ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. » Slumping Alex Rodriguez and Jorge Posada’s return to the lineup helped the New York Yankees end a long slide.
Rodriguez homered twice, Posada had two hits and the Yankees stopped a six-game losing streak with a 6-2 victory over the Tampa Bay Rays yesterday.
"We needed a win," Yankees manager Joe Girardi said. "It is a big win for us. I don’t want to say must-win, but as close as you can get to a must-win in the month of May."
With Yankees managing general partner Hank Steinbrenner in attendance, New York ended its longest skid since dropping seven in a row from April 20-27, 2007.
"I think if we would have lost, we probably would have taken the bus all the way to Baltimore (for tonight’s game)," New York left fielder Brett Gardner joked. "A big win for us. Biggest win of the year."
Posada doubled and singled while batting seventh as the designated hitter. It was his first start since he pulled himself out of the lineup Saturday soon after he was set to bat ninth.
"To me, it was the place to put him today," Girardi said before the game. "There’s a lot of things that I look at and I just thought it was the place to put him."
Girardi would not commit to Posada, who is hitless against left-handed pitching this season, being the everyday DH.
Posada was roundly booed before his first at-bat in the second, when he grounded out. The Yankees fans in attendance cheered in the fifth after he singled.
"It feels good to be back in the lineup and be able to contribute," Posada said. "To be able to be a big part of a big win. (It’s great) to be able put everything away, behind you and go out there and play ball. It’s one of those things that you’re happy to be back in the lineup and it was a good feeling."
Rodriguez has 621 career home runs. He recorded his first multihomer game this season and 59th overall.
"They felt great," Rodriguez said. "It felt good off the bat. One was a changeup and then one was a fastball."
It was just his second multihit game since April 23 — he had hit .171 (14 for 82) with one homer and six RBIs since then.
"My struggles have been really unacceptable, but hopefully today was the start of good things to come," Rodriguez said.