Rapid Reaction: Rangers 5, Yankees 3
April, 15, 2011
By Richard Durrett | ESPNDallas.com
NEW YORK -- Double plays and an ability to take advantage of wild pitches with aggressive baserunning helped the Rangers take the first game of this three-game set at Yankee Stadium on Friday, 5-3. Some quick thoughts (more to come from clubhouse):
* The double play loved Matt Harrison. Absolutely loved him. Found him six times in eight innings, tying a club record (also set on Aug. 2, 2006 at Minnesota). It also tied the American League record. It's always nice to be friends with the double play when you're a pitcher. Four of them ended innings, including the fifth when the Yankees threatened to score some runs right after the Rangers scored three of their own. The Yankees set their own franchise recrod by hitting into six double plays.
* The double plays helped keep Harrison's pitch count low despite command issues early in his outing. His toughest inning came after he had to wait through a long fifth inning by the Rangers, not easy in the cold. Harrison had 104 pitches and threw just 59 strikes. He had three walks. But he was a ground ball machine, getting 15 ground ball outs -- many of those on double plays.
* Harrison pitched out of a jam in the first inning. Back-to-back singles from Derek Jeter and Nick Swisher put the Yankees in position to score, but Harrison threw a high fastball by Mark Teixeira for a strikeout and then got Alex Rodriguez to hit into an inning-ending double play.
AP Photo/Bill Kostroun Matt Harrison induced six double plays against the Yankees in earning his third win in as many tries this season.
* Harrison contained the damage in the third. An error by Nelson Cruz -- he went back for a ball he gets 98 percent of the time and it went off his glove for a two-base error -- led to a run scored for the Yankees. But with a runner at first with one out, Harrison got Teixeira to hit into a 4-6-3 double play.
* Perhaps the biggest double play for Harrison was in the fifth. Jeter hit a ball right back to the mound, where Harrison fielded it and threw high to second base. Andrus jumped and grabbed it, landed on the bag and still had time to throw to first to convert the twin-killing. It wasn't the only double play that Harrison started. He got Andruw Jones to hit into one in the seventh.
* The Rangers' penchant for aggressive baserunning helped in the fifth. As soon as rookie Ivan Nova uncorked a 50-footer that barely made the dirt in front of the batter's box, Mitch Moreland (from second) and Julio Borbon (from first) moved up a base. That allowed Ian Kinsler's ground ball to score Moreland with the third run of the game.
* David Robertson came in with one out in the fifth and promptly threw a wild pitch in the dirt. Elvis Andrus and Michael Young didn't waste any time scrambling to the next base to put two runners in scoring position with one out. Another wild pitch with two outs allowed Andrus to score to make it 5-1.
* The Rangers ended up with three runs scored on three walks and three wild pitches in the fifth. They had just one hit in the inning.
* Cruz made a nice adjustment on a low pitch in the zone from Nova in the second, taking an inside-out swing and sending the ball to right. Cruz is working on going with the pitch sometimes and that was a good example. The hit moved Adrian Beltre over to third and he eventually scored.
* Beltre hit a double to lead off the second inning and scored on David Murphy's double play. After a slow start, Beltre is hitting .286 (8-for-28) with two homers, three doubles, six RBIs and five runs scored.
* There is one area where Beltre is still looking to produce: Batting with runners in scoring position. He's now 1-for-15.
* Michael Young came into Friday's game on a roll at new Yankee Stadium. He only added to that with an RBI double in the third and an RBI single in the fifth. Young has now hit safely in all 13 career games at the new palace (10 regular season, three ALCS). Including Friday's game, Young is hitting .396 overall and .400 in the regular season, tied for second-best average of any opponent at new Yankee Stadium.
* The double by Young was the 353rd of his career, passing Pudge Rodriguez for most doubles in franchise history.
* Lance Pendleton had a nice Major League debut for the Yankees, retiring all nine Rangers he faced.
* In the "rematch" of Alex Rodriguez vs. Neftali Feliz, A-Rod hit a long double to left center that was almost out. Of course, Feliz struck out Rodriguez to end Game 6 of the ALCS last year. Rodriguez seemed to think it was out, which might explain how he ended up at second base. Feliz gave up a run on a pinch-hit single by Eric Chavez. Feliz put two runners on and then got Russell Martin to fly ou to end the game.