NEW YORK -- Ryan Dempster stood at his locker and echoed the same line regardless of the question.
No, there isn't a major adjustment moving from the National League to the American League. No, there isn't more pressure now that he's in a pennant race. No, the jet stream out to right-center at new Yankee Stadium wasn't a factor.
It comes down to one thing, Dempster said: executing pitches. He didn't do that in the third inning Monday, giving up five runs as the Yankees rolled from there to an 8-2 victory over the Rangers.
"You've got to go out there and execute pitches," Dempster said. "It's a simple formula and I've got to do a better job of that."
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Dempster opened the game with two perfect innings, and the offense staked him to an early 2-0 lead. Nelson Cruz had a broken-bat RBI single in the first off Yankees rookie right-hander David Phelps, and David Murphy led off the second with a solo shot to right.
They appeared to have Phelps on the ropes in the third inning, too. Elvis Andrus led off with a single to right, and Adrian Beltre reached on an infield single. That brought up Cruz with runners at first and second with one out.
But Phelps caught Andrus off guard and picked him off second. It was the second pickoff of the night, as Ian Kinsler was caught off first base in the second inning.
"That's not a good feeling for sure, especially with Nelson coming up after a base hit in the first inning," Andrus said. "Too aggressive. I'm really aggressive all the time, but I've got to turn the page and be ready for today."
It might not have mattered in the end.
Dempster ran into trouble in the third. Russell Martin and Raul Ibanez led off with singles to right, and each of them advanced on a sacrifice bunt by Ichiro Suzuki.
Derek Jeter drew a walk to load the bases, and Nick Swisher deposited a 1-0 slider into the second-deck in right for a grand slam. The Yankees loaded the bases later in the inning, but scored only once on a sacrifice fly by Curtis Granderson.
It's the first time Dempster has allowed five runs in an inning this season, and the most since he gave up seven in the first inning against the Diamondbacks on April 28, 2011.
"I got in a situation where I had to make a pitch against Nick, and I didn't make it," Dempster said. "I made a mistake over the plate and he made me pay for it.... I've just got to get back to executing pitches better."
Dempster worked two scoreless innings in the fourth and fifth before giving up a solo homer to Eric Chavez to start the sixth. In the seventh, Dempster allowed a triple to Suzuki and an RBI double to Jeter, which ended his night. He was charged with eight runs on nine hits with two walks and four strikeouts over six innings.
The final line was similar to his Texas debut when he allowed eight runs on nine hits with three walks and six strikeouts over 42/3 innings against the Angels on Aug. 2. Dempster is 1-1 with an 8.31 ERA in three starts with the Rangers.
In 16 starts with the Cubs, he had a 2.25 ERA.
"Nope. I'm not concerned," manager Ron Washington said. "If he kept the ball down like he did in the first two innings, it might be a different story. But that's what they do. They take advantage of mistakes and they do it very well."
The Rangers never threatened after the Yankees' five-run third. Derek Lowe, signed by New York earlier in the day, scattered two hits over the final four innings to earn the save.
"It's a loss," Murphy said. "They got good pitching performances and they did what they do. They hit the ball out of the ballpark."
Drew Davison, 817-390-7760