Yankees firing on all cylinders now

NEW YORK -- Now the New York Yankees will try to put one foot on the New York Mets' necks and the other on the gas pedal, with their season on the verge of taking off.

With Andy Pettitte, who has spearheaded this emerging run, on the mound, the Yanks will try to complete a Subway Series sweep Sunday afternoon.

Pettitte has already influenced Phil Hughes, who posted another quality start in the Yankees' 4-2 win over the Mets on Saturday. Pettitte has whispered in Hughes' ear and relayed to him what it was like with expectations riding on his left arm in the mid-1990s.

"I think Andy has been in Phil's shoes where there are high expectations for a young pitcher," Yankees manager Joe Girardi said.

Hughes is starting to prove people who believed he is only a No. 4 or 5 starter -- like yours truly -- wrong. Still just 25 years of age, he is on a solid run.

He is still giving up too many homers. But if he does that with no runners on base, like he did Saturday, it is not that big of a deal. He went 6 1/3 innings and allowed just two runs.

It was the sixth time in his past seven starts he allowed two runs or fewer.

Hughes is part of a starting crew that will turn the key if the Yankees are going to drive to a division title. In eight starts in June, the rotation is 6-1 with a 1.84 ERA.

"I love pitching," Girardi said.

Girardi is receiving it on both ends. Rafael Soriano -- yes, we're going to say it -- has been Mariano Rivera-like, going 9-for-9 in save chances. On Saturday, Soriano's supporting cast of Boone Logan, Cory Wade and Clay Rapada combined for five important outs.

The Yankees moved to a season-high eight games above .500, tied in the loss column with first-place Tampa Bay. The Yankees have one fewer win.

Their offense is one Al Davis would admire, because the hitters continually go deep. On Saturday, Mark Teixeira answered David Wright's go-ahead solo shot in the top of the sixth with a two-run job in the bottom of the inning.

The Yankees have played "Anything you can do, I can do better" the past two days.

Teixeira's go-ahead homer holds some significance. After his annual slow start, Teixeira has recycled his line about how at the end of the year, the back of his baseball card always has 30 and 100 on it. With 11 homers and 35 RBIs after Saturday's game, Teixeira looks as if he will be right again, as he appears improved at the plate after junking his subtle new approach of trying to use all fields.

Teixeira thinks the Yankees' hitters should relish their home run prowess and forget about switching anything up.

"We really shouldn't be changing the way we approach the game," said Teixeira, who is hitting .304 with five homers in his past 13 games.

For Teixeira, it is not as much about whether he gets his numbers as it is about when he gets them. Too often as a Yankee, Teixeira's homers have failed to come in the most important times.

Save for his American League Division Series Game 2-winning homer in 2009, Teixeira has basically been a nothing at the plate in the playoffs.

His Yankee Octobers have looked like his Aprils and Marches. He is an .075 hitter in 106 postseason at-bats as a Yankee. If he can make his hits count more, it won't matter that there are never going to be as many as when he hit .308 in his walk year of 2008.

On Saturday, Hughes didn't have his best stuff. He has now allowed a home run in each of his first 12 starts, moving within two of Bert Blyleven's all-time record, according to Elias. Still, he had enough to keep the Mets' bats down into the seventh.

"It is nice to keep it going," Hughes said.

Now the ball is in Pettitte's hands. The mentor gets a chance to show the pupil how to finish what his team has started.