ARLINGTON, Texas -- Joe Nathan blew only his second save of the season, allowing two runs in the top of the ninth as the New York Yankees rallied for a 5-4 victory over the Texas Rangers on Tuesday night.
Yankees closer Mariano Rivera struck out the side for his 32nd save.
Yanks get Nathan: Nathan had saved 15 straight before Tuesday night. With one out, Nathan walked Vernon Wells, who went to second when Nathan slipped on the mound on a slider and threw a wild pitch. Nathan stayed in the game after a visit from manager Ron Washington and the team trainer and allowed a game-tying triple to Eduardo Nunez. Brent Lillibridge, who had a key error earlier in the game, gave the Yankees a 5-4 lead with a single to left field.
Bullpen starts strong: The Rangers bullpen ran its streak of consecutive scoreless innings to 25⅓ before Nathan blew the save. The bullpen had to go extra time on Tuesday night, as Alexi Ogando went only five innings and left trailing 3-0. Ross Wolf had two strikeouts in a 1-2-3 sixth, setting up the Rangers to take the lead with their four-run bottom of the inning. Jason Frasor handled the bottom of the Yankees' lineup in the seventh. Neal Cotts got two lineouts and a fly ball in the top of the eighth.
Ogando goes five: Ogando went five innings in his first start since June 5, allowing three runs on six hits. He threw only 78 pitches, but, as well as the Rangers bullpen is going, Washington used that advantage against the struggling Yankees.
Rangers erupt in sixth: The Rangers took advantage of a Yankee mistake in the bottom of the sixth to score four runs and take a 4-3 lead. After Phil Hughes got Jurickson Profar to ground out to second, Lillibridge made an error on a ground ball to third base that deflected off his glove, allowing Nelson Cruz to reach first. Adrian Beltre followed with a double to center field to score Cruz and cut New York's lead to 3-1. Beltre then made the critical decision of the inning: tagging up to third on a fly ball to center field by A.J. Pierzynski. Elvis Andrus then hit a sharp line drive to right field. Beltre, who is not running well because of hamstring issues, was able to score from third base to cut the lead to 3-2. The Yankees went to left-handed reliever Boone Logan, and Mitch Moreland crushed a two-run home run to give the Rangers a 4-3 lead.
Moreland gets a lefty: Moreland had been on an 0-for-12 stretch against left-handed pitchers before his go-ahead, two-run home run off Logan. It was Moreland's second homer off a lefty in 104 at-bats. It was the Rangers' third home run since the All-Star break, joining Cruz's on Monday and Beltre's on Sunday. Moreland also hit his home run on the night the Rangers debuted two new sandwiches in tribute to their first baseman -- the Mitchwich Wild features ground buffalo and elk, and the Mitchwich Mild, which is an elk burger patty topped with bacon and other items.
Rangers waste doubles: The Rangers had leadoff doubles in the first and third innings and didn't score. The Yankees started innings with doubles in the third and fourth and scored both times. The Rangers gave up an out to score in the bottom of the first, as Ian Kinsler started the inning with a double and Andrus moved him to third on a sacrifice bunt. But Cruz bounced back to the pitcher, and, after Beltre walked, Pierzynski flew out to left field. Engel Beltre doubled to start the bottom of the third but didn't move, even after Profar drew a one-out walk. Cruz struck out and Beltre flew out to center.
Up next: The Rangers debut right-hander Matt Garza against Yankees left-hander Andy Pettitte (7-7, 4.47 ERA) at 7:05 p.m. Wednesday night on Fox Sports Southwest and ESPN Dallas 103.3 FM and 1540-AM. The four-game series concludes with left-hander Derek Holland (8-5, 3.10) going up against Yankees right-hander Hiroki Kuroda (9-6, 2.65) at 1:05 p.m. Thursday afternoon.