NEW YORK -- Rangers reliever Chris Martin went right to the point on what happened in his seventh-inning matchup against Yankees third baseman Miguel Andujar."He's looking for a fastball up in the zone," Martin said. "I put it on a tee, and he hit it out."Andujar hit a two-run home
NEW YORK -- Rangers reliever Chris Martin went right to the point on what happened in his seventh-inning matchup against Yankees third baseman Miguel Andujar.
"He's looking for a fastball up in the zone," Martin said. "I put it on a tee, and he hit it out."
Andujar hit a two-run home run in the bottom of the seventh to lift the Yankees to a 5-3 victory over the Rangers on a wet Saturday afternoon at Yankee Stadium. The Rangers had the bases loaded in the ninth against Albertin Chapman, but the closer struck out Jurickson Profar to end the game.
"We have been in this situation before against Chapman and come out on top," Rangers manager Jeff Banister said. "I like our approach against Chapman. Tough conditions, but we were one hit away from tying that game up. Like how our guys battled at the end against a premier pitcher."
The Yankees needed four relievers to finish this one after starter Lance Lynn allowed one run in five innings. All four relievers used -- Player Page for David Robertson, Zach Britton, Dellin Betances and Chapman -- have been selected to a combined 12 All-Star Games.
The Rangers' relievers don't quite have the same resume. This is not the same bullpen that finished the first half by going 8-5 with a 2.57 ERA and a .231 opponents' batting average in their final 44 games before the All-Star break.
That bullpen has been eroded by the trades of Keone Kela, Jesse Chavez and Jake Diekman, as well as injuries to Matt Bush and Tony Barnette. The Rangers are still trying to figure out how to use who is left. Since the All-Star break, Rangers relievers are 1-5 with a 7.35 ERA, and opponents are hitting .291 off them.
"We are finding out what these guys can do in certain situations," Banister said. "Moving forward, we'll continue to maneuver our guys around and see what kind of feel they have for all the different kinds of situations. We still have a lot of confidence in these guys."
Rangers starter Andrew Hutchison went 5 1/3 innings and left with Texas trailing, 2-1, with one out in the sixth. The Yankees had a runner on second, and Banister brought in rookie left-hander Jeffrey Springs because he wanted switch-hitter Neil Walker hitting from the right side. Walker is hitting .174 from that side, but he delivered an RBI single to give the Yankees a two-run lead.
"Springs has shown us some tenacity on the mound, the ability to throw the fastball/changeup combination to get Major League hitters out," Banister said. "That's my decision to bring in Springs. It didn't work out. That one is on me."
The Rangers had scored twice to tie the game in the top of the seventh on a bases-loaded walk from Britton and a balk from Betances, but it didn't stay that way. After Springs got Brett Gardner to fly out to start the inning, Banister brought in Martin to face the Yankees' big hitters. Giancarlo Stanton singled, Didi Gregorius flied out and Andujar followed with the go-ahead home run on a first-pitch fastball.
"It wasn't a smart pitch," Martin said. "I had a good idea of what he was going to do. I knew he was going to ambush me. If I got the pitch down in the zone, there would have been a different result. But I got it up, and you saw what happened. I wasn't comfortable with the pitch. That's on me. But if the ball is down, it's a ground ball to second base instead of two runs."
Martin has had plenty of moments this season where he has handled those situations superbly. Saturday wasn't one of them.
"One of those decisions we make you feel confident about," Banister said. "It didn't work out. It's on me."
Maybe, but that's where the Rangers' bullpen is right now.
MOMENTS THAT MATTERED
Elvis Andrus had an RBI single with one out in the third inning that cut the Yankees' lead to 2-1. But with Adrian Beltre at the plate, Andrus tried to take second on a pitch in the dirt and catcher Kyle Higashioka made a nice block on the pitch. He was able to throw out Andrus.
Shin-Soo Choo has reached base in 10 of 16 plate appearances over three games against the Yankees. He has six hits and two walks, and he has been hit by two pitches in the series.
YOU GOTTA SEE THIS
The Rangers trailed, 3-1, in the seventh, but Britton allowed two-out singles to Choo and Rougned Odor. He then walked Andrus and Beltre to force in a run. Betances took over to face Profar and got ahead 1-2 in the count. Then Odor faked a move toward home, Betances flinched and a balk was called, bringing in the tying run.
HE SAID IT
"I feel fine right now. I don't know how I'm going to feel later." -- Beltre, after taking a 100-mph fastball to the leg in the ninth inning against Chapman
Left-hander Martin Perez makes his 11th start of the season when he faces the Yankees at 12:05 p.m. CT Sunday at Yankee Stadium. This will be Perez's sixth start since being activated off the disabled list. He is 0-1 with a 3.56 ERA in his past five starts. He has won his past two starts against the Yanks, though, with both victories coming in Arlington. This will be the first time he has pitched in the Bronx. Left-hander Carsten Sabathia starts for New York.
T.R. Sullivan has covered the Rangers since 1989, and for MLB.com since 2006. Follow him on Twitter @Sullivan_Ranger and listen to his podcast.