Mark Teixeira pumped his fist as he rounded first base.
Nothing like a delivering a big hit when your team is struggling after missing the first two months of the season.
Teixeira, playing in just his fourth game of the year, drilled a third-inning grand slam that just got over the short porch in right field, and the Yankees went on to beat the Cleveland Indians 7-4 on Monday night at the Stadium.
“We needed this win,” said Teixeira, who connected for his first home run since Oct. 1. “We’ve had a rough enough streak the last week and a half, two weeks, as it is. So we needed this one tonight, and that grand slam was good for me and good for the team.”
It was Teixeira’s eighth career grand slam and the first by a Yankee this season. The Bombers had lost seven of their last eight games coming in.
Teixeira jumped all over a 2-2 pitch from Justin Masterson with one out in the third to stake the Yankees to a 4-1 lead.
“I think for our team and what he went through this year, the [wrist] injury he had was probably a little bit scary, and to be out there playing after having to sit down for two months, you could tell how excited he is,” manager Joe Girardi said. “It was probably a really long two months for him watching us play and it’s great to have him back.”
Teixeira hopes the long ball can serve as a springboard moving forward.
“You want to have positive outcomes early on. I know it’s going to take me a few weeks to get back into the rhythm of playing everyday and seeing big-league pitching every day,” Teixeira said. “But like I said, this is a good first step.”
As for how his wrist feels?
“So far, so good,” Teixeira said.
Other notes from Monday:
• Andy Pettitte, pitching for the first time since being activated from the 15-day disabled list, couldn’t hold a 4-1 lead and will have to wait for victory No. 250.
The veteran left-hander gave up four runs on seven hits in 4⅔ innings, but picked up a no-decision. He surrendered three of those runs in the fifth inning when he ran out of gas.
“I felt good,” said Pettitte, who had been out with a shoulder injury. “Personally for me, not happy with the final results but definitely fired up that the club was able to get a win.”
• Lyle Overbay's first-career major league start in the outfield went just fine. Thrust into action in right due to injuries, he handled the only fly ball he saw in the fifth inning.
“I survived,” Overbay said.
Girardi said he would not hesitate to use Overbay out there again.
Overbay was hoping he’d get his first chance to make a play much sooner.
“I wanted to get it over with,” he said.
It was the first time Overbay had played any other position than first base in his career (1,198 starts).
• Travis Hafner, who turned 36 Monday, hit his first homer since May 20 in the seventh inning and snapped a 1-for-22 skid.
According to ESPN Stats & Information, Hafner is the fourth Yankee to homer on his birthday at age 36-plus since 1920; Lou Piniella (1980), Rick Cerone (1990) and Tim Raines (1996) are the others.
• The Yankees’ bullpen delivered 4⅓ scoreless innings in relief of Pettitte. Mariano Rivera allowed the only hit but converted his 20th save in 21 opportunities.
• Nick Swisher went 0-for-4 in his return to the Bronx.
• Ben Francisco was released prior to the game. ... Girardi said both Chris Stewart (dehydration) and Kevin Youkilis (day off) are healthy. ... Girardi inserted Jayson Nix at third in the ninth for defensive purposes.