ARLINGTON, Texas (AP) — The New York Yankees got a bigger dose of Yu Darvish this time.
That was fine for Brett Gardner and Derek Jeter, but the rest of the Yankees hitters struggled against the Texas ace in their third loss in a row, 4-2 on Monday night.
“The guy knows how to pitch,” Yankees manager Joe Girardi said. “He changes speed on his breaking ball. Good slider.”
Gardner homered twice among his three hits, and Jeter also had three hits to pass Carl Yastrzemski for seventh on the career list, but the rest of the lineup was 3 for 22 against Darvish, who struck out eight in seven innings.
Five days after losing a rain-shortened game in New York, Darvish (10-6) threw 80 of his 108 pitches for strikes. The last was when Brian McCann swung and missed to end the seventh with Gardner and Jeter both on base again.
Darvish could only smile after Gardner homered off of him for the third time in a week, his second solo shot of this game for a 2-0 lead in the fifth. But Darvish got really emotional after McCann struck out two innings later, shouting out and pumping his fist several times on the way back to the Rangers dugout.
“I’m just glad they didn’t tie the game,” Darvish said through his interpreter about his rare emphatic response. “It was late in the game, and it was a close game, and it got close to a win, so I think I just showed emotions because of that.”
J.P. Arencibia had a tiebreaking two-run single in the fifth, when the Rangers scored all of their runs with five consecutive batters reaching base with two outs.
David Phelps (5-5) lost for the first time in nine starts, allowing four runs and eight hits over six innings. The right-hander, like Darvish, was credited with a complete game last Wednesday in the 2-1 Yankees victory that didn’t resume after rain in the bottom of the fifth inning.
Gardner’s at-bat in the fifth started with him taking three consecutive curveballs in the mid-60s, the first two of them strikes. Darvish smiled when Gardner homered on a 2-2 pitch, an 85-mph slider left over the plate that just cleared the center-field wall for his first career multihomer game.
Gardner had also homered in the third, after also going deep off Darvish last week. The Yankees leadoff hitter has little explanation for his success against the Japanese ace.
“I’m not sure. I try to get good at-bats. Small sample size,” Gardner said. “It’s hard to have confidence in the batter’s box when he’s on the mound.”
Yankees: First baseman Mark Teixeira played for the first time in eight games when he had a pinch-hit single in the eighth inning, then was lifted for a pinch runner. Teixeira took groundballs and batting practice on the field with hopes of being back in the starting lineup Tuesday. Teixeira said the back spasms that have bothered him are gone. “I feel better now than I’ve felt in over a month,” he said. “That’s definitely a good sign.”
Rangers: RHP Nick Tepesch, who left Saturday’s start because of a sore left knee, will have to throw a bullpen session before the Rangers determine if he will start Friday night at Cleveland. “We still want to see how he does,” manager Ron Washington said.
Yankees: Brandon McCarthy makes his fourth start for the Yankees since being acquired from Arizona on July 6. The 6-foot-7 right-hander, who pitched for Texas from 2007-09, is 2-0 with a 1.45 ERA for New York, and is 4-0 with a 1.78 ERA his last five starts overall.
Rangers: Rookie right-hander Nick Martinez (1-6) makes his second consecutive start against the Yankees since coming off the disabled list. He threw 5 1-3 scoreless innings last Tuesday, a game the Rangers lost in 14 innings.
JETER PASSES YAZ: Jeter now has 3,420th career hit, one more than Yastrzemski. Next on the list is Honus Wagner at 3,430. “It’s tough to enjoy when you lose the game,” Jeter said. “I’m pretty sure when this season is over and done with, I’ll look back and get a chance to realize how special it was.”