NEW YORK (AP) – C.J. Wilson did his job, taming those booming Yankees bats. Too bad for him, it was a tough day for the Texas timber.
Wilson struck out 10 while throwing a career-high 129 pitches, then left and the Rangers lost their season-worst fifth in a row, 3-2 to New York in 12 innings Thursday.
In a rematch of last year’s AL championship series, the Yankees took all three games in the Bronx and became the first team to sweep Texas this season. New York won by identical 12-4 scores to open this series before squeaking by on Brett Gardner’s RBI single.
“One aspect of our game may be lagging on a given day. That’s why you’ve seen us struggle lately,” Wilson said. “If we score four runs, we give up 10. If we don’t score enough, then we pitch well.”
Wilson allowed two runs, seven hits and three walks in eight innings.
“I like to think that over the years I’ve earned a certain level of respect from my manager,” he said. “My pitch count was high. He came out and said, ‘How are you feeling?’ and I said, ‘I’ve got ’em.’ Every answer I gave was, ‘I’ve got ’em, I’m going to strike them out.’
“He went like, ‘You’re throwing a lot of pitches.’ And I said, ‘I’m a horse,”‘ Wilson said. “I’m doing everything I can do to give us innings. I had a couple extra pitches left in the tank still, but I was gassed when I came out.”
Gardner’s one-out hit off Michael Kirkman (1-1) ended an afternoon that began with baseball’s latest feel-good story.
Needing a starter for their banged-up staff, the Yankees reached into the grab bag and plucked out 32-year-old Brian Gordon, a converted outfielder whose only prior big league experience came in three relief appearances for Texas in 2008.
Gordon actually belonged to the Philadelphia Phillies earlier this week, and was 5-0 for Triple-A Lehigh Valley with a 1.14 ERA that led the International League. His contract came with a catch, however: He could instantly opt out if any major league team wanted him.
When the Yanks came calling a couple of days ago, Gordon chose to leave the IronPigs and put on pinstripes.
Gordon pitched effectively enough, allowing two runs on seven hits and three walks in 5 1-3 innings. He retired Ian Kinsler on a fly with his first pitch of the day, later struck out AL MVP Josh Hamilton and got former teammate Michael Young on a popup in a key spot.
“He has definitely evolved,” Texas manager Ron Washington said. “I don’t remember him being able to move the ball around like he did today.”
Cory Wade (1-0), who also signed with the Yankees this week, pitched two perfect innings.
Darren Oliver relieved in the ninth and New York loaded the bases with one out before Curtis Granderson struck out chasing a full-count slider and Mark Teixeira grounded out.
Granderson singled to start the 12th and Robinson Cano was hit by a pitch, though Washington argued the ball hit his bat. Gardner grounded a single to right and Granderson scored easily.
“I heard it hit the bat,” Kirkman said.
Armed with an average fastball and a big bender, Gordon led 1-0 before Texas nicked him for two runs in the fifth. Kinsler looped an RBI double and with two outs, the bases loaded and the crowd standing, Gordon lost control of an 0-2 curve that plunked Adrian Beltre and forced home the go-ahead run.
Gordon paid tribute to his former Texas teammates, saying his time in the Rangers system helped him develop.
“He kept us off-balance. As a team, we like to make better adjustments and have better swings,” Young said.
Notes: Posada lined into an odd double play that ended the 10th. He hit a shot that bounced out of Beltre’s glove, but the third baseman caught the carom on the fly and easily tossed out Brett Gardner at first. … Endy Chavez popped up a bunt and bumped into 1B Teixeira as he caught the ball along the line in the ninth. Teixeira looked at Chavez, and gave him a slap on the side with his glove to say all was OK. … The Rangers play this week in Atlanta. Texas was swept in its only prior visit to Turner Field in 2003.
(Copyright 2011 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)