Results tagged ‘ Freddy Garcia ’

O’s closer proves there is only one Rivera

What Yankees fans never see from Mariano Rivera was what Orioles fans witnessed Monday night from Jim Johnson. The Orioles closer, who led the American League is saves last season with 51, sustained his third consecutive blown save, something that Rivera has never done, and the Yankees took advantage of it to come away with a 6-4, 10-inning victory.

Johnson was gone by the time the Yankees scored the deciding runs in the extra inning off Pedro Strop and Brian Matusz with clutch hitting by Vernon Wells and Travis Hafner. Rivera kept the lead intact with his 17th save in 17 opportunities. Johnson began the season with a similar streak with 14 saves before coming unglued in his past three appearances.

Hafner dealt the crushing blow to Johnson this time with a one-out home run in the ninth, the Yankees’ fourth solo shot of the evening in Baltimore’s humid Inner Harbor air. Johnson’s latest failure opened the gates for the Yankees to improve their record in games where they get on the scoreboard first to 19-0 and extend the Orioles’ losing streak to six games.

The Yankees were in danger of losing their first game when they scored first because their offense was reduced to the long ball with no one on base and CC Sabathia blew leads of 2-0 and 3-2. Robinson Cano and Orioles first baseman Chris Davis entered the game tied for the AL lead in home runs with 12 and maintained that tie as each got his 13th in his first at-bat.

David Adams, the rookie who has done so well at third base and turned a few more good plays Monday night, hit his first career home run to put the Yankees up, 2-0, in the second, but Davis made it 2-1 in the bottom of the second and Nick Markakis singled in the tying run in the fifth.

It was a strange start for Sabathia, who allowed a double-digit hit total (11) for the second game in a row (23 total in his past 12 2/3 innings) and had only two strikeouts, although he did not walk a batter. The lefthander is winless in four starts since April 27. Former teammate Freddy Garcia actually pitched better. He allowed the two solo homers and just one other hit with two walks and two strikeouts in six innings.

Lyle Overbay’s leadoff homer in the seventh off lefthander Troy Patton put the Yankees ahead again, but Sabathia couldn’t hold the advantage as the Orioles grabbed the lead on RBI doubles by Markakis and J.J. Hardy. Shawn Kelley stopped the O’s there with two more strikeouts. He added a third in the eighth, which gives the righthander 15 of the past 21 batters he has faced and 33 in 18 1/3 innings for the season.

Baltimore manager Buck Showalter entrusted the lead to Johnson, who began the ninth by retiring Cano on a groundout. Johnson fell behind 3-1 in the count to Hafner, who drove a 94-miles-per-hour fastball over the left field fence for his eighth home run. The Yankees were back in business.

Johnson’s woes have come after a run of 35 consecutive saves dating to last July. He has given up eight earned runs and nine hits in 2 1/3 innings (30.86 ERA) in the three blown saves, which has driven his season ERA from 0.95 to 4.22.

In the 10th, Ichiro Suzuki ran his Camden Yards hitting streak to 20 games with a leadoff double off Strop, a reliever who has struggled against the Yankees. Vernon Wells, riding the bench despite having good career numbers against Garcia (.438, one home run), came up as a pinch hitter for shortstop Reid Brignac and doubled to left to send home Ichiro.

Austin Romine bunted Wells to third, but Wells could not advance as Jayson Nix grounded out. After Cano was intentionally walked, Hafner delivered an insurance run with a line single to right off the left-handed Matusz. Rivera then showed Johnson how it’s done with a 1-2-3 bottom of the 10th.

Hafner. Wells. Overbay. There are those names again. Yankees fans are getting used to seeing these guys do important stuff.

Yankees get ready for Freddy

Sunday’s rainout of the scheduled Yankees-Blue Jays game at Yankee Stadium allowed Yanks manager Joe Girardi to skip Vidal Nuno, who was to start in place of disabled Andy Pettitte, this turn in the rotation and give his regular starters an extra day’s rest.

CC Sabathia, who was to have started Sunday, was to get the call Monday night at Baltimore in the opener of a three-game series and was paired against former teammate Freddy Garcia. The righthander, who has the most career victories (152) of any pitcher born in Venezuela, went to spring training this year with the Padres after signing as a minor league free agent Jan. 29 but was released March 24 and signed with the Orioles five days later.

Garcia entered Monday night’s game with a record of 0-2 and a 5.51 ERA in three starts totaling 16 1/3 innings for the Orioles. In 12 career starts against the Yankees, Garcia is 5-4 with a 4.09 ERA. He pitched for the Yankees in 2011 and 2012 and combined for a 19-14 record with a 4.29 ERA in 42 starts covering 254 innings.

The Yankees were 3-0 in three games last year in which they faced a starting pitcher for the first time since he had pitched for the Yankees. They defeated the Mariners’ Hector Noesi May 12 at Yankee Stadium, 6-2; the Athletics’ Bartolo Colon May 26 at Oakland, 9-2, and the Blue Jays’ Aaron Laffey Aug. 11 at Toronto, 5-2.

The Yankees are catching the Orioles in the throes of a five-game losing streak that has dropped Baltimore into a tie with the Rays for third place in the American League East, four games back of the divison-leading Yanks, so the O’s cannot overtake the Bombers in this series.

Sabathia takes a 17-4 career record with a 3.03 ERA against the Orioles into the game, including 10-3 with a 3.38 ERA at Camden Yards. CC has the second-highest winning percentage (.769) in the ballpark’s history (minimum 15 starts), behind Pettitte’s .800 mark (16-4). Among active pitchers who have never played for the Orioles, Sabathia has the most strikeouts, the second most victories (Pettitte 16), the second most innings (Pettitte 144 2/3) and the second-lowest ERA (Bartolo Colon 3.33) at Camden Yards.

Catcher Austin Romine was in Monday night’s lineup, marking the first Yankees rookie to start three straight games behind the plate since Francisco Cervelli May 8-10, 2009 in a three-game set at Baltimore.

Also in the starting lineup batting eighth and playing shortstop was recent arrival Reid Brignac, who was acquired from the Rockies in a trade Saturday for cash considerations. He will become the 10th different infielder used by the Yankees this season and the 19th different position player. They used 10 different infielders all of the 2012 season. Brignac will become the 14th different player to make his Yankees debut this season, the eighth different Yankee who was not with the club when pitchers and catchers reported for spring training Feb. 12 and the 15th player to play for the Yankees this season who was not with the club last year. Brignac will be the 36th player they have used this year, a figure they did reach in 2012 until July 29 with infielder Ramiro Pena.

A makeup date for Sunday’s rainout has not been scheduled. Fans holding paid tickets for that day’s game may use them for the rescheduled game or exchange their paid tickets for any regular season game at the Stadium during the 2013 season, subject to availability. Fans holding complimentary tickets (COMP) for Sunday’s game must use them for the rescheduled game when that is announced. Complimentary tickets (COMP) or equivalent tickets bear no cash value and do not have any additional benefits that may be offered to ticket(s) with a dollar value.

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Yanks savor an absolutely miraculous victory

There is an old saying among baseball writers that the sentence you never want to write is something along the lines of “Each side scored four runs in the 13th.”

It is naturally a reference to an unusually long game that seems as if it will never end. Well, I am getting to write that sentence today. The Yankees and the Athletics, both locked into tight races for postseason berths, got tangled in an old fashioned marathon Saturday at Yankee Stadium.

The game ended five hours and 43 minutes after the first pitch and memorably for the Yankees. Frankly, this was nothing short of a miracle. They blew early leads of 4-2 and 5-4 and were left for dead in the 13th when it appeared Oakland had taken an insurmountable lead. But the Yankees would simply not quit and because of that emerged with their most improbable victory this year.

That the winning run of the 10-9, 14-inning victory scored on an error is immaterial. The Yankees earned this victory, which kept them one game ahead of the Orioles in the American League East. The Birds had won yet another extra-inning game earlier at Fenway Park, 9-6, to raise their record in overtime games to 16-2. The Yankees improved to 5-3 in extras, which gives you an idea what kind of season Baltimore is having.

“It was an unbelievable comeback,” Yanks manager Joe Girardi said in the understatement of the season.

The back-and-forth game reached its zenith in the 13th when, that’s right, each side scored four runs. Oakland pounded three home runs in the top half, two off Freddy Garcia and one off Justin Thomas as the Yankees were well into a depleted bullpen.

But then, so were the A’s. Lefthander Pedro Figueroa could not get an out as the Yanks filled the bases in the bottom of the 13th on singles by Ichiro Suzuki, Alex Rodriguez and Robinson Cano. Righthander Pat Neshek, a side-winder, wild-pitched in a run and gave up another on a sacrifice fly by Eduardo Nunez.

Raul Ibanez, who had a remarkable game, pushed it into the 14th with a two-run home run. His first homer of the game as a pinch hitter in the fifth unlocked a 4-4 score. In the 12th, Ibanez led off with a double as he looked very much like the Hall of Fame outfielder Frank Robinson, who always broke out of the batter’s box after a hit with an idea of taking an extra base. Ibanez was out at the plate on a contact play later in the inning. There was a lot of contact as he slammed into catcher Derek Norris.

Cory Wade, the Yankees’ ninth pitcher of the game, supplied a scoreless 14th and was rewarded with a winning decision when the Yanks rallied once more in the bottom half. Eric Chavez started it with a single off righthander Tyson Ross. Melky Mesa made his major-league debut as a pinch runner and would figure dramatically later in the rally.

Derek Jeter bunted Mesa to second. After Suzuki was walked intentionally, Rodriguez singled sharply through the middle. Those remaining in the Stadium crowd of 44,026 figured the game was over and were stunned when Mesa did not score. The problem was that he missed third base rounding it and by the time he went back to tag it did not have the momentum to come home even though A’s center fielder Yeonis Cespedes hesitated before throwing the ball.

The situation loomed large when Ross made a graceful fielding play flagging down a high chop and recovering to get a force at the plate for the second out. Nunez followed with a grounder to the right side that behaved like a cue ball with a lot of English on it and clanged off the glove of first baseman Brandon Moss for a tough error but an error nonetheless as Ichiro trotted home.

The scene that followed was something out of a World Series. The Yankees mobbed the field the way they have over the years when a championship was secured. They are a long way from that, of course, but as the Yankees continue their march toward another invitation to the postseason dance they will look back on this game for inspiration.

Nova, Pettitte in rotation during coming homestand

The Yankees’ rotation is slowly headed back to full strength. Ivan Nova, who has been out since Aug. 23 with right rotator cuff inflammation, will start Saturday at Yankee Stadium against the Rays. Andy Pettitte will follow suit by making his first start since June 27 Tuesday night against the Blue Jays.

The return of Nova and Pettitte during the homestand that begins Friday night against the Rays with CC Sabathia opposing David Price moves Freddy Garcia and David Phelps to the bullpen, which further strengthens the staff.

Yankees manager Joe Girardi’s announcement Thursday night at Boston about Pettitte came as something of a surprise. The lefthander, who has been disabled for 10 weeks while recovering from a fractured left fibula, pitched a simulated game before Wednesday night’s game and was expected to toss another such game over the coming weekend. Pettitte argued that if was going to throw another 75 pitches he might as well do it in competition.

Considering the tightness of the American League East, the Yankees can use all the help they can get. When Pettitte went on the DL, the Yankees had a five-game lead that would double by July 18, but entering play Thursday night they were a half-game behind the Orioles. Following a meeting among Girardi, Pettitte, pitching coach Larry Rothschild and trainer Steve Donohue, the Yankees made the decision on Pettitte, which will allow him to make four starts over the final three weeks of the regular season.

“Whether it’s later in the week or whatever, it’s a rush job anyway,” Pettitte told reporters. “I feel 100 percent and I’m being honest with them. I need to get out there and get in a big league game. I just want to go to battle with these guys.”

No hangover for first-place Yankees

An umpire’s staggeringly errant call notwithstanding, the Yankees got out of Baltimore still in sole possession of first place in the American League East. They suffered no hangover from the blunder by Jerry Meals Saturday night and turned the page emphatically with an old-fashioned blowout Sunday to move back into first by a game over the Orioles.

The 13-3 victory was an ensemble effort with contributions galore. Manager Joe Girardi steered the team as if it were a playoff game. When a 5-0 lead became 5-3 in the third, Girardi did not hesitate to remove a shaky Freddy Garcia. The bullpen was masterful as four relievers combined for 5 2/3 innings of shutout, one-hit, two-walk, nine-strikeout work.

Joba Chamberlain may have finally shaken off the dust of his recovery from Tommy John surgery and an ankle injury by striking out four of the six batters he faced and was deserving of the winning decision, his first. Boone Logan, Cory Wade and Derek Lowe followed suit as the slugging Orioles had only four hits, none of them home runs. The Bird had a dozen dingers in the previous three games of the series.

Perhaps the most satisfying aspect of the victory was the re-emergence of Curtis Granderson as an offensive force. Mired in a 5-for-43 (.116) slump and with only two hits in 18 at-bats (.111) on the trip previously, Granderson was benched against a left-handed starter for the second game in a row. He came off the bench as a pinch hitter and hit reliever Jake Arrieta’s first pitch for his 35th home run.

That blow came when the score was still tight and began the tack-on attack the Yankees kept up with seven runs over the next two innings. Granderson had a hand in both rallies with a two-run single in the seventh and a two-run double in the eighth in taking over the club lead in RBI with 86.

Robinson Cano reached base in all five of his plate appearances and scored three runs. Alex Rodriguez, who singled, walked and was hit by a pitch, also touched the plate three times. Ichiro Suzuki had two hits and an RBI and played all three outfield positions. Russell Martin continued his hot trip with two hits and an RBI. He is batting .476 with one double, two homers and eight RBI in 21 at-bats on the trip which continues after Monday’s open date Tuesday night at Boston.

With a double, his 15th home run and three RBI, Jeter enjoyed his 58th multi-hit game despite playing (as the designated hitter) with a nagging right ankle that has been noticeable the past several days. You know what is said in May when a player has a condition like that. “If this was September, he’d play.” Well, it is September. Jeter is playing.

Is he ever? The Captain is entering the conversation for the AL batting race. DJ leads the majors with 191 hits and is well within range of his eighth 200-hit season. His batting average is up to .324. The only players ahead of him with 22 games to play are Angels center fielder Mike Trout (.328) and Tigers third baseman Miguel Cabrera (.326), both of whom are also strong candidates for the Most Valuable Player Award. Jeter might find himself in that conversation, too.

The Yankees not only split the four-game set at Camden Yards but also the season series with Baltimore at 9-9. They have to keep it up against the Red Sox. If the Yankees and Orioles are tied atop the division at the end of the regular season, the tiebreaker will be divisional record. The Yankees are 29-25 against AL East teams while the O’s are 32-24. So there is still plenty of work to do.

Yankees’ lead in AL East is gone

And then there was none.

Games ahead, that is. The Yankees are still in first place in the American League East, but they are no longer alone atop the standings. A 5-2 loss to the Rays Tuesday night coupled with the Orioles’ 12-0 rout at Toronto created a first-place tie in the division between the Yankees and Baltimore. It marked the first time in an 84-day period since June 11 that the Yanks were not all by themselves in first place.

In addition, the third-place Rays are merely 1 ½ games out of first. The AL East, which looked like a runaway around the All-Star break, has turned into a dogfight. The Yanks led by as many as 10 games July 18. All of that lead has shredded. They have gone 19-25 since that date while the Orioles have gone 29-15 and the Rays 28-16. That is how leads disappear.

As for disappearing leads, that has happened to the Yankees in the three consecutive games they have lost. They couldn’t hang on to 2-0 and 3-1 leads in losing to the Orioles Sunday or to a 3-2 lead Monday and a 2-0 lead Tuesday night to the Rays.

Robinson Cano showed no signs of a lingering hip problem with a two-run home run in the first inning Tuesday night, but that would be all the offense the Yankees would generate. They had five hits the rest of the way. Their best chance to tag on runs was in the third against winning pitcher Alex Cobb when Derek Jeter singled and Curtis Granderson walked with none out, but Cano struck out and Nick Swisher grounded into a double play.

Freddy Garcia hit the fifth-inning wall for his third straight start. He gave up back-to-back home runs to Desmond Jennings and B.J. Upton that inning which created the final score. Garcia let Tampa Bay back in the game right away in the first inning on an RBI double by Upton. Evan Longoria shot the Rays into the lead with a two-run homer in the third.

Yankees manager Joe Girardi keeps saying that the team is not panicking, but his body language betrays him. The skipper went full-metal ballistic in the fourth inning against plate umpire Tony Randazzo and was ejected for arguing balls-and-strikes after Chris Dickerson was called out on strikes to end the inning.

Girardi did not want to discuss the matter after the game. There really wasn’t much to be said about anything in this game.

Orioles breathing down Yankees’ necks

Ready to panic yet? Yankees manager Joe Girardi says no. Yankees player say no. Yankees fans? Now that is a different story.

You could tell by the moaning sounds coming from the Yankee Stadium crowd of 42,352 Friday night that Yankees Universe may be falling into a panic mode. The Orioles’ 6-1 victory reduced the Yankees’ lead in the American League East to two games over Baltimore. If the Yanks don’t get their game together, they might lose all of that 10-game lead they had back on July 18.

Girardi has made a rotation change to try and stem the tide. Freddy Garcia was supposed to start Saturday but has been pushed back to Monday night at St. Petersburg, Fla. David Phelps will go instead Saturday and Phil Hughes Sunday against an Orioles squad that has been the surprise of baseball this year.

Baltimore’s record is 15 games above .500 for the first time in 15 years. Not since the last week of the 1997 season have the Orioles been this high above par. It has been an amazing season for the Orioles, considering they have been outscored by 39 runs. My old pal, Gary Thorne, the O’s television play-by-play announcer, explained that the reason for that is because the Orioles are winning a ton of one-run (24-6) and two-run (22-12) games.

Friday night was no one- or two-run game for the Orioles. They struck for three runs in the second inning off Hiroki Kuroda on a sacrifice fly by Chris Davis and a two-run home run by Mark Reynolds and made all that stand up. Kuroda, who lasted one out into the ninth, gave up a solo home run to J.J. Hardy in the sixth. Baltimore added two tag-on runs in the ninth off Derek Lowe, one on Reynolds’ second homer of the game. Curtis Granderson’s 34th home run with one out in the ninth off reliever Brian Matusz prevented the Yankees from being shut out.

It was the next worse thing to that, though. The Yankees once again failed to give Kuroda ample run support. In this case, no run support at all. Kuroda has the fourth lowest run support total of any starting pitcher in the AL. The Yanks managed four hits, all singles, off O’s starter Miguel Gonzalez (6-3), who had a sneaky fastball that resulted in one walk and nine strikeouts in seven innings.

“His fastball was quicker than we expected,” Girardi said, “and he got his breaking balls over behind in the count.”

A dangerous combination, to be sure. The Yankees struck out 11 times in the game, including Nick Swisher taking the golden sombrero with four Ks.

The Yankees threatened to get back into the game in the sixth. Trailing, 4-0, they got the first two batters on base, but Derek Jeter, Swisher and Robinson Cano could not get the ball out of the infield. The next inning, they had two on and two out but Ichiro Suzuki grounded out. So their offense turned out to be nothing more than Granderson’s dinger.

Girardi called what the Yankees are going through “a little rut.” Perhaps, so, but it has also led to a little gap between them and the Orioles.

Yanks end bumpy trip on high note

Every game is important. Managers say that all the time. But it is also true that some games are more important than others. Managers convey that by how they handle their personnel. Sunday was a very important game for the Yankees, and it showed as Joe Girardi pulled out all stops to get them a victory to end a potentially disastrous trip on a high note.

A 2-4 trip does not sound good, but it is acceptable when the team starts out 0-3 as the Yankees did in getting swept at Chicago. Cleveland was a different story, but taking two of three from the Indians wasn’t all that easy for the Yankees, who scored only eight runs in the series with each games decided by two runs.

For the second straight start, Freddy Garcia pitched four solid innings only to come apart in the fifth. It was not as grim as his previous start against the White Sox when after getting the first out of the fifth Garcia gave up single, home run, single, walk and walk to the next five batters, all of whom scored.

Pitching with a 3-0 lead entering the fifth, Garcia got the first two batters out without incident. It was a fluke hit that sort of unglued Freddy as Jason Kipnis, who had three hits and stole three bases, got a double on a ground ball that struck the bag at first base and bounded down the right field line.

Garcia never got that third out to complete the inning and be in position for a winning decision. He hit Asdrubal Cabrera with a pitch and then walked Shin-Soo Choo to load the bases. Carlos Santana sealed Freddy’s fate with a two-run single, and Girard did not hesitate to make a move. Thanks to Hiroki Kuroda’s compete game Saturday night and seven-plus inning starts from CC Sabathia and Phil Hughes before that, the Yankees’ bullpen was thoroughly rested.

Boone Logan was summoned to get the third out Garcia could not and earned his fifth victory in seven decisions with 1 2/3 innings of shutout relief. David Robertson kept the ball rolling with 1 1/3 scoreless innings, but Girardi called on Rafael Soriano to get a four-out save, his third of the season among his 33 total, another indication of how much the skipper wanted to nail this game down.

Soriano took a blow on the right hand from a line drive by Kipnis but remained in the game to do what Girardi expected of him. After pitching to a 6.75 ERA in 6 2/3 innings at Chicago, the pen pitched to a 0.00 ERA in six innings at Cleveland.

With Tampa Bay off because the Republican convention is in town and Baltimore postponed by rain, the Yankees picked up a half-game in the American League East standings and now lead the Rays by 4 games and the Orioles by 4 ½. Despite their losing record on the trip, the Yankees lost only one game in the standings over a week’s time.

After a night when their offense fizzled in failing to support Kuroda, the Yankees put together a sustained rally for three runs in the second inning against righthander Ubaldo Jimenez. A single by Eric Chavez and a walk to Raul Ibanez preceded a run-scoring single by Ichiro Suzuki, who had a quiet trip. Chris Stewart’s sacrifice help set up the next two runs on an infield out by Derek Jeter, who took a rare 0-for-5, and a two-out, RBI single by Nick Swisher, who kept up his hot hitting on the trip with a .429 batting average in 21 at-bats with two doubles, one home run, four RBI, four runs and five walks.

With three left-handed batters due up in the sixth for the Yanks, Indians manager Manny Acta brought in lefthander Tony Sipp, a move that backfired when Curtis Granderson led off with his 33rd home run of the season and 200th of his career. He became the eighth player on the Yankees’ roster with 200 or more homers, a major league record. Granderson joined Ibanez, Jeter, Chavez, Swisher, Alex Rodriguez, Andruw Jones and Mark Teixeira.

Jeter’s 4-hit game lone bright spot in loss to Chisox

With each game it seems Derek Jeter reaches another milestone. He hit a pair of them in the first inning alone Monday night at Chicago’s U.S. Cellular Field in a four-hit game that was the highlight of an otherwise disappointing game for the Yankees. They blew leads of 3-0 and 6-5 with the White Sox using four home runs to construct a 9-6 victory as the Yanks’ lead in the American League East fell to four games over Tampa Bay.

Jeter led off the game with a single, which he does a lot. DJ is hitting .391 in 110 at-bats leading off games in 2012 and .355 in 872 at-bats for his career. The hit was career No. 3,252 for Jeter, who tied Nap Lajoie for 12th place on the all-time list. Jeter eventually scored on a two-out single by Mark Teixeira. That was career run No. 1,844 for Jeter as he tied Craig Biggio for 13th place on that all-time list.

It did not take Jeter long to break the tie with Lajoie with an infield single in the third for his 3,253rd career hit which left him only two behind No. 11 Eddie Murray. The Captain still has a way to go to catch the 12th-place guy in runs, Mel Ott, at 1,859.

Teixeira returned to the lineup after sitting out the weekend series at Yankee Stadium against the Red Sox to nurse a sore left wrist. Curtis Granderson singled in a run in the second as the Yanks took a 3-0 lead against White Sox starter Gavin Floyd, who was surrounded by base runners in his brief time on the mound.

Considering that Floyd allowed five hits, four walks and a hit batter, the Yankees should have done better than to just knock him out of the game one out into the third inning, but they stranded eight runners over the first five innings against Floyd and left-handed reliever Hector Santiago.

Freddy Garcia was cruising along until he hit a wall with one out in the fifth. After getting his eighth strikeout for the first out of the inning, Garcia put the next five batters on base. DeWayne Wise started Chicago’s comeback with a two-run home run off his former teammate. Wise had been a valuable utility outfielder for the Yankees before he was designated for assignment last month to create roster space for Ichiro Suzuki, who was acquired from the Mariners.

Garcia was replaced after loading the bases on a single and two walks. Manager Joe Girardi went to his bullpen using Cody Eppley, Clay Rapada and Joba Chamberlain, but after a force play and two singles the White Sox had taken a 5-3 lead.

Jeter led the Yankees’ comeback with a home run, his 11th, leading off the sixth, crawling one hit behind Murray. It was also Jeter’s 251st home run, which pushed him past Graig Nettles into ninth place on the franchise list. Ironically, it came on Nettles’ 68th birthday. The Yankees added two more runs on singles by Teixeira and pinch hitter Casey McGehee.

Chamberlain’s continuing troubles cost the Yankees the lead in the bottom of the sixth. He had given up a run-scoring single the previous inning and was taken deep by Gordon Beckham that tied the score again. Opposing hitters are batting .455 against Chamberlain, whose ERA swelled to 9.45.

Other relievers had problems, too. Boone Logan was touched for a two-run home run by Alexei Ramirez in the seventh inning and Derek Lowe yielded a solo shot to Adam Dunn in the eighth.

Jeter got even with Murray in lifetime hits when he doubled with two out in the seventh for his fourth hit of the game and 3,255th of his career. Cap leads the majors in hits with 167, five more than he had all of last year, and ranks third in the majors with 51 multi-hit games, six more than his 2011 total.

Yanks continue to tame Texas

The Yankees continue to pick up the slack for ailing teammates and at the same time are making a bold statement against the Rangers, winners of the past two American League pennants. Texas, which leads the major leagues in scoring, has totaled only four runs in the three games thus far in this series.

Josh Hamilton was all the offense the Rangers could muster Wednesday night with two long home runs off Freddy Garcia. Fortunately for the Yanks, Garcia allowed only two other hits and no more runs to come away with his third consecutive victory. Freddy had perhaps the best slider of his season in holding down the Rangers for 6 2/3 innings. The righthander walked one batter and struck out six in improving his season record to 7-5 with a 4.68 ERA, a record you will take every day of the week from a fifth starter.

Garcia, who returned to the rotation last month when Andy Pettitte went on the disabled list, continued his career success against the Rangers. Freddy remained unbeaten against them over his past eight starts dating to Sept. 8, 2004. He is 5-0 with a 1.89 ERA in those games and 9-5 with a 4.03 ERA overall against Texas.

It was the third straight impressive start for the rotation since CC Sabathia was placed on the DL Sunday for the second time this season. Against the Rangers in this series, Yankees starters are 3-0 with a 1.74 ERA and 14 strikeouts in 20 2/3 innings. Texas has had one hit in 11 at-bats with runners in scoring position.

Eric Chavez, who has done a remarkable job filling in at third base for disabled Alex Rodriguez, had another big night with three singles, a walk and a run batted in. Chavez’s one glitch was an errant throw in the ninth inning, although video replays indicated that Nick Swisher playing first base may have saved Chavez from a boot with a good scoop, but umpire Marty Foster apparently did not see that Swish kept his foot on the bag. The play did not prove costly as Rafael Soriano chalked up his 28th save.

For Chavez, August has been a torrid month. He is batting .516 with two doubles, four home runs and nine RBI in 31 at-bats this month, which has raised his season average from .265 to .303. Chavez has a six-game hitting streak (all multi-hit games) during which he is batting .609 with three home runs and seven RBI in 23 at-bats.

It is all part of a tremendous job done by starting third basemen for the Yankees during A-Rod’s absence, to the tune of .408 with seven home runs in 71 at-bats.

Swisher has hurt the Rangers all week and did so again with an RBI double in the Yanks’ three-run third inning. In eight games since being moved into the 2-hole, Swisher is batting .286 with eight runs, two doubles, two home runs and 11 RBI in 35 at-bats.

The Yankees extended their home winning streak against Texas in regular-season play to eight and have won 11 of the past 12 meetings between them at Yankee Stadium.