Moving two games over .500 has been a problem all season for the Texas Rangers. Finally accomplishing that against a pitcher that has dominated them lately would be particularly satisfying.
With Sunday’s 5-1 victory over visiting Philadelphia, Texas (42-41) moved one game over .500 for the seventh time this season, but they have lost the next contest each time. The latest example came Saturday when the Rangers followed a series-opening 8-7 victory with an 8-6 defeat.
Mussina is 6-0 with a 2.72 ERA in his last nine starts against the Rangers, last losing to them on May 18, 2003. His 17 career wins versus Texas are tied with Boston’s Bartolo Colon and San Francisco’s Barry Zito for the most among active pitchers.
Mussina threw 46 pitches Thursday at Pittsburgh before the game was postponed by rain with New York leading 3-1 in the third inning. He had won nine straight decisions before a 4-2 loss to Cincinnati on June 20.
Texas also has struggled against the Yankees (44-38), losing five of six meetings in 2007, and 20 of 26 in the series since the start of the 2005 season.
Eric Hurley pitched into the sixth inning for his first major league win, and fellow rookie Chris Davis homered Sunday as the Rangers took two of three from NL East-leading Philadelphia.
Davis, called up from the minors Thursday, became the first Rangers player to homer in each of his first two starts.
Ian Kinsler went 3-for-4 to extend his hitting streak to 12 games. He is batting .429 (21-for-49) with three homers and eight RBIs during his run.
“Things happen and you have to bring people up,” Kinsler said. “Those were the kids that were in line and they’re coming up here and pulling their weight. That’s all you ask. The more opportunities they get, the more growth they’ll have.”
Coming off a four-game split with the crosstown New York Mets, the Yankees look to finish a successful June with a 17-11 record. They have won 16 of 24 since opening the month with three losses.
“We’ve obviously played better the last month than we played the first two months, and I’m happy about that,” Yankees manager Joe Girardi told the team’s official Web site. “Health is part of that. We have our lineup back.”
New York’s pitching staff, which ranks eighth in the AL in ERA (4.21), will be tested by the Rangers, who lead the majors in runs scored (456) and are tied for second in batting average (.280).
Scott Feldman (1-3, 4.60) hopes to make Yankee Stadium the site of his first career road win. The right-hander is 0-7 with a 6.72 ERA in 43 career road appearances, including five starts. He is 0-2 with a 4.88 ERA in eight overall starts since beating Oakland on May 9.
Feldman needed 99 pitches to get through four innings Wednesday against Houston, leaving without a decision after allowing two runs and six hits in the Rangers’ 3-2 win.
He has made one relief appearance against the Yankees, yielding a three-run homer to Derek Jeter in one-third of an inning on May 16, 2006.