The power hasn’t been fully restored in Prince Fielder’s mighty swing, but a charge was put into it Friday on the one-year anniversary of his decision to undergo major neck surgery.
He marked the occasion with two home runs — including a three-run shot into the second deck at Yankee Stadium — and the Texas Rangers needed everything he gave them to open a three-game series at New York.
His first homer highlighted a seven-run third inning, and a seventh-inning solo blast helped the Rangers keep tacking on against a Yankees lineup they couldn’t put away.
Mitch Moreland also homered in the third, and Tommy Field had a critical two-run double in the eighth as the Rangers hung on for a 10-9 victory in a game they led 7-0.
But Fielder didn’t see any significance in his first two-homer game since April 5, 2013, or that it came one year after one of the most difficult decisions of his career. He was just playing baseball.
“I was just trying to get good pitches to hit and put good swings on them,” Fielder said. “My main goal is to get good pitches to hit. That’s the only way you can get good results. You’re only as good as the pitches you swing at.”
He connected on two sliders that were down the middle, the first off Michael Pineda and the second off left-hander Chasen Shreve. The second homer gave the Rangers an 8-4 lead, and Field delivered a double down the left-field line to make it 10-5 in the eighth.
The Yankees didn’t go away, collecting a three-run homer by pinch hitter Garrett Jones in the eighth to snap the bullpen’s scoreless streak at 13 2/3 innings and a Mark Teixeira homer off Ross Ohlendorf in the ninth to make it a one-run game.
Ohlendorf also walked Chase Headley with two outs in the ninth, but got Stephen Drew on a bouncer that deflected off his stomach and right to Field at second base.
The out gave the Rangers their third straight win and gave Ohlendorf his first career save.
“It’s exciting to get one and get one in a one-run game at Yankee Stadium, for the Rangers especially,” said Ohlendorf, a native Texan. “Being a starter most of the time, I hadn’t thought about saves all that much.”
Ohlendorf was the choice based on his early showing since being promoted from Triple A last weekend, but also because fellow right-hander Shawn Tolleson was not available after collecting saves Wednesday and Thursday at Boston.
It didn’t appear the Rangers would have to worry about closing down a game after twice taking leads of at least five runs.
Fielder’s blast to the second deck in right field was the biggest blow for the Rangers’ offense as they sent 10 batters to the plate in the third inning against Pineda, who struck out 16 in his previous start at Yankee Stadium.
Moreland followed two batters later with another second-deck shot, a solo homer to cap an inning that started with a Leonys Martin single, a Robinson Chirinos walk and a Pineda error as Field sacrificed.
Delino DeShields followed with a fielder’s choice to drive in a run, but another scored on an error by shortstop Didi Gregorius. Shin-Soo Choo followed with an RBI single ahead of Fielder’s homer on Pineda’s next pitch.
Lewis was cruising until a double by Alex Rodriguez to start the fourth. Lewis got Teixeira, but Choo lost a Brian McCann liner in the lights that allowed Rodriguez to score.
Lewis (4-2) hit Headley on an 0-2 pitch, and two batters later allowed a three-run homer to Gregorius to make it 7-4.
Another missed chance defensively by Elvis Andrus to start the seventh led to the fifth and final run charged to Lewis, who worked 6 2/3 innings.
“I felt like I didn’t throw the ball that bad [in the fourth],” Lewis said. “Some things happened.”
Neither offense stopped hitting, with Fielder adding on in the seventh and Field in the eighth after the Rangers loaded the bases with one out.
The Rangers needed every last one of those runs.
“It’s about scoring one more run than your opponent,” manager Jeff Banister said. “What a gutsy performance by all of our guys to come away with that victory with where we were at and the way that game seemed to be going late.”
Jeff Wilson, 817-390-7760