Pettitte's mishaps doom Yanks as early runs enough for Rangers

NEW YORK -- Scott Feldman stayed with the same game plan that has served him well during his successful run in Texas' rotation -- get ground balls and watch the Rangers' defense gobble them up.

Feldman pitched into the seventh inning to win his third consecutive start and the Rangers cooled off the New York Yankees with a 4-2 victory Wednesday night.

Texas shortstop Elvis Andrus robbed Robinson Cano twice, and third baseman Michael Young deftly turned an inning-ending double play on Alex Rodriguez's bases-loaded grounder in the third.

"The play that Michael made was probably the play of the game and I think it really saved us," Feldman said. "Elvis made a couple of spectacular plays, too, as everybody's sort of getting accustomed to now.

"I do better when I keep the ball on the ground. I'm not like a big strikeout type of pitcher."

Andrus and Ian Kinsler each had two hits for Texas, which leapfrogged New York for the best record in the American League. Andrus is batting .417 (10 for 24) in his last seven road games.

Feldman (5-0) allowed two runs, one earned, and five hits in 6 1/3 innings. He is 5-0 with a 2.63 ERA in eight starts since he joined the rotation in April.

"Scott Feldman has been great since we put him in the starting rotation," Texas manager Ron Washington said. "He always does what you need him to do, keep you in the ballgame. He did that tonight very well."

Jorge Posada homered for the second straight day for New York, which had won five of six and 16 of 20. Andy Pettitte, who left his previous start with a stiff back, looked shaky in his five-inning outing.

"I was just not good," Pettitte said. "That's all there is to it."

The Yankees were without first baseman Mark Teixeira, scratched with a bruised right ankle. Teixeira was injured when he made a hard slide into Andrus to break up a double play in New York's 12-3 victory Tuesday night.

C.J. Wilson replaced Feldman with a runner on first in the seventh and got Brett Gardner to ground into a fielder's choice before Derek Jeter took a called third strike to end the inning. Wilson then worked the eighth before Frank Francisco got three outs for his 12th save in 12 opportunities.

Feldman, Wilson and Francisco skillfully adhered to the scouting report on Yankee Stadium, keeping the ball down at New York's cozy new home. Hideki Matsui's fly ball to center for the second out in the ninth was the only putout by a Rangers outfielder.

"We weren't swinging the bats particularly well, but Feldman was good," Yankees manager Joe Girardi said.

Posada's drive leading off the seventh was his eighth of the season and No. 91 at the $1.5 billion field. The record for most homers in the first 25 games at a major league ballpark is 95 at Houston's Enron Field in 2000, according to the Elias Sports Bureau.

Pettitte (5-2) never looked comfortable on a damp and unseasonably cold night in the Bronx. A steady rain fell on the field for about two hours but it let up right before the game, delaying the start by 12 minutes before giving way to a chilly, 55-degree evening.

Pettitte uncharacteristically issued leadoff walks in three of the first four innings and finished with a season-high six in his shortest outing of the year. The 36-year-old lefty walked five in his previous start against Cleveland before leaving in the sixth with a stiff back.

The Rangers took advantage of Pettitte's control problems to score three times in the first. Kinsler walked and scored on Nelson Cruz's one-out single. Murphy followed Cruz's hit with another walk, setting up Marlon Byrd's run-scoring fielder's choice.

Texas wasted a chance for an even bigger start when Byrd was thrown out at third trying to advance on Chris Davis' RBI single, ending the inning.

Pettitte, who said his back was fine, helped the Rangers again in the second. He threw wildly to first on a pickoff attempt, allowing Andrus to reach second. The 20-year-old speedster stole third and scored on Kinsler's single to make it 4-1.

"I was behind, I couldn't get ahead of anybody," Pettitte said. "It was embarrassing, actually. We're playing too good for me to go out there and scuffle like that."

Game notes
Yankees RHP Chien-Ming Wang will start Thursday against Texas, pushing LHP CC Sabathia back to Friday night against Tampa Bay. RHP Phil Hughes will work out of the bullpen for now. ... The Rangers purchased RHP Doug Mathis' contract from Triple-A Oklahoma City and optioned reliever Warner Madrigal to their top farm club. Texas also moved RHP Willie Eyre (strained right groin) to the 60-day disabled list to make room on the 40-man roster for Mathis. ... Jeter went 0 for 4, snapping his season-high 16-game hitting streak.