ARLINGTON (CBSDFW.COM) – Joe Nathan has been nearly automatic for the Rangers this season. But on Tuesday night, Mariano Rivera was better.
Nathan (L, 1-1) blew just his second save of the season as the Yankees scored two in the ninth to escape with a 5-4 win over the Rangers in Arlington.
Trailing 4-3 entering the ninth, Vernon Wells reached base after drawing a walk – the first Nathan has issued in his last nine appearances.
With the count full, shortstop Eduardo Nunez drove a line drive deep to center field just beyond the reach of center fielder Craig Gentry. Wells scored easily on the play, while Nunez glided into third with a standup triple.
Third baseman Brent Lillibridge then singled to left to score Nunez, giving the Yankees the 5-4 lead.
“In that case you have to give the Yankees credit for fighting the way they did,” said manager Ron Washington following the game. “Anytime we put Joe out there, we figure the game is over, but he’s only human.”
Nathan had converted 31 of 32 saves on the season entering the game, including 15 straight.
Yankees closer Mariano Rivera made quick work of the Rangers in the ninth, striking out two to collect his MLB-leading 640th career save.
The Yankees led early, but surrendered the lead in the sixth inning.
Following a fielding error by Lillibridge, Adrian Beltre drove a double to deep centerfield to score Nelson Cruz from first. An opposite field single by Elvis Andrus allowed Beltre to jog home and chase starter Phil Hughes (ND, 4-9) from the game.
Yankees reliever Boone Logan entered the game, but Moreland drove his second pitch to the center field lawn to put the Rangers in front 4-3.
“In that situation your just looking for a good pitch. With that one, I was just able to square it up,” said Moreland.
Since returning from the disabled list on June 21, Moreland had struggled to find his form, batting just .184 (16-87) in 26 games.
Alexei Ogando (4-2), starting his first game since returning from the DL, worked five innings surrendering three runs on six hits.
New York started the scoring in the third inning with consecutive doubles by Melky Mesa and Austin Romine, the bottom two in the order.
A second run scored on an infield single by Ichiro Suzuki, who joined teammates Alex Rodriguez and Derek Jeter as the only active players with at least 2700 career hits.
- The Rangers have not gained ground in the AL West in 26 straight days. On June 27, the team gained .5 game in the standings by beating NYY when OAK was idle.
- Alexi Ogando lowered his career ERA against the NYY from 10.03 to 8.64.
- The Rangers surpassed the 2 million fan mark in the 51st home date of the season. They have now surpassed the mark 17 times in the last 18 seasons.
- Joe Nathan lost his footing in the ninth inning – saying his foot just slipped — but was not injured.
- The Houston Astros scored three in the ninth to beat the A’s, who remain 3.0 games up in the AL West.
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