By Dave Skretta
NEW YORK (AP) Freddy Garcia allowed two hits over six innings in his first start of the season, Mark Teixeira drove in three runs and the New York Yankees held off the Texas Rangers 5-2 on a bone-chilling Saturday in the Bronx.
The Yankees’ fifth starter, Garcia was scheduled to make his debut last week against the Minnesota Twins. When rain postponed the game, he was pushed back more than a week – though the weather wasn’t a whole lot better this time.
With temperatures in the mid-40s, Garcia (1-0) worked through steady rain showers and winds gusting to 30 mph to shut down the Texas offense. The only hits the veteran right-hander allowed were to Adrian Beltre in the first and David Murphy in the fourth.
Garcia threw just 84 pitches before turning over a three-run lead to the Yankees bullpen.
Joba Chamberlain got through the seventh without trouble, but Rafael Soriano struggled again in his new eighth-inning role. The former Tampa Bay closer allowed run-scoring singles by Elvis Andrus and Ian Kinsler that made it 3-2, and nearly a three-run homer by Beltre – the deep fly ball landed in the seats just outside the right-field foul pole.
Beltre eventually grounded into an inning-ending double play.
Robinson Cano re-established the Yankees’ three-run cushion with his two-run homer later in the eighth inning, and Mariano Rivera closed out the ninth for his sixth save.
Derek Holland (2-1) pitched well for Texas, allowing five runs in 7 2-3 innings. The young left-hander baffled the Yankees in the AL championship series last fall, tossing 5 2-3 innings of scoreless relief, but lost for the third time in three starts against New York.
The Rangers (10-4) lost for the third time in four games overall.
Perhaps expecting rain to force an early finish, New York wasted little time taking the lead. Nick Swisher lashed a single up the middle in the first, and Teixeira promptly drove a 3-2 pitch into the right-field bleachers to give New York a 2-0 lead. It was his fifth homer of the season after going hitless in four at-bats in the series opener Friday night.
The Yankees scored again in the third, when Derek Jeter walked on four pitches to start the inning. He went to third on Swisher’s double and scored on Teixeira’s sacrifice fly.
The Rangers never threatened against Garcia, going down in order in the first, third, fourth and sixth innings on an array of splitters, changeups and looping curveballs.
The veteran starter got plenty of help from his defense, too, including a nifty diving stop by Alex Rodriguez on a hard groundball in the third inning, and a sliding grab on the wet grass by Swisher in the fifth inning that may have prevented a run.
Rodriguez left the game in the seventh inning with what the team called lower back and oblique stiffness. No medical tests were planned.
NOTES: Holland matched a career high with 118 pitches. … Yankees C Francisco Cervelli (broken foot) played an extended spring training game Saturday in Tampa, Fla. … RHP Carlos Silva had his first bullpen session Saturday since agreeing to a minor league deal with New York on April 9. Silva was released by the Cubs in spring training. … The paid attendance was 41,876, though perhaps half that many braved the weather.
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