NEW YORK (AP) – Nick Swisher hit a grand slam off Ryan Dempster and drove in five runs, Derek Lowe closed with four shutout innings in his Yankees debut and New York beat the Texas Rangers 8-2 Monday night.
David Phelps, starting in place of injured ace CC Sabathia, picked off two runners and pitched a career-high five innings for the win.
In the opener of a four-game series between the teams with the AL’s best records, the Yankees powered their way to a sixth straight victory over Texas in the Bronx.
Swisher’s second slam this season was his 200th career homer. Eric Chavez also homered off Dempster (1-1), the Rangers’ recent acquisition.
Dempster matched a season high by allowing eight runs. The other time he allowed eight was in his first start for Texas on Aug. 2. In three starts since coming from the Chicago Cubs in a trade-deadline deal, Dempster has allowed 19 runs — 16 earned — in 17 1-3 innings.
Ichiro Suzuki tripled and Derek Jeter followed with a long RBI double in the seventh to end Dempster’s third start for Texas.
Swisher added an RBI single in the seventh as New York won for the fifth time in six games.
Phelps (3-3) was being held to a 75-80 pitch limit while making a spot start for Sabathia, who has a sore elbow. Phelps needed 26 pitches in the first without being hit hard. But thanks in part to a nifty pickoff move, he fulfilled his manager’s wish to make it through five innings.
Phelps turned over a 5-2 lead to Lowe in the sixth. Designated for assignment by Cleveland on Aug. 2 and released Friday, Lowe signed with New York earlier Monday and made his first appearance since July 31.
Lowe earned his first regular-season save since 2001 while with Boston, shutting down Texas on two hits. He walked none and struck out four.
Lowe went 8-10 with a 5.52 ERA for the Indians this season, and he had an 8.80 ERA in his final 12 starts for Cleveland.
The 39-year-old right-hander, a longtime rival of the Yankees while he pitched for the Red Sox, received little notice from the fans when his name was called to start the sixth. After retiring three straight in the seventh, the crowd gave him a loud ovation.
The high-powered Rangers had ample opportunities to break open the game early against Phelps, making his fourth start and first since July 4. They scored a run in the first on a broken-bat single by Nelson Cruz and added another when David Murphy led off the second with a homer.
Phelps hit Ian Kinsler with a pitch with two outs in the second. He then picked him off first base to end the inning with Elvis Andrus at bat. Andrus opened the third with a single and advanced to second on Adrian Beltre’s infield single with one out. But Phelps picked off Andrus at second for out No. 2.
Phelps allowed two runs and six hits. He struck out three and walked one.
Making his first start in the Bronx since 2000, Dempster retired his first six hitters then it fell apart in the third, when seven of the first eight batters reached.
Russell Martin led off with an opposite-field single to right and Raul Ibanez followed with a hit that fell just in front of Cruz, the right fielder. Suzuki, batting ninth for the first time in his career, sacrificed. Jeter fell behind 1-2 before walking to load the bases.
Swisher lined a shot into the second deck in right for the sixth slam of his career and a 4-2 lead. Swisher had not homered since July 19 — a drought of 61 at-bats — a day before he injured his hip flexor and missed six games.
New York loaded bases again without making an out, then Curtis Granderson got a rise from the fans by hitting a long drive to center field that was caught just in front of the warning track for a sacrifice fly.
Dempster still has not beaten New York. He is 0-4 in five starts against the Yankees.
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