Doubleheader rough one for Texas
Two losses complete rainy series; Sosa leaves after beaning
ARLINGTON -- The rain finally went away, but the New York Yankees would not. Not until they had completed a demoralizing sweep of a three-game series that took a lot out of the Rangers and their fans.New York swept Thursday's doubleheader before 40,671 at Rangers Ballpark in Arlington, winning the opener, 4-3, on Hideki Matsui's RBI double in the eighth and taking the nightcap, 5-2, by stifling the listless Rangers on eight hits. The Yankees (12-14) arrived in Arlington as a team in crisis, having lost eight of their previous nine to tumble into last place in the American League East. They found their tonic in Texas, where they have won 10 consecutive games, the longest winning streak in Arlington in the 35-year history of the teams' rivalry. The Rangers (10-18) were one of the 27 teams that had more April wins than New York. But they put up less resistance than the weather in this series, getting swept by an aggregate score of 19-6 as their losing streak reached a season-high five games. "If I had the answer," Rangers manager Ron Washington said, "we wouldn't be doing it." Rangers slugger Sammy Sosa, five home runs away from 600, had to leave the second game after being beaned by Yankees reliever Brian Bruney with two outs in the bottom of the sixth. The fastball seemed to glance off the top of Sosa's shoulder before knocking his helmet off, and Sosa was able to walk off the field with trainer Jamie Reed at his side. Sosa was taken to Medical Center of Arlington for evaluation, but the initial report was that Sosa did not appear to suffer a concussion or serious injury. "Everything checked out fine," Washington said. "We just gotta wait until [Friday] and see how he comes in feeling. He wanted to go down to first base, but Jamie told him, 'That's not necessary,' and we took him out." First baseman Teixeira said, "That's why we wear helmets. I think he's going to be all right." Thursday's doubleheader was made necessary by Wednesday's rainout, and the second game of the twin bill was delayed 40 minutes by more thunderstorms. But in the end, not even Mother Nature could help the Rangers avoid a double-defeat day. The Rangers had not been swept in a home doubleheader since dropping two to Baltimore on Sept. 7, 1989. "We're just not playing well," Teixeira said. "We know we're not getting the job done, and we're all going to take responsibility for it. If we're going to get better, everybody in here has to start playing better."
A two-run homer by Doug Mientkiewicz in the second inning of Game 2 got the Yankees started against Rangers right-hander Robinson Tejeda (3-2). Tejeda turned in his fourth quality start, allowing three earned runs in 6 1/3 innings while walking one and striking out six, but it was not good enough.The Yankees added two more runs in the seventh off Tejeda and reliever Frank Francisco. Matsui doubled and scored from third on a Francisco wild pitch, and Derek Jeter's two-out RBI single scored Jorge Posada. Yankees right-hander Mike Mussina (1-1), pitching for the first time since April 11 after spending more than two weeks on the disabled list with a strained hamstring, held the Rangers to one run over five innings. Relievers Bruney, Sean Henn and Scott Proctor combined on two more scoreless innings, but Teixeira homered in the eighth against Kyle Farnsworth, his third of the season. "I need to step it up for this thing to turn around," Teixeira acknowledged. The Yankees took a 2-0 lead in the second. Tejeda hit Jason Giambi with a pitch, struck out the next two hitters, then served up a two-run, two-out homer to Mientkiewicz. The Rangers halved the deficit in the bottom of the fourth. Sosa singled with one out, reached third on a double by Hank Blalock, and scored on Ian Kinsler's sacrifice fly -- Kinsler's team-leading 24th RBI. But the Yankees chased Tejeda and put the game away with two more runs in the seventh, and a final score in the ninth when Jeter again singled home Posada against Akinori Otsuka. Yankees closer Mariano Rivera pitched scoreless ninths to earn saves in both games, his second and third saves of the season. Rangers utility man Matt Kata made his presence felt early, as he got a rare start in left field for the nightcap. Kata made a leaping catch at the wall of a Jeter drive and started a relay that doubled-up Melky Cabrera as he scrambled back to first base. Then Kata ended the inning by throwing out Bobby Abreu as he tried scoring from second on Alex Rodriguez's single. It was the first time a Rangers player had two outfield assists in the same inning since Johnny Grubb during a game in Milwaukee on June 19, 1980. The last Rangers player to have two outfield assists in the same game was Juan Gonzalez (May 30, 2003, at Baltimore). The Rangers lost the first game, 4-3, despite a solid effort by emergency starter Mike Wood, filling in for the injured Kevin Millwood. Wood made his first big-league start since last July 2 and gave the Rangers 6 1/3 innings, allowing three runs (two earned) on five hits. But after clawing back from a 3-1 deficit, tying the game 3-3 on a seventh-inning home run by Jerry Hairston Jr., the Rangers coughed up the winning run in the eighth. Reliever Joaquin Benoit (0-1) gave up a leadoff single to Jeter. The Yankees' shortstop tried to steal second, but aborted the attempt and went scrambling back to first. The relay throw was dropped by Teixeira as he tried to tag Jeter, and the error proved costly. Benoit put Jeter in scoring position with a wild pitch, but recovered to strike out Abreu. A groundout by Rodriguez sent Jeter to third, and Washington was faced with a choice of which left-handed slugger to let Benoit face. Giambi, who had already slugged a two-out homer in the fourth, was 2-for-10 with a home run in his career against Benoit. The man on deck, Matsui, was batting .216 overall and was 1-for-7 against Benoit. The Rangers walked Giambi intentionally, but Matsui made them pay with a game-winning double to right-center. "Jason had already gotten us earlier in the game, and I wasn't going to let him do it again," Washington said. "I thought Ben could get [Matsui], but he didn't." Farnsworth and Rivera made the one-run lead stand up, combining on two scoreless innings of relief. Luis Vizcaino (2-1) got the win, after losing starter Andy Pettitte's one-run lead by surrendering Hairston's game-tying homer in the seventh. Millwood was scratched from his scheduled start because of a tender left hamstring. He apparently injured his leg while taking batting practice Wednesday in anticipation of Interleague Play later this month. Millwood described the strain as moderate, and said he expects to return to the rotation during the three-game series in New York next week.
Ken Daley is a contributor to MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.