Rapid Reaction: Rangers 3, Yankees 1
July, 24, 2013
By Todd Wills | ESPNDallas.com
ARLINGTON, Texas -- Matt Garza dazzled in his Texas Rangers debut and new teammate A.J. Pierzynski drove in two runs in a 3-1 victory over the New York Yankees on Wednesday night.
The Rangers (56-45) remained within three games of division leader Oakland in the American League West.
Garza sparkles in debut: The Rangers got exactly what they wanted out of Garza in his debut after coming to Texas in a trade with the Chicago Cubs on Monday. Garza allowed an unearned run in the sixth inning, but that was it. The unearned run came on a two-base error by him. He allowed five hits, all to the top three hitters in the Yankees lineup. He had five strikeouts and no walks. Garza threw 95 pitches before coming out with one out in the top of the eighth. He has a six-game winning streak dating back to his final six starts with the Cubs.
Pierzynski breaks tie: Pierzynski gave the Rangers a 2-1 lead with his 10th home run, with two outs in the bottom of the sixth. Pierzynski fell behind 0-2 in the count to Yankees starter Andy Pettitte, then fouled off a fastball and took a slider before lofting another slider just over the right-field fence. Pierzynski made a fist pump as he rounded second base. The home run traveled 378 feet, according to ESPN Stats & Information. It's the ninth season of his career that Pierzynski has hit at least 10 home runs.
Cotts does work: Left-hander Neal Cotts continued his stellar work, mowing down four straight left-handed batters. He retired both batters he faced in the top of the eighth after relieving Garza, and then, staying on to get two more left-handers, Robinson Cano and Lyle Overbay, in the top of the ninth. Left-handed batters are 0-for-11 against Cotts in his past five games.
Nathan gets one-out save: Closer Joe Nathan, who blew his second save of the season on Tuesday night in a 5-4 loss, rebounded with a one-out save on Tuesday night, though it wasn't automatic. Nathan allowed a single to Vernon Wells before getting Eduardo Nunez, who tied the game against him Tuesday, to pop out to shortstop the end the game.
Murphy provides insurance: David Murphy, who entered the game as a defensive replacement in the top of the eighth, gave the Rangers a 3-1 lead in the bottom of the inning with his first home run since the All-Star break. It was Murphy's 11th home run of the season.
A.J. strikes first: Pierzynski also drove in the Rangers' first run -- and his first on the homestand -- with a two-out single to right field to score Ian Kinsler, who had started the inning with a single to left. It was the 26th run the Rangers have scored in the first inning, the lowest total in the major leagues. The Rangers are 16-2 when they score a first-inning run. They should try it more often.
Wasted seventh: The Rangers had a chance to add to a 2-1 lead in the bottom of the seventh when Geovany Soto walked and Craig Gentry singled to start the inning. But as has become their specialty, the Rangers came away empty-handed, this time with the top of the lineup failing. Kinsler popped up to second base on a 3-1 pitch. Elvis Andrus made the second out on a soft line drive to right field. After Nelson Cruz walked to load the bases, Adrian Beltre lined out to center field to waste another scoring chance.
Up next: The Rangers try to win the four-game series from New York when left-hander Derek Holland (8-5, 3.10 ERA) goes up against Yankees right-hander Hiroki Kuroda (9-6, 2.65) at 1:05 p.m. Thursday afternoon on Fox Sports Southwest, MLB Network and ESPN Dallas 103.3 FM.