NEW YORK (AP) – Freddy Garcia watched Hiroki Kuroda and David Phelps make the Texas Rangers look rather ordinary and decided he wasn’t going to be the pitcher who stopped the trend.
Other than a couple of big swings by Josh Hamilton, he was up to the challenge.
Garcia worked around two homers by Hamilton to remain undefeated against Texas for eight years and the New York Yankees beat the Rangers for the third straight night, 3-2 on Wednesday.
The Yankees have held the AL’s best offense to only four runs in the first three games of the four-game series.
“Our guys have done a tremendous job,” Yankees manager Joe Girardi said. “I applaud our pitchers.”
Hamilton became the second player to reach 100 RBIs this season — Detroit’s Miguel Cabrera was first — with his career-high 33rd homer, a line drive to right in the fourth inning. His majestic drive in the sixth was all Texas could muster in their eighth straight loss in the Bronx.
With a chance to tie the game in the ninth, Hamilton was struck out by Rafael Soriano.
“When you’re seeing the ball good, you feel like you can pretty much hit anything,” Hamilton said. “But, at that point in the game, you just want to get somebody on base and give yourself a chance to tie the ballgame up.”
Nick Swisher gave the Yankees the lead with an RBI double off Scott Feldman in a three-run third inning. Swisher put the Yankees ahead in the first two games, too. He hit a grand slam Monday and a two-run shot Tuesday night in a matchup between the teams with the best records in the AL.
Garcia (7-5) followed Kuroda’s two-hitter Tuesday by giving up four hits in 6 2-3 innings of a game delayed by rain at the start for 1 hour, 45 minutes.
Garcia has not lost to the Rangers since 2004, going 5-0 with a 1.90 ERA in seven starts.
“When you see one guy pitch and the other guy pitch you’re thinking you got to go out there and try to do the same,” he said.
A well-rested bullpen then finished for the Yankees’ seventh win in eight games.
Boone Logan got one out. David Robertson struck out two in a perfect eighth, and after the strikeout of Hamilton, Soriano struck out worked around a throwing error by Eric Chavez for his 29th save.
With second baseman Robinson Cano getting a night off because of a stiff neck, Mark Teixeira serving as the designated hitter. Alex Rodriguez out with a broken hand, Derek Jeter was the only regular in the infield, and the Rangers tested the group in the fourth inning.
After Hamilton’s homer, Adrian Beltre singled. Nelson Cruz then hit a grounder to Chavez, who chose to try for the force at second but his throw was late. Fill-in second baseman Jayson Nix’s relay to Swisher, the substitute first baseman, was late, putting runners on first and second.
David Murphy walked but Garcia got Geovany Soto to hit a grounder to Jeter. Swisher fell while stretching to keep his foot on the base and completed the 6-4-3 double play.
Feldman (6-8) pitched out of trouble in the fourth, fifth and six innings, working around three walks and two hits. In six innings, he allowed seven hits and four walks. He struck out seven.
“I didn’t feel I was throwing the ball bad, even when that (third inning) was going on,” Feldman said. “I just tried to keep doing what I was doing, and the defense made some plays behind me. They just got one more than us tonight.”
Hamilton pulled the Rangers to 3-2 in the sixth, launching a mega-homer way up the bleachers in right. It was his third multihomer game this season.
Ian Kinsler was ejected by home plate umpire Vic Carapazza in the eighth inning for arguing balls and strikes. He is 0 for 11 in the series.
Curtis Granderson hit a sacrifice fly after Swisher’s double. Then Chavez had a run-scoring single, the first of three hits. The former A’s star has been getting the majority of the playing time at third base since A-Rod broke his hand and he has responded. Chavez has a streak of six straight multihit games to raise his average to .303. A six-time Gold Glove winner whose career has been curtailed by injuries, Chavez is happy with his role.
“With the injuries that I’ve had, my mindset had to change,” Chavez said.
(© Copyright 2012 The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)
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