Maybe the road wasn’t the problem, after all.
The Yankees returned to the Bronx on the heels of a dreadful road trip, hoping a day off and some home cooking would help them end their latest skid. But the Rangers blitzed Michael Pineda during a seven-run third inning, then barely held on for a 10-9 win to open the three-game series at the Stadium.
The last time Pineda started in the Bronx, he fanned 16 batters on a memorable Mother’s Day afternoon. He was knocked around last week in Kansas City, but the big righthander was hoping a return to the Stadium would get him back on track.
For a couple innings, it appeared that would be the case. But the seven-run third helped Colby Lewis and the Rangers take control, handing the Yankees their eighth loss in the past nine games.
Prince Fielder homered twice and had four RBI for the Rangers, one of five Texas players to drive in a run in the victory.
The Yankees got a big shot from an unlikely source as Didi Gregorius hit his first home run with the team, a three-run shot. Garrett Jones added a pinch-hit, three-run homer in the eighth, but it was too little, too late as former Yankee Ross Ohlendorf earned his first career save despite allowing a solo homer by Mark Teixeira.
Alex Rodriguez tied Babe Ruth for fourth place on the all-time RBI list with a seventh-inning single, though it wasn’t enough to get the Yankees in the win column.
Pineda and Lewis traded zeroes over the first two innings, each allowing one hit.
Leonys Martin opened the third with single and Pineda walked Robinson Chirinos, setting the Rangers up for a rally. Thomas Field tried to bunt the runners over, but Pineda fielded the ball and looked to third base to see if he could get the lead runner. He didn’t have a play, so he turned and threw to first – only the throw was wild, pulling Teixeira off the bag as the Rangers loaded the bases on the error.
Delino DeShields followed with a grounder to shortstop that Gregorius booted as two runs scored on the play, bringing the boo-birds out for the young shortstop.
Shin-Soo Choo singled to put runners at first and third, setting up Fielder’s three-run blast to right field that put the Rangers ahead, 6-0.
Mitch Moreland added a solo shot with one out, capping the seven-run frame. Pineda had allowed only three home runs over his first 53.2 innings, making the two homers in a three-batter stretch even more surprising.
The Yankees cut into the lead in the fourth, getting on the board with doubles by Rodriguez and Brian McCann. Gregorius’ three-run homer – which seemed to stun the Stadium fans as much as the Rangers – pulled the Yankees within three runs, but Lewis retired the side in order in the fifth and sixth, restoring order for Texas.
Pineda pitched three scoreless frames after his brutal third, keeping the Rangers from lengthening the lead. Fielder added an insurance run in the seventh, drilling a solo homer off Chasen Shreve.
A-Rod trimmed the lead back to three with his RBI single in the seventh, pulling him even with Ruth on the all-time list at 1,992.
A-Rod is now one RBI behind Lou Gehrig (1,993) for third place on the all-time list and the most in American League history. Barry Bonds (1,996) and Hank Aaron (2,297) are the other players ahead of A-Rod on the RBI list, which only dates back to 1920 when the RBI became an official statistic.
Texas tacked on two more runs in the eighth on Field’s bases-loaded double against David Carpenter, which extended the lead to 10-5.
Those proved to be crucial as Jones crushed a pinch-hit, three-run homer off Tanner Scheppers in the eighth, cutting the Texas lead to two runs.
Brett Gardner drew a two-out walk to bring the tying run to the plate, but Scheppers got Carlos Beltran to fly out to end the threat.
Teixeira pulled the Yankees within a run in the ninth, blasting his 13th homer of the season, but Ohlendorf closed out the win.
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