ARLINGTON, Texas -- It's probably indicative of the kind of season the Yankees are having that even on a night when they fill an egg carton with runs, they still manage to find themselves in a nail-biter of a game.
That's because they never seem to get all the moving parts of this machine to work in sync. Tonight, the offense clicked, but the pitching, especially the bullpen, struggled, and as a result, a game that should have been a laugher was a groaner until the final out, when David Robertson, who allowed the Rangers to pull within a run, got Adrian Beltre to fly out to the warning track with the bases loaded. Despite walking three and allowing two hits, Robertson escaped with his 27th save of the season. But it's not one he will brag about to his grandkids.
Starter Brandon McCarthy (3-0 as a Yankee) pitched acceptably -- 6 IP, 9 H, 4 ERs -- but Adam Warren and Dellin Betances, so reliable earlier in the season, combined to surrender four seventh-inning runs that turned a rout into a much closer game than it should have been. Still, a win is a win, and if the Yankees want to stay in the wild-card hunt, they can't afford to blow games like this, or really, to lose any more to teams as bad as the Rangers.
Fatal blow: Despite the Yankees scoring 10 runs through seven innings, this one was still up for grabs until Mark Teixeira, making his first start in nine days, belted a 2-2 pitch from Neal Cotts into the left-field seats with a runner aboard to make it a 12-8 game. It was Tex's team-leading 18th home run and 50th RBI. He also walked three times and scored after two of them.
Season high: The Yankees had their biggest inning of the season in the sixth, when they sent 11 men to the plate and scored seven runs, six of them earned. Previously they had had three five-run innings, the most recent on June 24 in Toronto. And their 12 runs snapped an 83-game streak of single-digit games, their longest such streak in the DH (post-1973) era.
It's not just Yu, Darvish: Gardner, who cracked two home runs off Yu Darvish Monday night, belted the second pitch he saw from Nick Martinez into the right-center field seats to give the Yankees a 1-0 lead. Gardner now has 13 HRs, more than any other Yankee not named Mark Teixeira. He also had three other hits, including two doubles, and through the first two games of this series has seven hits in 10 at-bats.
Nicked up: The Yankees chased Rangers starter Nick Martinez, who had shut them out for 5 1/3 innings last week, with seven sixth-inning runs to take an 8-4 lead, with a big assist to Derek Jeter, who hustled to first on what looked like a routine groundout, and to Joe Girardi, who successfully challenged the call after Jeter was originally called out.
Jeter's infield hit, which followed a Brett Gardner leadoff double -- his third hit of the night -- keyed an inning that featured a two-run single off the glove of 1B J.P. Arencibia by Carlos Beltran, an RBI single by Zoilo Almonte, and a two-run double by Brendan Ryan that sailed over the head of CF Leonys Martin. The final run scored on an outfield error on RF Alex Rios, who allowed Gardner's long fly ball to glance off his glove and into the face of Martin, allowing Ryan to score from second.
Career night: Rangers first baseman J.P. Arencibia came into the game batting .152 with four home runs and 15 RBIs. He left it hitting .183 with six home runs and 22 RBIs after going 4-for-5 with two homers, two doubles and seven RBIs. His grand slam off Dellin Betances on a 3-2 fastball clocked at 97 mph cut the Yankees' lead to 10-8 and no doubt caused whatever traces of black hair Girardi still had on his head to turn snow white. The Yankees could not retire Arencibia until David Robertson struck him out leading off the ninth.
Two-out meltdown: Just as David Phelps had done in the fifth inning on Monday, McCarthy got two quick outs in the third, but couldn't put the Rangers away. Instead, they strung together four hits, capped by J.P Arencibia's two-run double, to take a 3-1 lead. And it might have been worse had Gardner not made a spectacular sliding catch to rob Shin-Soo Choo of a probable double for the first out of the inning.