It's quite simple to pinpoint reasons for the New York Yankees ' recent struggles - their lineup is failing to score runs and the pitching staff is having a difficult time preventing them.
Getting Andy Pettitte back could help solve one of those problems.
The 40-year-old comes off the disabled list to face the visiting Cleveland Indians as the Yankees look to avoid an eighth loss in nine games.
New York (31-25) is hitting .217 during its rough stretch and had only two hits in a rain-shortened 3-0 loss to Boston on Sunday that dropped it to 1-4 on its eight-game homestand.
Pitching has been an issue as well, with the staff compiling a 5.05 ERA over the last eight games, and the Yankees hope Pettitte (4-3, 3.83 ERA) can provide a spark. He'll be making his first start since May 16, when he gave up two runs in 4 2-3 innings of a 3-2 loss to Seattle before leaving with a tight left trapezius muscle. He was placed on the disabled list shortly after.
"I think they were being pretty cautious with me as far as the DL, and it was probably good," Pettitte told the team's official website. "I was pretty locked up back there.
"I'm feeling good (now), and I'm looking forward to getting back out there. I just want to take my turn, get out there and do this grind with the guys."
Pettitte was solid the last time he faced the Indians, giving up one run in seven innings of a 14-1 victory April 9. The left-hander is 3-0 with a 1.84 ERA over his last five starts against Cleveland, which will counter with Justin Masterson as he seeks his first road win versus the Yankees.
Masterson (8-3, 3.07) bounced back from a loss to Boston on May 24 by giving up one run and striking out seven in six innings of Wednesday's 5-2 win over Cincinnati. He's 3-1 with a 1.93 ERA in his last four starts after posting a 5.91 ERA over his previous five."First of all, you have to have (good) stuff to (get out of jams), but he competes so well," manager Terry Francona said.
Masterson's current hot stretch began May 13 when he struck out nine in a four-hitter to beat the Yankees 1-0. The right-hander is 4-2 with a 2.08 ERA in seven career starts versus New York, but 0-2 with a 4.34 ERA in three in the Bronx.
The Indians (30-26) haven't fared very well there in recent years, dropping eight of the last nine at Yankee Stadium. They'll be looking to avoid a sixth straight road loss overall after concluding a 3-2 homestand with an 11-3 loss to Tampa Bay on Sunday.
Asdrubal Cabrera , hitting .158 in his last 10 versus the Yankees, likely will be back in the lineup after getting Sunday off.
|May 30, 2013||Ryan Raburn||Day-to-Day||Left game - lower right leg cramp|
|May 27, 2013||Chris Perez||15-Day DL||Right shoulder soreness|
|May 26, 2013||Chris Perez||Day-to-Day||Left game - Right shoulder discomfort|
|May 01, 2013||Vinnie Pestano||15-Day DL||Right elbow tendinitis|
|May 01, 2013||Vinnie Pestano||15-Day DL||Right elbow soreness|
|April 30, 2013||Nick Swisher||Day-to-Day||Sore left shoulder|
|New York Yankees|
|June 01, 2013||Chris Stewart||Day-to-Day||Left game - dehydration|
|May 25, 2013||Curtis Granderson||15-Day DL||Broken left pinkie finger|
|May 24, 2013||Curtis Granderson||Day-to-Day||Left game - Broken left pinkie finger|
|May 24, 2013||David Phelps||Day-to-Day||Left game - Right arm injury|
|May 17, 2013||Andy Pettitte||15-Day DL||Strained left trapezius muscle|
|May 16, 2013||Andy Pettitte||Day-to-Day||Left game - tight left trapezius|
NEW YORK (AP) -- Mark Teixeira raised his fist as he rounded first base after his ball landed in the cap of a young fan standing in the front row beyond the right field wall.
That grand slam was big - not only for his recovery from a wrist injury but for his slumping squad's confidence.
Teixeira hit his first homer of the season, Brett Gardner had a tiebreaking single in the sixth inning and the New York Yankees beat the Cleveland Indians 7-4 Monday night to spoil Nick Swisher 's first game back in the Bronx.
"We needed that," Teixeira said. "I know it's going to take a few weeks to get back in the rhythm of playing every day and seeing big league pitching every day, but this is a good first step."
Andy Pettitte lasted only 4 2-3 innings in a wild return from the disabled list - his 500th career start. Shawn Kelly (3-0) and three other relievers held the Indians scoreless the rest of the way to help New York win for the second time in nine games. This was the first time they scored more than four runs in that stretch.
Yankees designated hitter Travis Hafner , wearing Swisher's old No. 33, homered against his former team in the seventh off Justin Masterson (8-4), who matched a season high by allowing seven runs.
Cleveland shortstop Asdrubal Cabrera had to be helped off the field after straining his right quadriceps running out a grounder in a three-run fifth.
"He got it pretty good," Indians manager Terry Francona said. "So, were going to send him back to Cleveland tomorrow to get scanned and, most likely, this is headed toward the DL. But we'll let him get scanned so we know exactly what's going on there."
Kelly pitched 1 1-3 innings, Joba Chamberlain and David Robertson one each of hitless relief, and Mariano Rivera retired Swisher on a fly to left with a runner on second for his 20th save in 21 chances.
"These guys have done a great job. They've been lock down all season," Teixeira said. "We're not in this position if it were not for the bullpen."
After a brief thunderstorm canceled batting practice, the Indians put a runner in scoring position in the first when Mike Aviles singled and went to second on Pettitte's wild pitch. With two outs, Swisher walked up to the plate to a sustained ovation.
He stepped out of the batter's box for a moment with that familiar, toothy grin on his face. A moment later, the switch-hitter settled in from the right side to face a pitcher he called a certain Hall of Famer.
But Swisher wouldn't step out when plate umpire Manny Gonzalez called strike three to end the first inning. Swisher dropped his bat and held his spot in the box while discussing the call with Gonzalez.
The popular outfielder was upset last October when he was booed by the "Bleacher Creatures" during a punchless playoffs. Before the game Monday, though, he insisted he was "living in the now, bro," and wasn't worried about his reception.
When Swisher took his position at first base in the bottom of the first, the "Bleacher Creatures" showed him all was forgiven. They chanted his name - a tradition normally reserved for Yankees only. Swisher turned and saluted the crew, just as he did with New York from 2009-12, although usually from right field.
In a jab at their former teammate, the Yankees encouraged Lyle Overbay , making the first outfield start of his 13-year career in right field, to turn and give the Swisher salute.
"The fellow teammates talked me into doing that," Overbay said with a laugh. "They forced me to."
Swisher gave the Indians the lead in the third when he hit a grounder to third base with runners on second and third. David Adams fielded the ball and tried to tag Aviles, who was advancing to third. Aviles was called out but Michael Bourn scored from third.
Swisher scored on Carlos Santana 's two-run double in the fifth after walking during a stretch in which Pettitte threw 10 straight balls and the second of two wild pitches.
Overbay got his first outfield putout to end a bases-loaded threat in the fifth, catching Yan Gomes ' shallow popup on the run.
Santana's double chased Pettitte in his first outing since going to the DL on May 17 with a strained muscle in his upper back. Pettitte gave up seven hits and four runs and was left stuck on 249 career wins. He walked three and struck out three, and couldn't protect a three-run lead.
"It's frustrating cause we finally get some runs on the board and then you give the lead back to them," Pettitte said. "I felt good early. I felt like maybe I ran out of gas a little bit."
Teixeira gave him that cushion with his eighth career slam in the third off Masterson. They were Teixeira's first RBIs since he was activated from the disabled list Friday. He missed the first two months of the season with a wrist injury sustained in early March.
Masterson had pitched a marvelous four-hitter against New York on May 13 and was 4-2 with a 2.08 ERA against the Yankees - but still hasn't beaten them in the Bronx. He was lifted after allowing Hafner's one-out homer in the seventh.
"Three hanging pitches is kinda the story in the end," Masterson said. "Teixeira, I was trying to get one down away. ... With Haf, trying to get it down and in and it was up and away, almost over his head and he hits it out."
In all, Masterson allowed nine hits and seven runs in 6 1-3 innings. He struck out five and walked three.
NOTES: The Yankees released OF Ben Francisco . ... Drew Stubbs snapped an 0-for-17 skid with a double in the fifth. ... The Indians were playing the first of nine straight games on the road against the Yankees, Detroit and Texas. ... Yankees RHP David Phelps (3-3) faces LHP Scott Kazmir (3-2) on Tuesday.