Prince Fielder provided plenty of power, hitting a pair of long drives. Yet in a game of home run derby at Yankee Stadium, it all came down to pitching and defense.
Surprise closer Ross Ohlendorf made just enough good pitches, and second baseman Tommy Field swooped in to glove the final out.
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Fielder launched two homers, drove in four runs and helped the Texas Rangers hold off New York 10-9 Friday night for their third straight win. The Yankees have lost four in a row and eight of nine.
"We needed all of those," Fielder said. "Hopefully we don’t have to do that much often."
Quickly down 7-0 and still trailing 10-5, New York rallied in the eighth inning on pinch hitter Garrett Jones’ three-run homer.
Ohlendorf took over to begin the ninth, gave up a one-out home run to Mark Teixeira and walked Chase Headley with two outs. Stephen Drew followed with a hard one-hopper that glanced off Ohlendorf’s stomach, and Field rushed in to retrieve the ball and throw to first.
"It’s about scoring one more run," Texas manager Jeff Banister said.
Ohlendorf wound up with his first career save. Shawn Tolleson earned saves the previous two days for Texas and didn’t warm up.
Now in his eighth big league season for his fifth club, the 32-year-old Ohlendorf had gotten one previous save opportunity in his career.
"Oh, it’s exciting to get one in a one-run game at Yankee Stadium," said Ohlendorf, who kept the game ball as a souvenir.
Back home after a 2-7 trip, the Yankees watched Fielder’s three-run shot sail into the second deck during a seven-run burst in the third inning. A throwing error by Michael Pineda (5-2) and a misplay by shortstop Didi Gregorius set up homers by Fielder and Mitch Moreland.
"The walks, the errors that we made — we gave them too many outs and too many baserunners and it cost us the game," manager Joe Girardi said.
"I look at the extra outs we’ve been giving and that’s the difference in the streak a little bit and it cost us a couple of games."
Fielder added his seventh homer this year in the seventh for an 8-4 lead. Before the game, the Yankees played historic highlights on their videoboard, including a clip of his dad, Cecil, contributing as they won 1996 World Series.
Fielder kept up his recent tear, connecting for his 26th career multihomer game and first since April 5, 2013. Sidelined most of last year after neck surgery, the burly slugger is hitting .364 with five homers and 13 RBIs in his last 11 games.
Alex Rodriguez got his 1,992nd RBI, tying Babe Ruth for fourth place on the all-time list. The Yankees cited the Elias Sports Bureau, the statistician of Major League Baseball, and said A-Rod was one behind Lou Gehrig for third. The RBI stat became official in 1920.
Rodriguez doubled early, and his single with two outs in the seventh finished Colby Lewis (4-2). The 35-year-old righty threw only one pitch of his 105 over 90 mph, and was tagged by Gregorius’ three-run homer in the fourth.
Field doubled, singled and drove in two runs for Texas. It was his sacrifice bunt that caused real trouble for the Yankees, with Pineda looking toward a possible forceout at third before throwing wide to first, loading the bases with no outs.
Delino DeShields followed with a grounder in the hole that Gregorius tried to backhand, but the ball bounced him for a two-run error. After Shin-Soo Choo hit an RBI single, Fielder homered deep to right field. One batter later, Moreland homered to almost the same spot.
Slade Heathcott hustled for a double for his first big league hit, later singled and also reached on a rare catcher’s interference call for the Yankees. Gregorius and Jones hit their first homers for New York.
In the ninth inning, a little chant of "Let’s go, Rangers!" broke out. It was for another set of Rangers — New York’s team in the NHL playoffs, taking on Tampa Bay.
Rangers: 1B/OF Kyle Blanks was put on the 15-day DL after being treated for a cyst near his tailbone. OF Jake Smolinski came up from Triple-A.
Yankees: Girardi said he didn’t think OF Jacoby Ellsbury, put on the disabled list Wednesday with a knee sprain, would be ready in 15 days. But Girardi said he didn’t think it would be a long DL stint.
Rangers: Saturday starter Nick Martinez (3-0, 1.88) played two seasons of college ball 3 miles from Yankee Stadium. The 24-year-old righty was 1-3 with a 5.54 ERA in 15 relief appearances at Fordham.
Yankees: CC Sabathia (2-5, 4.67) has won two straight starts after a tough beginning.