in the Bronx that enabled New York to open the second half of the season with a come from behind 6-5 win over the Los Angeles Angels.
Teixeira hit a two-run homer in the eighth inning to left field and catcher Russell Martin fighting out of a slump, hit a two-out single that overcame the Angels 5-2 lead.
“I had a good batting practice today and the extra energy,” commented Teixeira who recorded his 36th career multi-home run game, now with 17 on the season. He also drove in five runs for the third time.
Teixeira commented, “It’s a new start. The first half really doesn’t mean anything.” In essence the first half did mean something as the Yankees opened the second half with a seven- game lead over the Baltimore Orioles in the American League east.
The Yankees won their second straight and fifth in their last six games. The win, first of three games with the Angels, was the start of a six-game home stand that will continue with Toronto.
“Sure the break helped him physically,” said Yankees manager Joe Girardi about Teixeira. “New York, at 53-33 went a season high 20-games over .500 with the best record in baseball.
Prior to the second home run by Teixeira, the Angels’ Mark Trumbo hit his team leading 23rd home run giving them a 4-2 lead. It was the 15th home run this year by Trumbo that has tied a game or given the Angels the lead, and his fifth straight game against the Yankees with a home run.
“We set the table for him and he got a big hit at the time and just missed another one,” said Angels’ manager Mike Scioscia. Nick Swisher robbed Trumbo of another home run when he leaped and got the out, a ball that looked like it was clearing the outfield wall in right, in the Angels eighth inning.
C.J Wilson pitched seven solid innings until Scott Downs (1-1) imploded for the Angels in an inning that started with a Derek Jeter double and a walk to Curtis Granderson.
Hiroki Kuroda did not figure in the decision for the Yankees after throwing six innings and giving up two home runs. Chad Qualls (1-0) got his first win for New York and Rafael Soriano recorded his 21st save in 22 chances.
Martin, hoping for a better second half got it off to a good start. He drove in the game winning run in the eighth inning and also nailed two Angels on the base paths.
His throw to Jeter at second, with two outs in the ninth, nailed Howie Kendrick, the tying run to end the game.
“Three guys out, the game winning hit,” said Girardi who added the game by Martin was important for him. Martin ended a, 0-for-30 slump last Saturday at Boston before the break.
Freddy Garcia (3-2) gets the start for New York Saturday afternoon.
e-mail Rich Mancuso: Ring786@aol.com