(Sports Network) - If the Rangers were looking for some confidence with a possible playoff matchup with the Yankees on the horizon, they may have gotten some in Friday's opener of a three-game series.
One day after homering its way to a third straight victory, Texas will hope to extend New York starter A.J. Burnett's recent struggles Saturday night in Arlington.
The American League-East leading Yankees had won four of five over the Rangers this year heading into Friday's opener, perhaps giving them an advantage if they should meet the AL West front runners in the postseason. However, Texas showed it can play with New York after pounding out a 6-5 victory in 13 innings after five hours and 12 minutes of game time.
Nelson Cruz hit the tying home run off Joba Chamberlain in the eighth inning, then made his club a winner with a 13th-inning long ball off Chad Gaudin.
Texas used a club-record 11 pitchers to extend its winning streak that has followed a five-game slide, with Scott Feldman taking the victory.
"A team effort," said Texas manager Ron Washington, whose club leads second- place Oakland by 7 1/2 games. "Thank God we were in September and we had the people to keep the game in hand. A great team effort. Those guys battled, and they certainly deserved it."
Alex Rodriguez had a two-run double, while Marcus Thames and Francisco Cervelli produced RBI singles for the Yankees, who have lost four of five and saw their edge over the second-place Rays fall to 1 1/2 games.
Though New York has won all three meetings with Texas at home this year, it has now lost two of three in Arlington.
"They've got a great lineup from top to bottom, and they can beat you in a lot of ways," Chamberlain said. "They did it with the long ball today."
Though Texas got shortstop Elvis Andrus back after a five-game absence due to right hamstring tightness, outfielder Josh Hamilton missed his sixth consecutive contest due to a bruised rib cage.
Burnett would rather not see Hamilton tonight given his current slump. The Yankees starter is just 1-5 over his last seven starts with a 6.91 earned run average.
After picking up a victory versus Oakland on Sept. 1 with six innings of three-run ball, the right-hander was battered for four runs on seven hits and four walks over seven innings of a loss to Baltimore on Monday.
"It was a good start but I was 0-for-2 in shut down innings. ... I wasn't able to shut them down after we scored," said Burnett, who set a career high with his 13th loss of the season.
Burnett, who is 10-13 with a 5.15 ERA this year, beat the Rangers at home on April 17 with seven scoreless innings, then did not factor into the decision of an Aug. 10 start against them after giving up three runs over seven innings.
The Rangers' Tommy Hunter will aim to maintain his perfect 2010 home record try to get back on track tonight and after having a three-start winning streak end on Monday in Toronto.
Hunter struggled keeping the ball in the park, as three of the seven hits he allowed were homers. The 24-year-old righty gave up seven runs over seven innings, falling to 12-3 with a 3.99 ERA.
Hunter, who is 7-0 at home, has faced the Yankees just once in his career, allowing five runs over 4 1/3 innings in a loss in August of 2008.