In six games against the New York Yankees this season, the Texas Rangers have hit 12 home runs.
Trouble is, the Yankees have 21 homers against Rangers’ pitching, including two decisive drives in Saturday’s rainy afternoon.
Miguel Andujar’s two-run shot off of reliever Chris Martin propelled New York to a 5-3 win at Yankee Stadium.
Texas, which hit four homers in Friday’s win, did not homer against the Yankees for the first time this season.
““It wasn’t a smart pitch,” Martin said of his first pitch to Andujar with two outs in the seventh. It was a fastball that stayed up in the zone. “I knew he was going to ambush me. If I got the pitch down in the zone, there would have been a different result. But I got it up and you saw what happened.”
The Rangers’ pitching staff can relate. The Yankees lead the majors with 190 home runs and are on pace to eclipse the major league record of 264 homers by the 1997 Mariners. The next-closest team is Boston with 163 homers. New York has hit two or more homers in a season-high six consecutive games and has 15 homers in the stretch.
Giancarlo Stanton’s team-leading 29th homer was part of a two-run first inning against Drew Hutchison rebounded to hold the Yankees to three runs on five hits and four walks in 5 1/3 innings.
“You’re cognizant of what the other guys are doing but you’re still trying to execute your pitches,” said Hutchison, who made his second start for Texas. “There are some situations where you won’t give in. At other times you pick your spots to challenge behind in the count and that’s what happen in the first [inning] today.”
Shin-Soo Choo led off with a double and scored on Elvis Anrus’ single to right to cut the deficit in half in the third. The Rangers tied it at 3-3 with a two-out rally in the seventh. Adrian Beltre walked with the bases loaded to score Choo and Yankees’ reliever Dellin Betances was drawn into a balk by Rougned Odor’s extended lead at third base, allowing the tying run to score.
But Andujar was sitting on a pitch to drive against Martin in the bottom of the inning.
“I wasn’t comfortable with the pitch,” Martin said. “That’s on me. I had other things I should have went with. But if the ball is down, it’s a ground ball to second base instead of two runs. He’s looking for a fastball up in the zone. I put it on a tee and he hit it out.”
In the ninth, Texas had the bases loaded with two outs but Aroldis Chapman struck out Jurickson Profar to end the game. Profar had three of the Rangers’ 13 strikeouts. Texas’ 1,135 strikeouts are the most in the majors.
“We’ve been in that situation before against Chapman,” Rangers manager Jeff Banister said. “We were one base hit from tying that game up. I like how our guys battled at the end against a premiere pitcher in the major leagues.”
Martin was pitching on consecutive days for the first time since returning from the disabled list on July 31. Other right-handed relievers were unavailable, including Eddie Butler and Cory Gearrin, Banister said.
“This is still a guy we have great confidence in,” he said. “They have some good hitters over there and they didn’t miss a couple of times.
You’ve got to give [Andujar] credit for staying on it and driving it out the ballpark.”