NEW YORK (AP) — Reduced to the role of mentor and cheerleader for at least a couple of weeks, Derek Jeter made his contribution in the Yankees’ dugout Tuesday night.
The injured captain called over Eduardo Nunez before the rookie went to bat with the bases loaded in the second inning and gave his replacement some advice.
“He told me to watch for fastball. I hit a fastball,” Nunez said of his RBI single that sparked a six-run second inning and propelled New York to a 12-4 victory over the Texas Rangers.
And what did Jeter say to the player who has been entrusted with his spot at shortstop after he scored in the second?
“He said, ‘I told you so,”‘ Nunez said with a smile.
Curtis Granderson homered and drove in four runs, and Robinson Cano and Nick Swisher also connected in the Yankees’ first game since Jeter was placed on the 15-day disabled list for the first time since 2003 because of a strained right calf.
Brett Gardner scored three of the four times he reached base, had an RBI single among three hits and stole his 100th base batting in Jeter’s leadoff spot. Alex Rodriguez hit a two-run double for an efficient offense that scored 12 runs on 14 hits, two walks and a hit batter.
Granderson singled in two runs and Mark Teixeira had a two-run double in the second when New York batted around and knocked out Alexi Ogando, his second horrible outing in the Bronx.
“It seemed like we put some good at-bats on him with two outs,” manager Joe Girardi said of Ogando. “He’s an outstanding pitcher. It was just our night.”
CC Sabathia (8-4) pitched seven effective innings in helping the Yankees (5-2) secure the season series against the team that beat them in the AL championship series last October with two games remaining.
Ogando (7-1) was trying to match Tommy Hunter’s club record for a starter of eight wins without a loss to begin a season, set in 2010. Mets rookie Dillon Gee is the only undefeated starter with at least seven wins remaining in the majors this year.
“He was all over the zone,” Rangers manager Ron Washington said. “He didn’t get a chance to use his breaking ball or his curveball, he kept falling behind.”
Instead, Ogando, a converted reliever, got just five outs in the shortest outing of his first season as a starter — he had not gone less than six innings in any of his 12 previous starts.
“It just seems like the worst two days have been here,” Ogando said through a translator.
Ogando didn’t fare much better in his start at Yankee Stadium on April 17, allowing five runs in 6 1-3 innings.
The right-hander has allowed 11 runs in eight innings against the Yankees and 14 runs in 75 innings when facing the rest of baseball.
Rodriguez led off the second with a single and, after an out, Jorge Posada doubled and Swisher walked to load the bases. Nunez lined a single to left for the first run.
Jeter gestured with his hand toward Nunez at first base and smiled from the dugout, where he’ll be watching until at least June 29. Injured in the fifth inning Monday night, Jeter remains six hits shy of 3,000.
“He can do some things,” Girardi said of Nunez. “Young players get in trouble when they try to replace as opposed to being the type of player you are. When he has played I haven’t seen that.”
Nunez went 2 for 4 to increase his average to .233 this season.
Francisco Cervelli, playing for Russell Martin — who has missed six of seven games with a stiff back — struck out. Gardner followed with a checked-swing liner down the left-field line for an RBI single. It was the first of nine runs the Yankees scored with two outs.
“I was kidding him it was a five-run hit,” Teixeira said of Gardner’s opposite field single.
Granderson hit his two-run single and Teixeira finished Ogando’s night with a double that scored two to make it 6-0.
Sabathia was perfect for the first three innings but the Rangers went 6 for 9 with four runs scored the second time through. He gave up eight hits and four runs overall. He struck out six without walking a batter.
Michael Young had a two-run single in the fourth. Craig Gentry and Elvis Andrus, back in the lineup after being pulled for a pinch-hitter Sunday for lackadaisical play, both had an RBI in the fifth.
Swisher homered in the third, Rodriguez hit a two-run double in the fourth, and Granderson and Cano connected in the sixth.
NOTES: The game was delayed 41 minutes at the start by rain. … Granderson has six homers in seven games against Texas this year. … The Rangers snapped a stretch of 33 innings without a walk when Nelson Cruz walked in the ninth.
(Copyright 2011 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)