NEW YORK (AP) — Matt Harrison and the Texas Rangers caused more trouble for the New York Yankees.
Double trouble, in fact.
Texas tied an AL record by turning six double plays and the Rangers picked up where they left off last October, beating the Yankees 5-3 Friday night.
The first six hitters in the New York lineup bounced into DPs — Alex Rodriguez, Mark Teixeira, Robinson Cano, Derek Jeter, Andruw Jones and Nick Swisher.
“We needed some good things to happen,” Texas manager Ron Washington said, “and those double plays were good.”
The teams played for the first time since Texas battered the Yankees to win last year’s AL championship series in six games. The Rangers won this time with pitching, thanks to Harrison (3-0) and his sure-handed fielders on a chilly, windy evening.
Harrison twice grabbed grounders and started DPs. Shortstop Elvis Andrus saved him once, jumping high to catch Harrison’s throw before making the relay. Second baseman Ian Kinsler started a trio of DPs and third baseman Adrian Beltre began the other one.
“Can’t say enough about the defense,” Harrison said. “It’s huge.”
Told that Texas tied a record, Andrus smiled. “Really?” he said.
Andrus took part in five of them. That’s the way he likes things — strikeouts and flyballs, he said, can be boring.
“You want some groundballs,” Andrus said. “You want some action.”
This was the 15th time an AL team made six DPs in a game. The major league mark for double plays in a game is seven by San Francisco in 1969.
“It’s not enjoyable to watch double plays,” Yankees manager Joe Girardi said.
Girardi actually thought the Rangers made even more. When someone mentioned to him that Texas had six, he corrected the questioner.
“Seven, right?” he said.
Either way, Harrison induced a lot of them.
“If you have that many, he’s doing something right. You’re making good pitches when you have to,” Girardi said.
Harrison pitched in short sleeves despite the cold and gave up two runs and seven hits in eight innings. The 25-year-old lefty has pitched at least seven innings in every start this season, having previously beaten Boston and Baltimore.
Harrison stayed in control after moving up a day in the Rangers rotation. Colby Lewis’ spot was skipped after the birth of his daughter this week, and he became the first player to go on Major League Baseball’s new paternity leave list.
Even when the Yankees threatened in the eighth, with Curtis Granderson homering and Jeter following with a single, Washington stuck with Harrison. Swisher promptly bounced into the final DP.
Neftali Feliz pitched the ninth for his fifth save. Pinch-hitter Eric Chavez had an RBI single with two outs and Jorge Posada followed with a walk, but Russell Martin hit a routine flyball to end it.
Harrison has the best run support of any pitcher with at least 30 starts since the beginning of the 2008 season — over seven runs per game — and Texas again backed him despite getting outhit 9-4 by the Yankees.
Michael Young doubled, singled and drove in two runs. The double was his 353rd, breaking the team record set by Ivan Rodriguez.
Ivan Nova (1-1) pitched like the 24-year-old rookie he is. Whether it was the Texas lineup or the weather, he was all over the place. Nova gave up five runs on four hits and five walks in 4 1-3 innings.
The gametime temperature was 47 degrees, but the winds made it feel much worse. That may’ve contributed to a most messy inning in the Texas fifth. The Rangers took advantage of three walks, three wild pitches and a hit batter to score three times off Nova and reliever David Robertson for 5-1 lead.
NOTES: Yankees reliever Lance Pendleton, promoted from Triple-A earlier in the day, made his major league debut and pitched three perfect innings. … Texas tied a team record for DPs. The Yankees set a club mark for hitting into the most. … Rangers 1B Mitch Moreland matched the AL record by taking part in all six double plays. … Cleveland was the last AL team to have six DPs, in 2009. Of the 15 times an AL team has turned six DPs, three have come in extra innings. … The Yankees made one DP. The major league record for combined double plays in a game is nine.
(Copyright 2011 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)