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TEX@NYY: Beltre's foul ball nearly a three-run homer

NEW YORK -- Michael Young was on first base when Adrian Beltre launched his high fly ball down the right-field line in the eighth inning. Young, who represented the go-ahead run in a one-run game, watched through the wind and rain and hoped for a three-run home run.

"I didn't know what it would do," Young said. "The wind was crazy, the rain was going in five different directions. But at the last minute, the ball made a hard right turn."

It landed just a few feet foul, just to the right of the foul pole. A half-inning later, after Beltre had followed his near homer with an inning-ending double play to end the Rangers' threat, Robinson Cano hit that same foul pole with a two-run home run off Derek Holland that proved to be the game-clinching blow in the Yankees' 5-2 victory over the Rangers at Yankee Stadium.

The Rangers haven't hit a home run in five games. The Yankees hit two on Sunday -- a two-run shot in the first by Mark Teixeira off Holland and Cano's blast in the eighth -- and that sunk the Rangers on a cold, wet, windy Saturday afternoon in the Bronx.

But if Beltre could have hit the foul pole in the top of the eighth to cap off the Rangers' only rally of the afternoon, this one likely would have ended much different.

"Yeah, that's just how it went," Rangers manager Ron Washington said after his team lost for the third time in four games. "Derek did a great job. He really made just a couple mistakes. The homer to Teixeira went to the opposite field, and you really can't fault him for that. But we battled back and got back in it. I'm proud of the way we played."

The game began with the temperature at 46 degrees but with the north wind blowing in from center field at 19-29 mph. The rain began in the fourth inning and was persistent for much of the afternoon despite never coming down hard enough to cause a delay.

"It was miserable out there," center fielder Julio Borbon said.

"The wind was brutal," outfielder David Murphy said.

But Holland, outpitched by Yankees starter Freddy Garcia, refused to blame the outcome on the climate.

"I didn't want it to be an excuse, so I didn't let it bother me," Holland said.

The Rangers were one pitch away from getting eight complete innings from their starter for the second straight night. Washington said Holland would have done it, too, if not for leaving a slider up for Cano.

"If he throws it down and away in the dirt, Cano rolls it over," Washington said. "Instead, he left it up in the zone. It was the right pitch, he just didn't execute it."

Holland, down 3-2, was trying to keep it a one-run game and give the Rangers one more chance against Yankees closer Mariano Rivera in the ninth. He retired Nick Swisher on a grounder to begin the inning, gave up a single to Teixeira and struck out Eric Chavez. Holland, at that point, was over 110 pitches and Washington had Darren Oliver ready in the bullpen.

But he stuck with Holland against Cano, who was 0-for-3 with two grounders and a strikeout on the afternoon.

"Derek was still strong," Washington said. "He had been getting Robinson all night. I thought he was throwing the ball well. I wasn't trying to send any messages. He made the right pitch but just missed it."

The pitch was a 2-1 slider, and Cano hit it deep down the right-field line. But, unlike Beltre's shot, this one didn't make any last-minute course adjustments.

"I thought it would be foul," Holland said. "I wanted it to be a ground ball, but basically we weren't going to give him anything good to hit. I felt really good. I had everything going for me. One pitch got away from me. But if you throw 100 pitches, you're not going to be perfect with every one of them."

The Rangers biggest problem was not doing anything against Yankees starter Freddy Garcia. He held them scoreless on two singles and a walk through six innings. The Rangers, down 3-0, didn't get an extra-base hit until Mitch Moreland led off the eighth with a double off Yankees reliever Rafael Soriano.

A one-out walk to Ian Kinsler, followed by singles from Elvis Andrus and Young made it 3-2. Then Beltre, after just missing the three-run home run, grounded into an inning-ending double play.

In their last six games, the Rangers are hitting just .223 with two home runs and 18 runs scored. They are hitting .229 with runners in scoring position.

"You don't want to take credit away from the other pitcher when he pitched a good game, but we expect better out of ourselves," Kinsler said. "We're keeping ourselves in ballgames, and that's the way to win. We feel as a group we'll break out eventually."

A three-run home run from Beltre might have helped to do just that. The wind decided otherwise. Comments