Mark Teixeira homers as Yankees sweep Blue Jays
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The rolling thunderstorms struck at about 4 p.m. Wednesday in the sweltering Bronx. Following a 58-minute rain delay, a 5-1 homestand ended for the Yankees, who raked Ricky Romero for six runs in six innings for a 6-0 win and a three-game sweep of the Blue Jays.
Hiroki Kuroda (9-7) allowed four hits and no walks to rebound from two poor outings. Mark Teixeira drilled his 19th homer, a two-run shot into the visitors' bullpen in a four-run first, and Dewayne Wise, giving centerfielder Curtis Granderson a day off, drove in two with two hits. Nick Swisher and Andruw Jones had an RBI each before play was suspended after the top of the seventh.
Not a bad send-off as the Yankees (57-34) head west for four games in Oakland and three in Seattle.
"Depth is the most important thing," said Teixeira, who is hitting .326 with six homers and 19 RBIs in July. "If you rely on one or two guys to carry your team, you're not going to be able to score runs consistently. D-Wise had another great game and [shortstop Jayson] Nix [two hits after three Tuesday] is swinging the bat well. If you need to give a guy a day off or a guy gets banged up, you need that."
It was the eighth series sweep, one shy of last season, for the Yankees.
"Our guys set the tone early," Joe Girardi said. "[Derek Jeter's leadoff] double and Swish doing a good job; [Romero] throws a lot of balls in to righthanders and [Swisher] goes the opposite way, then Tex hits a home run and we tacked on a couple others . . . We've swung the bats really well recently; it's about as good as we've played."
That's an understatement: The Yankees, who have won nine of the last 11, have scored three or more runs in a club-record 42 consecutive games.
And that's just one of the streaks:
Robinson Cano's first-inning double extended his hitting streak to 21 games, the longest by a Yankee since Jeter hit safely in 20 straight in April and May 2007.
The Yankees have hit at least one home run in 14 straight games and have an MLB-best 145.
Kuroda's seven innings of blanks one-upped CC Sabathia's six shutout innings against the Jays Tuesday night.
"Our middle of the lineup has been pretty consistent," Swisher said, "but when the guys at the top and the bottom turn it over and you get great starting pitching, it's a lot of fun coming to the ballpark. I'm starting to expect that stuff every day now."
Teixeira's bomb, on a 2-and-2 fastball, was the killer stroke of the first inning and gave Kuroda a cushion.
"Just one of those hot streaks," said Teixeira, who's hitting .255 with 63 RBIs. "Sometimes the season feels like one long slump with a few hot streaks mixed in."
The start of the game was delayed 51 minutes because of lightning in the area, and that could have affected Romero, who has lost five straight starts, although the Jays have been shut out in the last three of them.
The weather didn't bother Kuroda, who struck out five, and the four early runs helped his confidence. "You feel better pitching out there when you have a little bit of a lead," catcher Russell Martin said.
The Yankees are doing that a lot right now as they head for California, where they have beaten the A's nine straight times. Oh, that's another streak on the line.