The Rangers lead the Major Leagues in runs scored, and they started today’s game with a Major League-leading .276 team batting average. Against this Yankees pitching staff, Texas has scored four runs and hit .199 in the past three games.
“Amazing,” Russell Martin said. “You have to make pitches against these guys. They’ve got a tremendous lineup. There’s really no weak spot in that lineup. We just keep making pitches, and we’re making plays on defense.”
Tonight it was Freddy Garcia who did the bulk of the work. In a typically understated outing, Garcia allowed two runs on four hits through 6.2 innings. Josh Hamilton homered twice, but both were solo shots and Garcia got out of his biggest jam with a bases-loaded double play.
Since filling Andy Pettitte’s spot in the rotation, Garcia has gone 5-3 with a 3.69 ERA. He’s pitched at least five innings in each of those nine starts, and he’s won his past three.
“When you see the other guys pitch, you’re thinking you’ve got to go out there and try to do the same,” Garcia said. “I’m really happy and I’m glad I got another opportunity to be in the rotation. I tried to pitch good and tried to help the team some way.”
A win tomorrow afternoon would give the Yankees a stunning four-game sweep, a bold statement against this Rangers team that, just three days ago, had the best record in the American League. Now it’s the Yankees who lead the league by two and a half games, with a chance to extend that lead in tomorrow’s series finale.
• Robinson Cano skipped tonight’s game because of a stiff neck, but the problem isn’t considered serious. “We tried to see if we could get him ready to play,” Joe Girardi said. “Hopefully he’ll be ready to play tomorrow. If not we’ll give him one more day, and he’s day-by-day.”
• At this point, Cano’s not the best hitter on the team anyway. Recently, the Yankees best hitter has been Eric Chavez, who reached base in all four plate appearances tonight. He went 3-for-3 with a walk and an RBI. He’s hitting .514 with 10 runs, two doubles, five home runs and 11 RBI in his past 11 games since July 30. “My swing feels good, that’s for sure,” Chavez said. “I was tinkering with it. I found something I was real comfortable with in Detroit. I’m seeing the ball good. I’m swinging at strikes, which definitely helps too. I’m not going to be this hot the rest of the season, that’s for sure, so I just enjoy it while I can.”
• Chavez has more than one hit in his past six games, which is a career-long streak. Chavez is tied with three other players for the second-longest such streak in the majors this season behind Albert Pujols who had a seven-game streak in June. It’s the longest multi-hit streak for a Yankee since Derek Jeter had a six-game streak last season.
• Chavez has the longest RBI streak in the Majors according to Elias. He’s driven in a run in five straight game, his longest such stretch since 2004.
• Giving Chavez a bit of a run for his money is Nick Swisher who’s had at least one RBI in his past four games totaling nine RBI in that stretch. That’s his longest streak of RBI games since early July of last season. In his past nine games Swisher is hitting .333 with nine runs, four doubles, two homers and 11 RBI with five multi-hit games.
• Yankees third basemen starting in place of Alex Rodriguez are hitting .408 with seven homers.
• Rafael Soriano’s scoreless ninth gave him 29 saves for the season. He has a 1.31 ERA in his past 37 appearances since May 14. Tonight, his ninth inning started with a huge strikeout against Josh Hamilton, who led off the inning having already homered twice. “It’s not really what you want, one-run game with him coming up,” Girardi said. “Soriano did a tremendous job on him.”
• How are the Yankees pitching Hamilton? “The approach against him is treat him like he’s 0-2 from the get-go,” Martin said. “You try and make pitches. He’s super aggressive.”
• Hamilton’s first home run came on a split. “Which never happens,” Martin said. Hamilton’s second homer came on a slider. “We were trying something, a slider trying to go in off the plate, and he just put a good swing on it,” Martin said.
• Final word goes to Garcia: “I was feeling really good from the beginning. For the first time this year, I got the best split. Not to Hamilton, but to the other guys. Especially against this team, you’ve got to bring your A game. I was able to do that and make my pitch when I need it.”
• See you all tomorrow. Thanks for sticking around through the rain delay.
Associated Press photos