Cruz's homer helps Rangers hold off Yankees
NEW YORK -- Reaching 20 home runs for the fifth straight season was a notable achievement for Nelson Cruz, but he believes he's underachieved.
Cruz's two-run home run in the top of the seventh inning was enough for the Texas Rangers, helping them earn an 8-5 victory over the New York Yankees on Wednesday night at Yankee Stadium.
"It's been good," Cruz said. "As a player, you always think you can do more. It is what it is at this point. I've been able to drive in that many runs and hit that many home runs, but I feel like I can do more damage."
Cruz became the fifth Ranger to hit 20 home runs in five straight seasons, joining Juan Gonzalez, Ivan Rodriguez, Rafael Palmeiro and Pete Incaviglia. He reached the milestone when he turned on a first-pitch curveball from Joba Chamberlain and sent it over the left field wall.
That gave Texas their second three-run lead after the Yankees sliced a 4-1 deficit to 4-3 in the sixth. Nelson's blast proved more crucial when Robbie Ross gave up a two-run home run to Ichiro Suzuki with two outs in the seventh on a 3-1 pitch
Ross' streak of 54 straight appearances without allowing a home run ended. However, he earlier made one of the biggest pitches of the night, getting Jayson Nix to ground into a double play with the bases loaded to end the sixth. The double play came after RBI singles by Robinson Cano and Travis Hafner made it a one-run game.
"That was a great turn by Elvis (Andrus, the shortstop), especially on a guy like that," Ross said. "I was hoping we could turn it quick and get him out. Then we came back the next inning and scored some runs and then I went out and gave up some runs, but we battled."
Cruz's home run was part of a very productive night by the middle of the Texas lineup. The third through sixth spots went a combined 7-for-20 with seven RBIs and four runs. The top two players in the order did their jobs, too, going 4-for-8 and scoring three runs.
Adrian Beltre had three hits, including a two-run double in the third off Yankees starter Andy Pettitte (5-6). A.J Pierzynski also had a two-run double off Pettitte, and Lance Berkman added an insurance run in the ninth with a run-scoring single.
"We've been doing a good job of that for seven or eight ballgames," Texas manager Ron Washington said of getting multiple offensive contributions. "What was nice was to see the middle of my order come up big. Starting with Beltre against Pettitte and then Nelson gives us that two-run home run.
"We need that. Without those guys doing what they did and what they are capable of doing, it would be a long year. They pulled it out for us tonight."
Texas' pitching also thrived at key points, especially in the late innings after Ross made it a one-run game.
Neal Cotts put the tying run on when he walked Cano but struck out Hafner for the final out of the seventh.
Tanner Scheppers rebounded from allowing a walk-off home run to Ichiro a night earlier by retiring the side in the eighth. Joe Nathan threw a 1-2-3 ninth for his 26th save.
That came after rookie Justin Grimm (7-5) allowed three runs and six hits over five-plus innings. Grimm, who won his second straight start, was lifted after giving up two hits to start the sixth.
"I'm not happy with five and die to be honest with you," Grimm said. "I want to give more for my team."
The Yankees lost for the first time in 25 games this season when scoring five runs or more, and it was a combination of things that contributed.
"We gave them some extra opportunities tonight, and it really cost us," New York manager Joe Girardi said.
New York committed two errors, and Pettitte had one bad inning. He allowed four runs (three earned) and six hits in six innings for his third straight loss.
The Yankees also got a sub-par showing from Chamberlain, who gave up four hits in the seventh and was booed off the mound by fans.
"I'd boo, too," Chamberlain said. "I'm terrible right now, there's no getting around it. It's one of those things, if you don't do your job, you expect to get booed."
NOTES: Yankees 1B Mark Teixeira will have season-ending wrist surgery sometime soon, though the date has not been officially announced. The findings of a recent MRI indicated that the torn sheath in his right wrist had not completely healed, and the team's medical staff recommended surgery. ... Yankees GM Brian Cashman held a lengthy press conference to express regret of using profanity in an interview with ESPN New York on Tuesday after finding out about a tweet in which 3B Alex Rodriguez said he had been cleared to play games. Among the key points were that the team wants to control the message with rehab updates and manage from the top down and not vice versa. In a statement, the Yankees said that Rodriguez, Cashman and team president Randy Levine spoke on the phone about Tuesday's events and called it a "constructive, healthy conversation." ... Rangers CF Leonys Martin went 1-for-4, extending his hitting streak to a career-high 11 games. ... Rookie INF Jurickson Profar spent some time in the outfield before the game, but the Rangers are not prepared to start him there just yet.