Arlington, TX – Eduardo Nunez tripled home the game-tying run before scoring the go-ahead tally on Brent Lillibridge's single in the ninth, as the New York Yankees rallied past the Texas Rangers, 5-4, Tuesday in the second tilt of a four-game set.
New York trailed 4-3 heading into its final at-bat, but Vernon Wells worked a one-out walk to give the Yankees their first baserunner since the fourth inning.
Wells moved to second when Texas closer Joe Nathan (1-1) uncorked a wild pitch before scoring easily on Nunez's triple to center that landed just over the glove of a leaping Craig Gentry.
"The only thing I wish I could take back is that pitch that I slipped on," said Nathan. "That was a big pitch in the inning that I think if I make a better pitch I'm able to set something up."
Lillibridge followed with a line-drive base hit to left to score Nunez for the deciding run.
"When you come here as the new guy you just want to make the plays and do your job," said Lillibridge. "I just didn't want to make waves until I settled in. Tonight was nice and it made me really happy to be able to contribute that way."
Mariano Rivera then retired the Rangers in order in the ninth to nail down his 32nd save of the season for the Yankees, who had lost five of their last six coming into the contest.
Joba Chamberlain (2-0) was awarded the victory after spinning a 1-2-3 eighth.
Mitch Moreland launched a two-run homer for the Rangers, who have dropped five of their last six games.
The Yankees jumped on Texas starter Alexi Ogando in the third, as Melky Mesa smacked a leadoff double and scored when Austin Romine followed with a two- bagger of his own down the first-base line. Brett Gardner's single to left put runners on the corners for Ichiro Suzuki, who ripped a sharp single to shortstop to score Romine for a 2-0 edge.
New York tacked on a run in the fourth when Wells smacked a leadoff double, moved to third on a fly out, and scored on Lillibridge's fielder's choice grounder to second to make it 3-0.
New York starter Phil Hughes blanked the Rangers over the first five frames before running into trouble in the sixth.
Nelson Cruz reached on Lillibridge's fielding error at third with one out before Adrian Beltre followed with a double to score Cruz. Beltre moved to third on a groundout and scored when Elvis Andrus came through with a two-out single to right to bring the Rangers within 3-2.
Boone Logan then took over for Hughes and quickly gave up the lead, as Moreland launched Logan's second offering over the wall in center to give Texas a 4-3 lead.
Ogando, who was activated off the 15-day disabled list prior to the game, gave up three runs on six hits over five frames ... Hughes was charged for three unearned runs on four hits and three walks over 5 2/3 innings ... Texas pitcher Matt Garza, who the Rangers acquired from the Chicago Cubs Monday, is expected to start Wednesday's contest ... New York finished 5-for-11 with runners in scoring position while the Rangers went 1-for-8 with RISP.