Yankees look for start a win streak against Rangers

NEW YORK — Winning one game is proving hard enough for the New York Yankees recently.

Now they’ll get a second opportunity to win consecutive games for the first time in more than a week Saturday afternoon when they continue a three-game series with the Texas Rangers at Yankee Stadium.

New York last won consecutive games when it put together six straight wins from June 7-12. The Yankees then lost seven in a row for the first time since April 20-27, 2007.

The streak ended with an 8-4 victory over the Los Angeles Angels on Wednesday, but the follow-up was ugly when the Yankees allowed made three errors and were handed a sloppy 10-5 loss after taking a 5-1 loss.

It is the recent performance leading many to wonder about the hot start and if this is the Yankees coming back down to earth after surprising many.

“That’s always a question that we talk about. I think that whenever you struggle for a while, I think people are gonna have a little self-doubt. But I think that’s normal,” Yankees manager Joe Girardi said Friday afternoon. “I think if you’re oblivious to your struggles, then they can’t get better. So they’re all working on correcting them, which I think is a great thing, and we’ll get them ironed out.”

New York is 2-8 in its last 10 games after opening the series with a 2-1 win in 10 innings on Friday. Masahiro Tanaka pitched eight scoreless innings, Brett Gardner homered and Ronald Torreyes delivered the game-winning hit.

“You really need this one” Girardi said after Torreyes won the game at 12:19 a.m. “When you get a performance like that. When you get a performance from Tanaka like that, you need to win that game.”

Torreyes will likely be in the lineup again Saturday since Chase Headley will likely miss his third straight game with a back injury. He will also being throwing across the field to a new first baseman as Tyler Austin will join the Yankees to replace Chris Carter, who was designated for assignment after Friday’s game.

When Texas visited the Yankees last season, it had the best record in baseball, but this season the Rangers have hovered around .500 and are a game below after Elvis Andrus scored the only run on a passed ball in the ninth.

The Rangers are 9-5 in their last 14 games but will look to rebound after being held to four hits, striking out 12 times and going 0-for-7 with runners in scoring position.

Elvis Andrus and Jonathan Lucroy had two hits apiece, but Carlos Gomez and Joey Gallo struck out three times apiece.

If the Rangers had a lead into the late innings, they’ll hope their bullpen can hold it this time.

Matt Bush blew his fourth save chance and Texas blew its 14th save opportunity. The Rangers’ 11 saves are tied with the Chicago White Sox for the fewest in the American League.

“It’s very difficult,” Bush said. “I feel the weight of these losses. It’s very tough mentally. I’m going to grind. I’m in a battle.”

The latest blown save occurred after the Texas bullpen went 13 scoreless innings since Bush allowed two runs to Toronto on Monday.

Right-hander Luis Cessa makes his second start for the Yankees in place of CC Sabathia (hamstring). Cessa allowed four runs in four innings during a 4-3 loss at Oakland on Sunday.

Cessa is 2-5 with a 4.37 ERA in 10 career starts.

Last season, Cessa faced the Rangers as a reliever and was the winning pitcher in a 9-7 win on June 29 that was decided on a homer by Didi Gregorius.

Austin Bibens-Dirkx makes his fifth start for the Rangers on Saturday and first appearance against the Yankees. He is 1-0 with a 4.86 ERA as a starting pitcher.

Biibens-Dirkx took the no decision in a 7-6 loss to the Toronto Blue Jays on Monday when he allowed five runs and five hits in five innings.