Yankees 6, Rangers 2

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NEW YORK (AP)—Despite his big hits, Derek Jeter wanted to make it perfectly clear what’s most important to the New York Yankees.

“We win and lose with our starting pitching,” the Yankees captain said after New York’s 6-2 victory over the Texas Rangers on Tuesday night.

Jeter homered in each of the first two innings and Hideki Matsui and Jason Giambi also hit home runs to back Roger Clemens, who allowed five hits and one run over seven innings.

Jeter hit a leadoff homer in the first and a two-run shot in the second. It was his first multihomer game of the season and fourth of his career.

“I’m not a home run hitter, but I am capable of hitting them every once in a while,” Jeter said.

Jeter has eight home runs this season. He had connected only once in his previous 29 games.

Matsui added a two-run homer in the first and Giambi hit his AL-leading 32nd home run in the fifth.

Clemens (11-7) earned his 304th career victory, striking out four and walking two. He won a day after turning 41 years old.

It wasn’t easy, Clemens said.

“The humidity. The sweat was coming down on my hands pretty good,” he said. “I wish I could have thrown an eephus pitch tonight.”

Antonio Osuna started the eighth for the Yankees, allowing Hank Blalock’s RBI double.

Osuna also flattened Texas star Alex Rodriguez with a high-and-tight fastball. A-Rod looked into the Yankees dugout while still sitting on the ground.

Earlier in the game, Texas starter Colby Lewis (4-7) hit Alfonso Soriano with a pitch on the right thumb. Soriano stayed in the game and expects to play Wednesday night.

Rodriguez became only the 35th player in major league history to play in 500 consecutive games.

Blalock gave the Rangers a 1-0 lead with his first-inning solo homer, but the Yankees came back with two homers in the bottom half.

Jeter opened with an opposite-field drive to right field and Matsui hit his 13th homer, a two-run shot.

Jeter’s second homer, his eighth this season, also an opposite-field shot and came after Soriano singled.

Texas trailed 5-1 when it loaded the bases with no outs in the fourth. Clemens escaped the jam by getting Shane Spencer on a popup, striking out Laynce Nix and making a nice play on Ramon Nivar’s bouncer to the mound.

“Tonight I was able to get out of one (jam) and keep the momentum on our side,” said Clemens.

Said Texas manager Buck Showalter: “That was a real golden opportunity for us that went by the boards.”

In the third inning, Clemens retired the side in order by fielding threecomebackers.

Notes

Jeter’s leadoff homer was his second of the season (also May 27 against the Boston Red Sox). … … Two injured Yankees had workout sessions in Florida with LHP Gabe White (seven minutes) and RHP Jose Contreras (10 minutes) both throwing from 90 feet. Contreras is scheduled to throw a rehab assignment Thursday in the Gulf Coast League. … Rodriguez joined Miguel Tejada (535) as the only player with active streaks of 500 or more consecutive games played. … Texas’ Einar Diaz was called for catcher’s interference on Aaron Boone in the eighth. It was an obvious call, too, as Boone’s swing sent Diaz’s mitt flying into fair territory. Boone played his first game in Yankees pinstripes— traded to New York from Cincinnati last week, he joined the team on the WestCoast.

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