ARLINGTON, Texas -- On paper, this looked like the worst Yankees lineup since some split-squad game back in early spring training. But on the field, it looked good enough to beat the Texas Rangers and Derek Holland, who shut the Yankees out on two hits last month at the Stadium.
This time, it was the little people who did the big damage -- Brent Lillibridge, Eduardo Nunez, Austin Romine -- and a 38-year-old starting pitcher who turned in yet another big-time performance as the Yankees finished up their Texas swing with a 2-0 shutout.
What it means: The Yankees get outta Dodge with a split of this four-game series and salvage a not-too-bad 3-4 road trip coming out of the All-Star break.
Hiro-ik: Hiroki Kuroda, the indisputable ace of the Yankees' pitching staff, turned in another gem, shutting the Rangers out on six singles over seven innings. For the month of July, Kuroda has gone 3-0 in four starts and -- get this -- has allowed just two earned runs in 26 innings for an ERA of 0.69. You read that right.
Legging it out: The Yankees' second run scored on the strength of Nunez's legs, which beat out a potential inning-ending double play grounder, allowing Robinson Cano (leadoff double) to score from third. Nunez then ran the Yankees out of the inning by getting thrown out trying to steal second, but no matter. The legs had already done their job.
Grounded: There had only been three ground-rule doubles all year at The Ballpark before Thursday, when the Yankees hit two of them. The second one, by Romine in the seventh inning, was a doozy since it probably would have scored Adams from first if the ball hadn't bounced over the center-field wall and onto the grass berm beyond. Adams was sent back to third and the Yankees failed to score when Ichiro Suzuki grounded out, depriving them of what might have been a crucial insurance run.
Lilli-putians: It was the mini-Yankees -- the Nunezes, the David Adamses, the Romines and yes, the Lillibridges -- of the lineup who provided the bulk of the offense. In addition to his RBI groundout, Nunez had a double. Lillibridge, who had the game-winning hit Tuesday night, drove in a run with a sixth-inning double and Romine, who has struggled with the bat all season, doubled twice, the second a hard-luck shot that bounced over the wall, costing the Yankees a run (see above).
Gettin' no respect: Romine had a career-high three hits, but when the official scorer in the Texas press box made the announcement, he misidentified the Yankees' rookie catcher as "Andrew Romine."
What's next: The flight home, followed by the opener of a three-game series with the surging Tampa Bay Rays. Pitching matchups: CC Sabathia (9-8, 4.37) vs. RHP Chris Archer (5-3, 2.76) on Friday, 7:05 p.m.; Ivan Nova (4-3, 3.66) vs. LHP Matt Moore (14-3, 3.17) on Saturday afternoon, and Phil Hughes (4-9, 4.33) vs. RHP Roberto Hernandez (5-11, 4.92) on Sunday.