Yankees battered in Texas again; deficit in East grows

ARLINGTON, Texas (AP) -- The New York Yankees used to be able to count on a successful road trip to Texas. Now they're sitting on two straight Lone Star losses.

Josh Hamilton hit his 27th homer, rookie Matt Harrison pitched into the seventh inning and the Texas Rangers hung on for an 8-6 win over the Yankees on Tuesday night.

Texas ended a 10-game home losing streak to the Yankees on Monday night, 9-5. On Tuesday night, the Yankees got closer, but they still couldn't contain the highest scoring offense in the majors.

"These were two hard losses, games we had a chance to win," manager Joe Girardi said. "You've got to put it behind you."

New York has dropped seven of 10 and fell 6 games behind AL-East leading Tampa Bay.

"With 49 games remaining, every game is important," Alex Rodriguez said. "You can't panic but you have to take it with a sense of urgency."

Pitching continues to be an issue for the Yankees. Andy Pettitte (12-9) allowed five runs and six hits in five-plus innings.

"Part of it has been pitching," Girardi said of the team's recent slump. "We haven't held opponents below five runs in many of those games. We haven't come up with big hits. It's a combination of a lot of different things."

Texas took an 8-2 lead into the eighth, but Richie Sexson's grand-slam off C.J. Wilson made it a two-run game.

Wilson, the Rangers' closer, was in the game in a non-save situation to work out some mechanical problems with his delivery. But Wilson walked Bobby Abreu, hit Rodriguez with a pitch, and after Xavier Nady struck out, Sexson blasted his 15th career grand slam.

The Rangers placed Wilson on the 15-day disabled list after the game with bone spurs in his left elbow.

Eddie Guardado got three outs for his third save in three chances. Guardado, who takes over as the Rangers' primary closer in Wilson's absence, polished off the save by getting A-Rod to ground into a double play.

The Rangers have earned the Yankees' respect this season, taking four of the first five meetings.

"You can classify Texas as a pretty good team," New York's Johnny Damon said. "Their offense is one of the best around. They take their swings and they take their walks."

Harrison (3-2) allowed two runs and five hits in 6 1/3 innings. He started the night with a 7.40 ERA. He shut out the Yankees on three hits in the first five innings of his sixth major league start with the help of three double plays before Derek Jeter's sixth-inning sacrifice fly got the Yankees on the board.

Harrison admitted he was jittery in the first inning, but he soon settled in.

"I was a little nervous because it was the Yankees and I never faced a team of that caliber before," Harrison said. "I've been watching the Yankees since I was little. To pitch against them was unbelievable."

Rookie Chris Davis had a career-high four RBIs for Texas, three on a bases-loaded double in the seventh to stretch the lead to 8-2.

"I've been hit-or-miss lately swinging the bat," Davis said. "I just tried to put the ball in play. Every game against those guys is a high-energy game. It felt to get RBIs in that situation."

In the first, Pettitte issued a two-out walk to Michael Young, and Hamilton jump-started the Texas offense with a two-run shot to pad his major league-leading RBI total to 108.

Marlon Byrd added three hits for the Rangers, who've won six of their last eight to move six games over .500 (60-54) for the first time this season.

Game notes
Home plate umpire Alfonso Marquez warned both dugouts after Yankees reliever Jose Veras hit Hamilton with a pitch in the eighth. In the top of the inning, Wilson plunked Alex Rodriguez and Jamey Wright hit Melky Cabrera with a pitch. Harrison also hit A-Rod in the second inning. After the game, Rodriguez said he didn't think the Rangers were throwing at him. ...Sexson had his first homer since being signed by the Yankees on July 18. ...Rangers RHP Vicente Padilla returned to his native Nicaragua to attend to a family matter. Padilla is expected to rejoin the team for his scheduled start Saturday night in Baltimore. ... Yankees LF Hideki Matsui hit in a batting cage at the team's Tampa facility on Tuesday and remains hopeful he can return from a left knee injury before the season ends. He's been out since June 22. If Matsui can come back, he'll most likely have to play with a knee brace. ...Yankees RHP Carl Pavano will make a rehab start Thursday night for Double-A Trenton. The oft-injured right-hander is trying to come back from reconstructive elbow surgery. Pavano last pitched in the majors in April 2007, and has made just 19 starts since signing a four-year contract worth nearly $40 million contract with the Yankees in 2005. ...Texas DH Milton Bradley missed his seventh straight start due to a strained left quad.