ARLINGTON – Matt Garza couldn’t have asked for a much better first impression. Neither could the Texas Rangers from their newly acquired starter.
Garza showed why he was regarded as the top available starter on the trade market, allowing an unearned run over 7 1/3 innings. He got the win, too, in the Rangers’ 3-1 victory over the New York Yankees on Wednesday night.
The Rangers won for just the second time in their last six games, but positioned themselves to win the four-game series on Thursday afternoon.
Garza, acquired from the Chicago Cubs on Monday, worked out of an early jam in the first inning. Brett Gardner and Ichiro Suzuki singled to start the game, but Garza struck out Robinson Cano and Lyle Overbay and then got Vernon Wells to ground out.
That started a stretch where Garza retired 15 of the next 16 batters before Gardner reached on an infield single and advanced to third on a throwing error by Garza to start the sixth inning. That error proved costly, as Gardner scored two batters later on a single by Cano to tie the game at 1-1.
But the Rangers answered in their half of the sixth. A.J. Pierzynski lofted a two-out solo homer to right for a 2-1 lead off Yankees starter Andy Pettitte.
Pierzynski drove in the first two runs of the night, as he had a two-out RBI single in the first. It’s not too surprising, though. Pierzynski has had success throughout his career against Pettitte, as he is now 12 for 33 (.364) with six RBIs.
David Murphy added a key insurance run in the eighth with a solo homer to right-center field.
Those three runs were enough for Garza and a pair of relievers. Neal Cotts retired the four left-handed batters he faced to close out the eighth and retire the first two batters of the ninth.
Joe Nathan then entered and gave up a single to Wells. But he got Eduardo Nunez to fly out to end the game, and earned his 32nd save of the season a night after he blew only his second save opportunity of the year.
It was the 330th save in Nathan's career, tying him for 11th all-time with former Ranger and Yankee closer John Wetteland.
-- Drew Davison