Rangers avoid sweep as offense breaks out against Yankees

Posted Thursday, Aug. 16, 2012  comments  Print Reprints
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NEW YORK — It’s easy to read too much into one series, but a four-game set in mid-August between the top two teams in the American League certainly drew attention with three nationally televised games. And the Texas Rangers didn’t fare too well in the opening three games against the New York Yankees. They showed their flaws, from a lack of offensive execution to defensive lapses to inconsistent pitching. The Rangers, though, also showed their resiliency. They lost a four-run lead, but battled back for — and held on to — a 10-6 victory over the Yankees on Thursday afternoon, to avoid a sweep at Yankee Stadium. “Obviously it wasn’t our best series, but we did all we could today to win,” David Murphy said. “We had a never-say-die attitude, and it just seemed like we were very determined, regardless of being up or down, to put runs on the board. They did a great job coming back, but it was great to add on late in the game to where we were able to pull it out.” Through the first five innings, the Rangers were cruising behind Derek Holland, who had allowed only a single going to the sixth. He also had a 4-0 lead after the Rangers scored two runs in the first and two more in the top of the sixth. It could have been more, though. The Rangers loaded the bases in the third with no outs, but came away empty. That missed opportunity almost came back to haunt them when the Yankees rallied for the lead in the sixth. Derek Jeter and Nick Swisher had consecutive one-out RBI singles. After striking out Mark Teixeira, Holland hung a first-pitch slider in the zone and Andruw Jones roped it into the left-field seats to tie the game at 4. Holland should have gotten out of the inning in the next at-bat, as Casey McGehee lofted a fly ball to right-center. But Mike Olt, making his first big league start in right, dropped it for a two-base error. Holland was done after that, and the Yankees took a 5-4 lead when Russell Martin drove in McGehee with a single to center off Rangers reliever Tanner Scheppers. “The one pitch to Andruw caught too much of the plate and a couple of balls dropped in and that was it,” Holland said. “It’s nothing to beat myself up over.” The Rangers struck back quickly for three runs in the seventh. Murphy had a run-scoring double off left-hander Boone Logan that tied the game and put runners at second and third with one out. OnceAgain, it appeared the Rangers might blow another opportunity when Geovany Soto struck out. But Craig Gentry came through with a clutch two-out, two-run single off Joba Chamberlain. “He’s a good pitcher and I’m not trying to put too much pressure on myself there,” said Gentry, who was 2 for his past 21 going into the at-bat. “I just wanted to have a good at-bat.” Another unlikely player came up big for the Rangers in the bottom of the seventh, as the Yankees pulled to within 7-6. Reliever Michael Kirkman entered with no outs and a runner on first, but induced a groundout by Raul Ibanez. He then got Derek Jeter to chop one to shortstop for what should have been the second out, but shortstop Elvis Andrus misfired his throw to second. After issuing a walk, Kirkman found himself in a bases-loaded jam, but got out of it and kept the lead intact by getting Mark Teixeira on a run-scoring groundout and Jones on a strikeout. Texas cushioned its lead with two runs in the eighth, and one more in the ninth. “It was a good game and we did what we had to do to pull it out,” said Michael Young, who went 2 for 5 with two runs. “Good teams usually have a lot of heart, and [resiliency] is one of the things we do well.” Young and manager Ron Washington, though, downplayed any notion that this series might have carried more significance because it featured the top two AL teams by record at this point. “Who says that? Because the record says that? The only time you’re the best team is when the World Series is over,” Washington said. “Until then, you have to remain focused.… This team hasn’t accomplished anything yet.”

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