Opportunities wasted in loss to Yanks
Holland allows six runs in six-plus innings vs. Bombers
NEW YORK -- The numbers added up.Rangers rookie left-hander Derek Holland entered the game having allowed 1.47 home runs per nine innings, fourth highest (min. 100 innings) in the American League. The Yankees offense came into the game leading the Majors in home runs. Plus there have been more home runs hit at Yankee Stadium this year than any ballpark in the Majors. All that held up on a Wednesday night in the Bronx when Holland gave up home runs to Jorge Posada and Jerry Hairston Jr. that carried the Yankees to a 9-2 victory. The Rangers are now 0-1 in club history when Paul McCartney and Jack Nicholson are both sitting right behind home plate. Posada, after leadoff singles by Hideki Matsui and Alex Rodriguez, hit a three-run home run in the second inning that gave the Yankees a 3-0 lead. Hairston, a former Ranger, made it 4-0 with his career-high 10th home run on a full-count fastball in the fourth. "A couple of pitches got away from me," Holland said. "Bad location. If my placement is better, who knows what the results would be. The results weren't what I wanted, but I was battling out there." Holland has given up 19 home runs in 109 innings. That's the second most on the team behind Kevin Millwood, who has given up 20 in 161 innings. "He's doing that in the process of learning," Rangers manager Ron Washington said. "The one Posada got, he left a changeup up. He battled Hairston... well Hairston battled him. But he got in a count where he tried to make him put the ball in play and Hairston got a hold of a fastball. That will be better as he matures and gains experience." Holland, going against veteran left-hander Andy Pettitte, kept it close for six innings. Then the Yankees broke it open with five runs in the seventh off Holland and reliever Jason Jennings, and the Rangers, who have lost five of their last eight, are now five games behind the Angels in the American League West and 2 1/2 games behind the Red Sox in the Wild Card race. "They just exploded on us," Washington said. Holland was out-pitched by Pettitte, who has not been giving up many home runs. David Murphy, with the Rangers trailing 4-1, hit one off him with nobody on base in the seventh, snapping Pettitte's 49 2/3 consecutive innings without allowing a home run. Murphy drove in the Rangers' other run with a fifth-inning double. Murphy, hitting .193 against left-handers coming into the game, was only in the lineup because Marlon Byrd was back at the team hotel while dealing with kidney stones. "I felt good," Murphy said. "I'm constantly working every day trying to make adjustments. Tonight I opened up my stance a little bit and improved my timing and helped me stay back a little bit. It's incredible that you can do something so little and have it help so much." Murphy had the Rangers' only two extra-base hits of the night. That was two less than the number of double plays they hit into in the game. The big one was in the first against Pettitte. The Rangers had the bases loaded with one out, but Ivan Rodriguez hit an 0-1 fastball right at third baseman Alex Rodriguez to end the inning. "That's why Pettitte is who he is," Washington said. That was the first of four double plays the Rangers hit into on the evening after coming into the game having hit into the fewest in the Major Leagues. Of course, part of that is that they lead the Majors in strikeouts, but the double-play grounders on Wednesday kept the Rangers from mounting any comeback. "That was exactly what this game was about ... the double-play balls," said second baseman Ian Kinsler, who hit into one of them. "That was basically the rhythm of the game right there." Pudge Rodriguez, with the Rangers trailing 9-2, did exactly the same thing in the eighth inning, coming up with the bases loaded and one out, and hitting another ground ball at the Yankees third baseman that brought the rally to a close. Rodriguez has now hit into 189 double plays in his career with the Rangers, the most by any player in franchise history. "That's part of baseball," Rodriguez said. "I had opportunities but I couldn't get the job done. I put the ball in play and made contact but it was right at him. I couldn't get one down the corner or into the hole, I kept hitting it right at him."
T.R. Sullivan is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.