Garza dominates Yankees in Rangers debut

Art Garcia, The Sports Xchange
The SportsXchange

ARLINGTON, Texas -- Matt Garza doesn't mind being a "hired gun." He knows he's in Texas for a reason.
"We are in a playoff hunt, aren't we? We're trying to make it to October," Garza said. "Every game is a big game."
The Rangers' latest in a string of high-profile midseason pickups in recent years fared better than the others in his Texas debut.
The right-hander stymied the New York Yankees in a 3-1 victory Wednesday night at Rangers Ballpark. Garza went 7 1/3 strong innings and allowed just an unearned run as Texas won for the second time in three games during the series.
Texas (56-45) aims to win the four-game set in Thursday afternoon's finale. The Yankees (53-48) have dropped six of their past eight games.
"The guys have been pretty resilient," Yankees manager Joe Girardi said. "We have to bounce back."
Garza, acquired Monday from the Chicago Cubs, was masterful in his return to the American League, striking out five without walking a batter. The Yankees managed just five hits off him.
"Pounded the zone with a vengeance," Rangers manager Ron Washington said of Garza, "but he's always been a strike thrower. He keeps the ball in play and is able to get strikeouts when he needs to.
"He's a big-time pitcher and had a big-time performance for us tonight."
Since 2010, the Rangers have added Cliff Lee, Roy Oswalt and Ryan Dempster to the rotation at midseason to aid in a playoff push. Oswalt was the only one to win his first start, lasting 6 2/3 innings and giving up a run on nine hits last season against the Colorado Rockies.
A.J. Pierzynski drove in the first two runs for Texas, with a first-inning single and then a solo home run in the sixth inning that proved to be the game-winner. David Murphy homered in the eighth off Shawn Kelley for a two-run lead.
Joe Nathan, one night after blowing a save chance for just his second time this year, picked up his 32nd save by getting the final out.
Yankees starter Andy Pettitte (7-8) didn't pitch poorly in his six-inning stint. The 41-year-old lefty scattered eight hits and gave up two runs, but he didn't get enough support from the New York offense.
"I thought he pitched a pretty good game," Girardi said. "Pierzynski killed him. He had both RBIs. Andy usually handles left-handers well."
The Yankees did get to Garza thanks to the pitcher's miscue in the sixth. He mishandled Brett Gardner's dribbler back to the mound, fell to his knees and threw wide of first. Gardner motored around to third on the error and trotted home to tie the game 1-1 on Robinson Cano's liner to center.
Pierzynski got the run right back in the bottom of the inning, depositing a Pettitte offering into the seats in right. Pierzynski gave a first pump as he rounded first with his 10th home run of the season.
"I didn't know I hit it that far," Pierzynski said. "Luckily, the wind was blowing out."
NOTES: The news from New York once again dealt with 3B Alex Rodriguez, who is disputing the diagnosis from Yankees' doctors that he has a quad strain. Rodriguez had an independent doctor look at the MRI, and that doctor's conclusion is that Rodriguez is fit to play. Rodriguez wants to get back on the field Friday for the start of the three-game series in New York against Tampa Bay. A-Rod's camp is alleging that the Yankees and Major League Baseball are conspiring to keep him off the field. Girardi acted as if he were unaware of Wednesday's revelations. "I'm not there and I'm not privy to all of the conversations," he said. "I'm still not aware of everything that happened and I'm not going to comment on it." ... The Texas Rangers Foundation and FOX Sports Southwest announced a special benefit Aug. 20 during the Houston Astros vs. Texas telecast to raise funds for victims of the tornadoes that hit Oklahoma and North Texas in May.

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