Yankees, with biggest offensive surge since April, top Rangers, 12-11
ARLINGTON, Texas — The Yankees decided to follow Brett Gardner’s lead Tuesday, and the result was an offensive outpouring of rare occasion.
Gardner homered again, and paced the Yankees with four hits. Everyone in the lineup save Brian McCann scored as the Yankees trampled starter Nick Martinez then the Texas Rangers bullpen. They did not stop until they had reached double-digits on the scoreboard for the first time since April 24.
The final score, 12-11, provided reason to exhale. The Yankees had totaled 10 runs in losing their previous three games. A late charge against a wobbly Yankees bullpen that allowed seven demonstrated each of those runs Tuesday was necessary.
Since the Yankees dealt Vidal Nuno — another one of their stopgap starters — to the Arizona Diamondbacks for Brandon McCarthy on July 6, the beanpole right-hander has looked a transformed pitcher and helped stabilize the wounded rotation. McCarthy lost 10 times with Arizona, but his diving fastball has returned in pinstripes.
In three starts, McCarthy won twice and ceded a sum of six runs, only half of those earned. Against the Rangers, though, McCarthy allowed that many in the third inning.
The Rangers again rallied with two out. They collected three consecutive singles before J.P. Arencibia concluded the outburst with a double to left that scored a pair.
The Rangers led, 3-1, and Arencibia tacked a run in the fourth when he looped a fastball over the wall in right. Even though McCarthy lasted through the sixth and collected his third Yankees win, Arencibia nearly lifted the Rangers on his own.
He smacked a grand slam off Dellin Betances in the seventh and drove in seven runs (nine total in the series) with his four extra-base hits.
Martinez played his college ball in the Bronx at Fordham, but to the Yankees he was largely a mystery. Even though Martinez threw a scoreless start against the Yankees a week ago, no one in the order had more than a pair of at-bats against the 23-year-old righty.
Martinez is a straightforward thrower. His fastball grazes the low-90s, and he has a slider that comes in around 85 miles an hour. More than anything, he relies on hope the ball is hit to one of his defenders.
For most of the game, the Yankees did just that and Martinez puzzled. He ended the fifth by threading a fastball over the plate to freeze Zoilo Almonte, then a slider that left Brendan Ryan motionless. At that point, the Yankees had three hits and only scored on Gardner’s third leadoff home run of the season.
The Yankees invested millions during the offseason to load the core of their lineup with muscle. But it is Gardner — not newcomers Carlos Beltran or McCann — who is second on the club with 13 home runs. Globe Life Park has become a favorite launching pad. Gardner has dropped three balls into the right field seats this series.
In the sixth inning, the Yankees finally got a read on Martinez. Naturally, Gardner started the trouble with a double into the right-field corner (he has seven hits this series). A replay showed Derek Jeter safe at first on an infield single, and the Yankees were off.
A bases-loaded single by Beltran brought in two runs. The next batter, McCann, tied the game, 4-4, with a sacrifice fly, and Martinez soon left.
Shawn Tolleson entered and the Yankees went into overdrive. Almonte singled in a run and Ryan doubled home a pair. The Rangers’ lead, three runs at the start of the inning, had evaporated and then so did their cool. Gardner pounded a fly ball to right that deflected off Alex Rios’ glove then the forehead of Leonys Martin. The Yankees led 8-4 as Gardner raced into third on the error that punctuated their biggest inning of the season.