BALTIMORE -- The Yankees have come to accept Mark Teixeira's slow starts as par for the course, but the slumping switch-hitter delivered a big blow at a most opportune time.
Teixeira blasted a two-run homer in the seventh inning to put his club ahead and the Yankees fought through a rash of injuries to make it hold up, posting an 8-5 victory over the Orioles on Monday at Camden Yards.
"Obviously, I haven't been getting the results I want," Teixeira said. "I've just been battling, and tonight was one of those nights where I got to see some results. It was a big win for us here."
Rookie David Phelps (1-1) logged his first Major League victory by recording three outs, having entered in the sixth inning ahead of Teixeira's deciding blast off losing pitcher Luis Ayala (1-1), but the win may have come at a heavy cost for the Yankees.
Rafael Soriano picked up his second save in place of David Robertson, who is unavailable with a left ribcage injury. Starter Ivan Nova was also forced to leave in the sixth with a sprain and bruise of his right ankle, and though X-rays were negative, Nova's next start is in jeopardy.
"It feels really bad right now," Nova said. "It's hurting a little bit. Tomorrow will be better. ... I don't want to miss any of my starts. I hope I can feel better and pitch next time."
Additionally, reliever Clay Rapada had to be helped into the visitors' clubhouse, as he was overwhelmed by a viral infection. Raul Ibanez left the game after being drilled on the right elbow by a Dana Eveland pitch in the ninth inning, leading manager Joe Girardi to remark that his team "barely" got through the evening.
"As I've said before, it gives an opportunity to shine," Girardi said. "Maybe guys' roles have to increase a little bit, and we've asked them to do that."
Teixeira heard boos as he dug in for his plate appearance against Ayala in the seventh. They were probably from Orioles fans -- the Maryland product hasn't been very popular in these parts since snubbing Baltimore as a free agent before the 2009 season -- but lately he has been hearing his share of Bronx cheers as well.
Teixeira started the long road back with his line-drive blast over the scoreboard in right field, highlighting a contest that also saw Curtis Granderson hit his team-leading 12th homer as New York handed Jason Hammel his roughest outing of the year.
"Yesterday I was the goat; today you get to be the hero," Teixeira said. "That's baseball. That's why you play every night. You're going to be the goat a lot more than you're going to be the hero.
"That's a very good team over there. Hammel's a very good pitcher, so we have some positive things to take away from tonight."
The Yankees got to Hammel for five runs (four earned) in five innings. Nick Swisher slugged a two-run double in the third, and after Granderson gave New York a briefly held lead in the fifth, Ibanez delivered a hard-hit ball with the bases loaded in the sixth that ate up first baseman Chris Davis for an error as two runs scored.
"It's frustrating any time you make mistakes, especially ones you can really capitalize on," Davis said.
The outburst was tempered, however, by the injury to Nova, who turned his ankle and limped off the field after fielding a Wilson Betemit grounder.
Even before the injury, the right-hander hadn't been particularly effective in an effort that saw him allow five runs and seven hits in 5 1/3 innings.
"I didn't pitch really good today," Nova said. "I wasn't in command of a couple of my pitches and I made a couple of mistakes."
Nick Markakis mashed a third-inning single off Nova's right foot, which accounted for the bruise, but the right-hander said the sprain felt much worse.
J.J. Hardy's two-run homer was the big blow for Baltimore off Nova, while Xavier Avery logged his first Major League hits -- including a run-scoring triple -- and Hardy drove in three runs.
Adam Jones also belted an RBI double in a two-run Orioles first inning facing Nova, who allowed three walks and struck out four in a 92-pitch outing.
"I threw a couple of good pitches," Nova said. "They don't swing and they don't call a strike. It was a couple of mistakes, like I say. Sometimes I'm behind in the count and get hurt."
Girardi said that he wasn't planning on holding back Phelps from making another relief appearance, even though there is a possibility of an extended injury to Nova.
As the clubhouse doors opened in front of the manager, he sighed, saying that his team is beginning to look like a "M*A*S*H unit," and the remark seemed appropriate. Yet as bleak as the night may have seemed, Girardi was optimistic his bruised team can find ways to continue winning games.
"Guys are going to support each other," Girardi said. "It's what good teams do. They find a way to get things done."