Rangers 7, Yankees 6

BY foxsports • September 12, 2010

Mariano Rivera stood on the mound with his hands on his hips. He couldn't believe what he just did, couldn't believe the Yankees just found another wild way to lose.

And he probably wasn't too fond of the Texas Rangers celebrating as if they had won more than just a second straight marathon.

Pitching in the ninth inning with a one-run lead, Rivera allowed a tying double to Ian Kinsler, then plunked Jeff Francoeur on the left shoulder with the bases loaded, giving the Rangers a 7-6 victory over the Yankees on Saturday night.

New York had been a majors-best 76-0 when leading after eight innings. Rivera had never lost on a game-ending hit batter, according to STATS LLC.

It was the first time the Rangers had ever won a game on a plunked final batter. The last team to win that way was the Yankees, against the Athletics on July 19, 2008.

''That's a first for me; I'm pretty sure I won't see it again,'' Texas captain Michael Young said. ''Against Mariano, you take it any way you can get it. It was fun to be involved in.''

Long, too.

The game lasted 4 hours, 16 minutes, the second-longest nine-inning game in Rangers history. But that doesn't count the 59-minute rain delay in the bottom of the fifth. The really draining part is that it came the day after a 13-inning game that took 5 hours, 12 minutes.

Rivera (3-3) threw two innings in that game, but didn't blame the workload on his poor outing. It was his third blown save in 32 chances. He had nailed his last 11.

''In a situation like that, I can't walk the leadoff batter,'' Rivera said. ''That's what bothers me most.''

What he failed to mention is that the leadoff batter was Vladimir Guerrero, who from time to time will swing at anything from his cleats to his batting helmet, and from dugout to dugout.

Nelson Cruz, who hit solo homers for the tying and winning runs Friday night, followed with a long at-bat that ended with a single to right, moving pinch-runner Esteban German to third base. Then Kinsler doubled down the third-base line to tie it.

''I fell behind and he hit the ball in the perfect place,'' Rivera said. ''He didn't hit it hard, he placed it. You want a ground ball, but it was in the right place.''

After an intentional walk to load the bases, Rivera's first pitch hit Francoeur. His reaction probably overemphasized the blow, but it made certain what had happened.

''I was looking for that cutter, but it kept running and running and it hit me,'' Francoeur said. ''I'll take it every day.''

As Cruz trotted home for the winning run, teammates rushed to the greet him at the plate for a second straight night.

Team owner Nolan Ryan smiled and led the cheers from the front row. Much of the crowd of 49,210 - second-largest this season - stuck around to watch the Rangers win their fourth straight game, and second straight over a possible first-round playoff foe, all after blowing leads of 4-2 and 5-3.

''We enjoy these kind of games,'' Young said. ''They're long and emotionally taxing, but they're the kind you want to be involved in.''

The Yankees lost for the fifth time in six games. Their lead in the AL East dipped to a half-game because Tampa Bay beat Toronto 13-1.

Alex Rodriguez put New York ahead 6-5 with a three-run double in the eighth. But the Yankees ultimately were bitten by some earlier missed opportunities - leaving the bases loaded in the second and sixth, and pinch-hitter Jorge Posada hitting into a double-play with one out and the bases loaded in the seventh.

Alexi Ogando (4-1) pitched the ninth for the victory.

Mark Teixeira was 2 for 4 and scored twice for New York. Lance Berkman went 2 for 3 with two walks and an RBI; he has seven hits in his last 12 at-bats. Francisco Cervelli reached base in his first four plate appearances, with a single and three walks. He also walked three times Friday night.

Guerrero had three hits and two RBIs. Francoeur broke a tie earlier in the game with a sacrifice fly. Elvis Andrus and Mitch Moreland also had RBIs.

It was hot and humid before the rain. New York starter A.J. Burnett seemed to have trouble with his grip late in innings, as his sweat built up. Neither starter returned after the rain delay.

Burnett gave up two runs and four hits over four innings, with six strikeouts and three walks.

Texas starter Tommy Hunter allowed two runs and six hits over five innings, with a career-high eight strikeouts.

NOTES: Yankees SS Derek Jeter, mired in slumps of 2 for 18 and 7 for 61, did not start for just the sixth time this season. Manager Joe Girardi insisted it was because of the long game Friday night. ... Hunter, who has had two strikeout-free starts this season, got his eight Ks in the first 12 outs. ... Burnett ended all four of his innings with a strikeout. ... Posada is scheduled to be back behind the plate Sunday after missing three starts with concussion symptoms.

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