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Yankees 3, Rangers 0

The SportsXchange

NEW YORK -- Hiroki Kuroda's methodical wind-up kept delivering one out after the other, the New York Yankees starter holding the Texas Rangers hitless through the first six innings.

But even as Kuroda held the two-time defending American League champions without a hit, Rangers starter Matt Harrison threatened to make the effort useless as he matched Kuroda zero for zero on the scoreboard.

Finally, the Rangers broke through with a hit in the top of the seventh. Then the Yankees responded with the type of hits that have sparked them all season.

Nick Swisher hit a big home run for the second game in the row against Texas and Mark Teixeira followed with one of his own as the Yankees beat the Rangers 3-0 on Tuesday night.

The back-to-back homers finally provided enough support for Kuroda, who pitched a complete-game two-hitter and walked only two while striking out five.

Swisher, who hit a grand slam Monday for his 200th career homer, drilled a two-run homer on a 3-2 pitch off reliever Alexi Ogando Tuesday. Teixeira then tagged Ogando with a shot to right and the Yankees were on their way to taking a 1 1/2-game lead over the Rangers for the AL's best record.

Ogando had just come on for Harrison, who left after giving up Derek Jeter's second single of the game, on his 106th pitch.

Kuroda (11-8) allowed his first hit to Elvis Andrus to start the seventh. Jayson Nix, playing shortstop with Jeter serving as the DH, made a diving play to his left to snare the ball. But Nix's throw was off-line and Andrus appeared set to beat it out even if the throw was on target.

The fans at Yankee Stadium saluted Kuroda with a nice ovation. But after a deep fly ball by Josh Hamilton moved Andrus to second with one out, Kuroda suddenly had to face the Rangers' No. 4 and 5 hitters with the go-ahead run in scoring position in a scoreless game.

Kuroda recovered to strike out Adrian Beltre and got Nelson Cruz on a grounder to second baseman Robinson Cano to end the inning.

After the Yankees' three-run seventh, the Rangers managed another hit off Kuroda on a leadoff single by Michael Young in the eighth. But Kuroda quickly came back again, getting David Murphy to hit into a double play, and Luis Martinez to ground to short.

Harrison (13-7) was not as dominant, but just as effective, throwing shutout ball through six before getting charged with one run and a hard-luck loss. Harrison gave up five hits, walked three and struck out two.

The Yankees' best chance to score early came in the third, when they loaded the bases with two outs on a double by Teixeira and a pair of walks. But Harrison got Curtis Granderson to fly out to center to end the inning.

The starters threw zeroes at each other for the first five innings as Harrison gave up four hits and three walks, but the Yankees stranded seven runners in that span.

Kuroda was in command throughout the early innings, walking Andrus in the first, but getting him erased on an inning-ending double play. Kuroda allowed just one more walk, while holding the Rangers hitless through five.

It was the second time this season Kuroda pitched at least five no-hit innings, as he held the Mets hitless into the sixth on June 8, before finishing with seven innings of one-hit, shutout ball.

NOTES: Yankees left-hander Andy Pettitte said his latest X-ray on his fractured left fibula "looked good," but he would be "overcautious" after experiencing a setback in his rehab last month. Pettitte said he hoped to throw from a mound by the beginning of September. Yankees manager Joe Girardi said Pettitte would have to be able to throw at least 100 pitches in a game to be added to the postseason roster. ... Third baseman Alex Rodriguez, expected back from the DL in September, was scheduled for an X-ray of his fractured left hand Tuesday. ... Derek Jeter extended his hitting streak to 10 games with a single in the first. ... Rangers right-hander Koji Uehara (strained right lat muscle) was scheduled to throw the first of two bullpen sessions Wednesday, with a pair of rehab appearances to follow. He could return from the DL on Aug. 26, Rangers manager Ron Washington said.
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