Yankees-Rangers Preview

The Associated Press

Despite nearly letting a six-run lead slip away, the New York Yankees are grateful they have a much-needed victory to build on.

They'll look to do so in the decisive series finale against the Texas Rangers on Wednesday night.

Brett Gardner homered for the third time in two games, had three other hits and caught Adrian Beltre's fly ball at the warning track with the bases loaded for the final out of New York's 12-11 win Tuesday. The Yankees (55-51) broke out after totaling 10 runs while losing their previous three.

"It was great to get out of here with a win,'' said manager Joe Girardi, whose bullpen held on after allowing seven runs in three innings.

''It would have been a bad one to lose.''

Gardner went 1 for 12 while the Yankees lost two of three at home to Toronto over the weekend, but is 7 for 10 with five extra-base hits in this set. He's 11 for 19 with four doubles and four home runs in the last five against the Rangers (42-65).

"He's playing every day," Girardi told MLB's official website. "He physically feels good."

Derek Jeter, who passed Carl Yastrzemski for seventh on baseball's career hit list Monday, is 8 for 16 in the last four contests.

He's 3 for 5 with two homers during the regular season against Colby Lewis (6-8, 6.23 ERA), who is 0-4 with a 9.70 ERA in seven home starts since beating the Chicago White Sox on April 19 for his only victory in Arlington this year.

The right-hander gave up 13 runs and 13 hits in 2 1-3 innings of a 15-6 loss to the Los Angeles Angels there July 10. Despite also losing his next two on the road, Lewis yielded five runs in 11 1-3 innings in those outings.

He gave up three in 6 1-3 innings of a 4-2 loss at Yankee Stadium on Thursday.

Amid a rough season for himself and the Rangers, Lewis remains optimistic after missing last season while recovering from elbow surgery, then undergoing a hip operation.

"I feel like as the season has gone along, I've gotten stronger and stronger, which is great," Lewis said.

New York counters with Hiroki Kuroda (7-6, 3.99), who is 2-0 with a 3.60 ERA in his last four starts but hopes for a better performance after yielding four runs in 5 2-3 innings on two homers in a 6-4 victory over Toronto on Friday.

The right-hander went 1-3 with a 3.70 ERA and received 20 runs of support in his first seven road starts, but despite a 4.26 ERA over the last three, he's gone 2-0 and been backed with 16 runs.

Kuroda posted a 4.50 ERA while losing his first two starts at Texas before giving up six hits in seven innings of a 2-0 victory last season there.

J.P. Arencibia had a grand slam, a solo shot, two doubles and seven RBIs on Tuesday. Arencibia, who has been up and down from the minors this season, had four homers and 15 RBIs while batting .152 in his previous 31 games this season for Texas.

"He knows he will play," manager Ron Washington said. "It builds confidence."

Arencibia is 9 for 24 with three doubles and a home run versus Kuroda. Teammate Alex Rios, who is 5 for 9 in the series, is 3 for 9 against Kuroda.

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