The Yankees scored five times in the fifth against Martin Perez, and CC Sabathia held the Rangers to one hit over six innings as New York won 7-2 on Sunday afternoon at Yankee Stadium.
The Yankees took 3 of 4 in the series and won four of the seven in the season series.
Perez allowed seven runs on 11 hits, including two home runs, over five-plus innings. He allowed two singles to start the sixth before getting the hook from manager Jeff Banister.
“I just threw a couple of pitches and got hit,” said Perez, who dropped to 2-5. “Can’t do anything about ground balls. I just need to get the ball down. When I get the ball down, I do good. In the four innings, I was down and everything was good. As soon as I started leaving the ball up, that’s when they started hitting.”
Sabathia walked three and struck out three. The only hit he allowed was a three-foot, infield single in the second inning to Joey Gallo.
The Rangers had the bases loaded in the eighth but Jonathan Holder, who replaced Sonny Gray after lead-off singles from Elvis Andrus and Adrian Beltre, struck out Isiah Kiner-Falefa to get out of the jam and hold the five-run lead.
Four thoughts from the four-game series in the Bronx:
1. Yankee Stadium — Pitching in Yankee Stadium, especially for the first time, can be intimidating. Rangers’ rookie Ariel Jurado, who took the loss on Thursday, may have struggled but it wasn’t because of the aura of Yankee Stadium.
“This place is different … yes, it is,” Banister said. “It’s pretty raucous. The lower bowl is not quite as loud as it used to be. But it’s still Yankee Stadium. It’s still the Yankees. It’s the 27 World championships. It’s the names who played here before. Whether they played in the old stadium or played in this stadium, it’s still the pinstripes. It’s still New York.”
But Banister didn’t think any of that bothered Jurado, who gave up four home runs in five innings.
“The thing I loved about last night was I watched a young kid who I never thought at one time was fazed about any of that,” he said.
Jurado, who is likely to start Thursday’s series opener against the Angels, genuinely seemed unfazed by his first start in the building. He insisted the home runs were simply the result of a few pitches being left up in the zone.
2. Intensity check — If you’re one of those who likes to accuse players on a losing team of not playing hard, listen up. First of all, just as a general blanket statement, 99.9 percent of the time those accusations are unfounded, unsubstantiated, and typically fired off by angry and uniformed fans. Take for example, the last-place Rangers. Every move the players make on the field is still broadcast live to the world and recorded and replayed on social media. Now, more than ever, a sign of anything less than full effort would go viral and blow up in a player’s face. Not to mention the trouble he’d be in with his manager and veteran players. Banister was asked about whether the Rangers’ current stature eased up the pressure or intensity for his players. You probably have a good idea what he said, but here it is anyway:
“There’s not a single guy who goes out there saying we’re not in it so we’re not going to let anything bother us,” he said. “These guys fight for their major league lives. Especially the young guys and mid-level guys and the guys who don’t have long-term contracts, those guys fight to stay relevant in this league.”
Plus, he said, when the Rangers are playing teams in the playoff hunt, the game’s importance is in some ways important for Texas players, too.
“I don’t think it would be any different if we were fighting for a playoff spot. Would we like to be in that spot, yes, because that’s a little added growth for everyone,” Banister said. “We’re coming off playing three out of four series against teams in the playoff hunt, so it’s still playoff baseball.”
3. Double D’s return — Delino DeShields was back in the lineup for the first time since Aug. 2 and went 1 for 4 with a strikeout. DeShields, who has struggled at the plate since mid-May (he’s hitting .182 with a .295 OBP since May 16), said he needs to simplify his approach at the plate to get back to playing his game.
“Just go out and have fun, do what I do. I know I can play. I know I can hit, I know I can play defense,” he said. “I know I can do these things. I just need to go out there and simplify it and just do it.”
Before being putting on the seven-day concussion list on Aug. 4, he as optioned to Triple-A Round Rock for four days at the end of July as part of an attempt by the club to let him reset himself at the plate. It might’ve worked.
“Initially, I didn’t think I needed to be unplugged,” he said. “Mentally, I’m good. I’m confident. I’ve never strayed away from that.”
4. This week and beyond — Texas opens a six-game, seven-day homestand against the Diamondbacks on Monday Globe Life Park. After a two-game set against Arizona, the Angels come to Arlington a four-game series beginning Thursday. The Rangers start a six-game, seven-day road trip to the Bay Area with three against Oakland and three against San Francisco on Aug. 20.