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Teixeira ties a switch-hit homers record

NEW YORK -- Growing up near Baltimore, Mark Teixeira used to marvel at the switch-hitting exploits of Eddie Murray, passing through the turnstiles wondering which side of the plate his hero would homer from that night.

Now Teixeira has equaled the Hall of Famer in at least one category, homering from both sides of the plate for the 11th time in his career, helping lead the charge in a 12-4 victory over the Rangers on Wednesday at Yankee Stadium.

"It's pretty special," Teixeira said of the feat, which was also accomplished by Chili Davis. "Eddie Murray is the reason I'm a switch-hitter. My dad and I loved watching him play. It's just pretty neat to be a part of that group."

Each member of the Yankees' starting infield homered in the victory, producing five long balls in all.

Teixeira blasted his 20th and 21st homers of the season, hitting a two-run shot off left-hander Derek Holland in the first inning and adding a two-run blast in the fifth off right-hander Mark Lowe.

Eduardo Nunez homered on his 24th birthday and Ramiro Pena also cleared the outfield walls before Robinson Cano belatedly joined the party with a three-run homer off Neftali Feliz in the eighth inning.

"I don't know if I've ever been a part of a game where every infielder hit a home run," Yankees manager Joe Girardi said. "You would not necessarily expect it."

Outscoring Texas 24-8 through the first 18 innings of this series, the support went into the account behind right-hander Ivan Nova, who allowed four runs and seven hits in 5 2/3 innings to pick up his sixth win of the year.

"It wasn't too good, not too bad," Nova said. "I'll take this one and focus on the next one. We have a tremendous lineup; you've just got to go five or six innings. They'll score runs."

Nova's faith was rewarded, even though he stumbled early. A Josh Hamilton single and Michael Young's fielder's choice gave Texas a first-inning lead.

Ian Kinsler slugged his eighth homer, a third-inning solo shot, and Adrian Beltre added a sacrifice fly off Nova, who walked three and struck out two with a wild pitch, heeding advice to get away from his fastball and curveball.

"He was a little bit more of a two-pitch pitcher the first couple innings, and then he started going to his other stuff and started having more success," Girardi said.

Nova induced a huge double-play ball on Nelson Cruz to end the fifth, escaping a two-on, one-out jam, and Luis Ayala and Curtis Granderson bailed Nova out from more damage in the sixth.

Ayala gave up an Elvis Andrus single to center field, where Granderson fired a one-hop strike to Francisco Cervelli at the plate to get Yorvit Torrealba for the out.

"Hopefully, you just put it in the vicinity so Cervelli can make the play," Granderson said. "Everything ended up bang-bang."

In a flash, Cervelli had blocked home plate to the textbook definition, pumping his fist exuberantly after keeping Torrealba from scoring.

Cervelli still carries two screws in his right wrist from a home-plate collision in Spring Training 2008, but he said there is no time to think about much else other than getting low to absorb the hit.

"You've got to play baseball," Cervelli said. "Home plate is my house. You've got to take everything."

New York battered Holland for six runs and seven hits in five innings. Teixeira homered in the first inning to pick up the first two of his four RBIs, and Granderson knocked in a run with a second-inning single.

With Teixeira and Granderson, the Yankees now have two players with 20 or more home runs through 66 games for just the third time in franchise history.

That duo has the honor of joining the most revered couples in Yankees history: Babe Ruth and Lou Gehrig in 1927 and Mickey Mantle and Roger Maris in 1961, according to the Elias Sports Bureau.

"We're just really seeing the ball well, putting good swings," Teixeira said. "We go to deep counts when we need to, and take our walks when we need to. Really, it's being aggressive at the plate."

Filling in at shortstop in place of the injured Derek Jeter, Nunez slugged his second homer in the fourth inning, and Teixeira said the bench erupted in cheers of "It's your birthday!"

"I'm happy anyway, but to hit a home run and get a win, I'm so happy," Nunez said.

Andruw Jones and Cervelli logged RBI singles in the fifth, and Pena greeted Lowe in the sixth with his second Major League homer and first since Sept. 2009, a span of 166 at-bats.

"I got a good pitch to hit and thank God, I got it," Pena said. "It was a good day. When I hit it, I knew I hit that one good."

Teixeira later belted his second bomb of the night deep into the right-field bleachers, and Cano's 14th put the game out of reach. But the ones the Yankees really enjoyed belonged to the young left side of the infield.

"Me and Robbie, you almost expect that sometimes from us," Teixeira said. "But Nunez and Pena go deep like that, we're just so excited. It gets the bench really going. It really was a big boost for us today."

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