Persistent Rangers leave Bronx with a win

Persistent Rangers leave Bronx with a win

Persistent Rangers leave Bronx with a win
NEW YORK -- Rangers reliever Michael Kirkman knew the game hung in the balance. He was facing the same hitter who had ruined Derek Holland's brilliant performance just one inning before.

Kirkman didn't let it happen to him. With two outs, two on and the Rangers clinging to a one-run lead, Kirkman struck out Yankees outfielder Andruw Jones with a 1-2 slider. Then, in a rare display of emotion, Kirkman pumped his fist in exhilaration and skipped off the mound.

"Yes, definitely a big moment," Kirkman said. "To finish an inning like that, yeah, it has to make you feel good."

The Rangers had many big moments on a long Thursday afternoon and were ultimately able to feel good about themselves again. After three straight losses, Texas' hitters came alive and pounded their way to a 10-6 victory over the Yankees in the finale of a four-game series. The victory also snapped the Rangers' eight-game losing streak to the Yankees in the Bronx, dating to last year.

"After that last out, it was a big sigh of relief," outfielder David Murphy said. "It was a long day game after a long night game, with a rain delay. Obviously, it was not our best series, but all we could do is win today and go from there."

Murphy had one of the two biggest hits for the Rangers on the afternoon. After letting a 4-0 lead get away, Texas was trailing, 5-4, going into the seventh. But Murphy tied the game with an RBI double off left-handed reliever Boone Logan, and Craig Gentry later delivered a two-run single off Joba Chamberlain to put the Rangers ahead for good.

"That was huge for us -- that and the one Murph got off the lefty," Rangers manager Ron Washington said. "They kept coming back, but our guys kept grinding. We felt good all day."

The Rangers, after scoring a combined four runs on 14 hits in the first three games of the series, finished with 16 hits on Thursday. Each of the first six batters in a makeshift lineup had multiple hits, and the Rangers were 6-for-15 with runners in scoring position after going 1-for-11 in such situations over the first three games.

"It was a long day but a good win," second baseman Michael Young said. "It's good to get out of here with a win. I don't think we played that badly here. ... Today, it was just a lot of offense. We expect to win when we play. Most good teams feel that way. Obviously, we would have liked to have done better in the first three games, but we're glad to get out of here with a win today."

The Rangers jumped out to a first-inning lead on a two-run single by Adrian Beltre and added two more in the sixth off Yankees starter Ivan Nova. That 4-0 lead appeared to be more than enough for Holland. Aided by some brilliant defensive work by Beltre at third base, Holland took a one-hit shutout into the bottom of the sixth.

But the Yankees brought home two on run-scoring singles from Derek Jeter and Nick Swisher, and Jones tied it with a two-out, two-run home run. Holland's day ended when Casey McGehee hit a fly ball to right-center that right fielder Mike Olt dropped for a two-base error.

"I wasn't disappointed with anything except the pitch to Andruw Jones," Holland said. "That caught too much of the plate. Other than that, they were just making contact and balls were falling. It was just that one pitch to Jones; that's what cost me."

Olt's error also loomed big when Russell Martin lined a single to center off reliever Tanner Scheppers to give the Yankees a 5-4 lead. But the Rangers' offense did not shut down, scoring eight of its runs over the last four innings, including at least one run in each frame.

"We obviously had a never-say-die attitude today," Murphy said. "That's easier said than done, but we were obviously determined to keep putting runs on the board today."

The Rangers struck back quickly in the seventh against the Yankees' bullpen. Young led off with a hit to right off Logan, and Beltre singled with one out, putting runners on first and second. Murphy then lined a double down the right-field line to tie the game at 5.

Chamberlain took over and struck out Geovany Soto. Mitch Moreland was walked intentionally, and Gentry lined a single to center to drive home two runs to give the Rangers a 7-5 lead. Gentry's single was his first hit since July 29.

"It felt good," Gentry said. "It was a battle today. It was a good team win. We kept fighting back and showed the character of this team."

The Yankees got one back in the bottom of the seventh after the Rangers were unable to turn a double play on a potential inning-ending grounder. But Texas got out of the inning with the lead when Kirkman got Jones swinging for the third out.

"That was huge right there," Washington said. "You give that team a crack, they'll come through it. But he kept his poise, and it was a huge turn of events."

After the Rangers scored two more in the eighth, Mike Adams also got a big strikeout. He punched out Raul Ibanez with two on and two outs in the bottom of the inning. Joe Nathan finished it off in the ninth.

When it was over, Scheppers was awarded his first Major League victory. The right-hander retired only one of the three batters he faced, striking out Jayson Nix to end the sixth. But there were a lot of big moments throughout the afternoon, and that was just one.

"A win is a win," Scheppers said. "I'm just happy the offense did all that work."

T.R. Sullivan is a reporter for Read his blog, Postcards from Elysian Fields, and follow him on Twitter @Sullivan_Ranger. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.