Matt Harrison (3-0) was the beneficiary of the solid defense, as the Texas lefty allowed seven hits, including a solo homer to Curtis Granderson, over eight innings. His ERA stands at 1.23 this season.
The six double plays hit into were not only the most for the Yankees over a nine-inning game, but the same number turned by Texas equaled the overall American League mark, one shy of most ever in the majors for a nine-inning contest.
“You want some ground balls, you want some action,” Rangers shortstop Elvis Andrus said. “Today was a pretty good game for the infield. I think the outfield was a little mad today.”
Ivan Nova (1-1) gave up four hits, five walks and five runs over 4 1/3 innings for the Yankees, who had won their previous two games.
“It has to come from different starters,” Yankees manager Joe Girardi said of getting his pitchers deeper into games. “You run out of innings. Your bullpen can only throw so many innings throughout the course of the season.”
Texas, which had lost by single runs at Detroit the previous two contests, had to hold on in the ninth. Pinch-hitter Eric Chavez singled up the middle to drive in Alex Rodriguez, who doubled earlier in the inning. Brett Gardner then pinch-ran and took second base before Jorge Posada walked. Russell Martin flied out to right field, giving Neftali Feliz his fifth save of the year.
Up 2-1, the Rangers padded their lead with three runs in the fifth, thanks in part to some shoddy pitching. Mitch Moreland walked, Julio Borbon was hit by a Nova offering and the runners advanced on a wild pitch. Ian Kinsler then hit an RBI groundout before Andrus walked. Michael Young’s single to left made it 4-1, and Nova exited in favor of David Robertson.
Another wild pitch moved Young into scoring position, and one out later Robertson’s ball in the dirt, the third wild pitch of the inning, expanded the difference to 5-1.
Granderson homered to right field in the eighth.
This was the first meeting between the teams since Texas defeated New York in six games in the 2010 American League Championship Series.
The Rangers went ahead in the second inning. Adrian Beltre doubled and Nelson Cruz singled before David Murphy was out on a double play, but that accounted for the first run.
Young broke the Rangers doubles record the following inning. Andrus reached via fielder’s choice for the second out, and Young then doubled off the wall in center to provide the 2-0 lead. The double was the 353rd in his career, moving Young alone past Ivan Rodriguez and into first place on the Rangers’ all-time list.
The Yankees cut the deficit in half in the bottom portion of the inning. Granderson’s fly ball to right field caromed off the heel of the glove of Cruz, resulting in an error. Granderson moved to third on Derek Jeter’s fly ball to center, and then scored on Nick Swisher’s base hit up the middle.
Earlier Friday, the Yankees placed starting pitcher Phil Hughes on the 15-day disabled list with a case of dead arm. Veteran Bartolo Colon will take Hughes’ spot in the rotation, while pitcher Lance Pendleton was recalled from Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre to fill Hughes’ roster spot. Pendleton then threw three perfect relief innings in his MLB debut, from the seventh through the ninth frames…The Rangers placed righty Colby Lewis on the major league paternity list because his wife Jenny gave birth to a girl on Wednesday. Texas also recalled left-handed pitcher Michael Kirkman from Triple-A Round Rock…Before the game, Major League Baseball commemorated the eighth annual Jackie Robinson Day and launched a new online campaign ‘IAM42.com’ with the Robinson family. All players and on-field personnel wore the number 42 in recognition of Robinson.