Series: Game 3 of 3

Texas won 2-1

Game 1: Friday, May 21
NY Yankees7Final
Game 2: Saturday, May 22
NY Yankees3Final
Game 3: Sunday, May 23
NY Yankees8Final

Yankees 8

(25-18, 12-11 away)

Rangers 3

(25-18, 16-9 home)

    2:05 PM ET, May 23, 2004

    Globe Life Park in Arlington, Arlington, Texas 

    123456789 R H E
    NYY 100303001 8 13 0
    TEX 020010000 3 7 2

    W: J. Vazquez (4-4)

    L: R. Dickey (4-4)

    Wilson swats HR, drives in three runs

    ARLINGTON, Texas (AP) -- Seven weeks into the season, Enrique Wilson finally has more hits than he had during spring training.

    Yes, his spring was that good. And his regular season has been that bad.

    Wilson showed signs Sunday that he's returning to his early March form, getting three hits, including a homer, and driving in three runs to help the Yankees beat the Texas Rangers 8-3. New York avoided a three-game sweep in Alex Rodriguez's first trip back to Arlington.

    Wilson went 3-for-5 in this game and 5-for-11 in the series. He also had his first two homers of the season and just missed another with a 400-foot out to the deepest part of the ballpark in his first at-bat Sunday.

    He pulled the ball his next time up for a two-run homer off R.A. Dickey (4-4), putting New York ahead 4-2 in the fourth inning. Wilson doubled in a run in the sixth to start a three-run rally that broke the game open, sending Javier Vazquez (4-4) to his first win since April 30.

    "I feel very good about myself right now," said Wilson, who credited his turnaround to better pitch selection and time in the batting cage. "I'm seeing the ball a lot better. I'm almost about where I was in spring training."

    To acquire A-Rod from Texas, the Yankees gave up Alfonso Soriano, their second baseman the last three years. Wilson won the opening day job by hitting an AL-best .463 this spring, going 18-for-39.

    His slow start to the real games allowed Miguel Cairo to see extended action. Once he began to struggle, manager Joe Torre went back to Wilson. He came into the series hitting just .177 and was in an 0-for-17 skid before hitting a home run Friday night. He leaves town batting .211 (19-for-90).

    Torre said his plan for second base is to go with whoever is playing better. While that's certainly Wilson, the Yankees' next game Tuesday is against a left-hander and Cairo is the better right-handed hitter. However, Torre said he might let Wilson try to keep his streak going.

    "They understand they're going to get their games in," Torre said. "I think we have a good situation."

    Kenny Lofton opened the game with a triple and scored on the play when shortstop Michael Young bounced a throw into the netting in front of the Yankees' dugout for an error.

    Vazquez gave up the lead with RBI singles to the Nos. 8 and 9 hitters with two outs in the second inning, but steadied after that. He allowed three runs and six hits in six innings with six strikeouts.

    "I'd forgotten how it feels to get a win," he said.

    Rodriguez went 2-for-4 with a single, double, two strikeouts and a walk. He was 5-for-13 in the series with a homer, two RBI and three runs, and was booed in every at-bat. He also extended his streak of consecutive games reaching base to 32, longest in the majors this season.

    "For the most part, I had a good series," said Rodriguez, who also enjoyed a Saturday night dinner at his favorite restaurant in Dallas. "It was fun, exciting. The fans were a heck of a lot of fun."

    He also was relieved that this was nothing like his first trip back to Seattle in 2001 after he left the Mariners for a record $252 million, 10-year contract.

    "I was with him in Seattle. Those were hatred boos," said Young, who has gone from Rodriguez's double-play partner at second base to his replacement at shortstop. "These were we're-annoyed-with-you boos."

    Rodriguez's return certainly helped sell tickets.

    With a crowd of 50,241 on Sunday, the Rangers drew 148,894 for the three-game series, topping their previous best -- the first interleague series against the Houston Astros in 2001 -- by more than 10,000. This turnout was the second-best for a regular-season game in team history, behind only this season's opener.

    The fans enjoyed it, too, as the Rangers took a home series from New York for the first time since 1996.

    Soriano went 3-for-13 with a homer in his first series against his former team. He also had a fielding error Sunday, his fourth of the season.

    Dickey allowed four runs and eight hits in five innings, keeping him winless in four starts since throwing 131 pitches in a win over Boston.

    Game notes

    Texas manager Buck Showalter turned 48 Sunday. The loss dropped him to 2-6 on his birthday. ... When Rangers RF Kevin Mench threw out Rodriguez at home to end the top of the first inning, he aggravated an injury on his left side. He left for a pinch-hitter in the second. Showalter said Mench might go on the disabled list. ... Lofton left in the bottom of the sixth with tightness in his left hamstring. He said he doesn't expect to miss any games.

    Copyright by STATS LLC and The Associated Press