NEW YORK -- Rangers rookie right-hander Ariel Jurado said he learned a valuable lesson in his first start at Yankee Stadium.
"Don't leave the pitches up," Jurado said.
Jurado may have heard that lesson somewhere before, but it hit home on Thursday night, when he gave up four home runs in five innings and the Yankees muscled their way to a 7-3 victory over the Rangers.The Yanks hit five homers on the night, including two by second baseman Neil Walker, who did so from both sides of the plate for the first time in his career.
Jurado, who relies mainly on a sinker to keep balls from flying out of the park, had allowed just one home run in 15 2/3 innings combined over his first three Major League starts. Even in 16 Minor League starts, he allowed just 12 in 101 2/3 innings.
"I felt the same," Jurado said. "A couple of my sinkers stayed up high, and in this ballpark, the ball flies."
This is the first time a rookie pitcher allowed four home runs in a game in the Bronx since Colby Lewis for the Rangers on Aug. 5, 2003, at the old Yankee Stadium. The only other Rangers rookie pitchers to give up four home runs in a game were Rick Helling on May 11, 1994, against the Angels and Bob Malloy on June 1, 1987, against the White Sox.
"You look at the numbers and say the home runs created the tough situation for him," Rangers manager Jeff Banister said. "But I thought he held his composure well. Got behind some hitters. I thought inside the [game] there were some good sinking fastballs that induced soft contact, and he was able to get some double-play balls. More than anything, I love how he competed on the mound. Situation, first time in this ballpark, he held his composure and continued to compete."
Jurado fell behind right away in the first inning, when Aaron Hicks hit a two-out, two-run home run to give the Yankees a 2-0 lead. The Yankees -- after a home run by Jurickson Profar -- were leading, 2-1, in the bottom of the fourth, when Miguel Andujar hit a two-run shot and Walker followed with another home run.
Both of those homers came on offspeed pitches. Andujar hit a first-pitch slider and Walker hit a 1-1 changeup after Jurado threw him two sinkers. The offspeed pitches are the ones Jurado needs to develop to keep opponents from sitting too much on the sinker.
"His changeup is a good pitch, and his [slider] is a good pitch," Banister said. "They are Major League ready. Where they are in the [count], where they are located, they are good solid pitches. But he's got to execute them in the spot he needs, too. Both were out over the plate."
Shin-Soo Choo had a two-run double in the fifth to make it 5-3, but Giancarlo Stanton showed Jurado what can happen when a good hitter is zeroed in on his sinker. Jurado got Stanton to hit grounders in his first two at-bats, but not in the fifth.
Stanton crushed a 1-1 pitch deep into the left-field seats with one out. That one had an exit velocity of 121.7 mph, the hardest-hit home run since Statcast™ began tracking in 2015.
ON A ROLL
Profar hit his 13th home run of the season with two outs in the fourth for the Rangers' first hit off Yankees starter J.A. Happ -- who allowed three runs on four hits and fanned nine over six innings in his return from the disabled list. Profar has scored a run in five straight games and has recorded at least one RBI in four straight.
Adrian Beltre played in his 2,896th game on Thursday, tying Brooks Robinson for 14th all-time.
• Why so stoic after HR off Felix? Beltre answers
YOU GOTTA SEE THIS
Joey Gallo has played just 12 games in right field and already has five assists. He threw out Stanton trying to score from second base on Didi Gregorius' single to end the third.
HE SAID IT
"I was trying to get back to my approach, and today I didn't feel good. Their guy was making good pitches, and I was chasing the high ball." -- Elvis Andrus, who had a career-high 19-game hitting streak snapped by going 0-for-4
Left-hander Mike Minor pitches against the Yankees at 6:05 p.m. CT on Friday at Yankee Stadium. Minor is 2-0 with a 2.50 ERA in his last three starts, and 4-2 with a 3.26 ERA in his last 10. Opponents are hitting .217 with runners in scoring position against him, ninth-lowest in the American League. He is 3-4 with a 6.50 ERA in nine starts on the road this season. He is making his first start against the Yankees since 2012. New York will counter with right-hander Masahiro Tanaka.