Arlington, TX – Matt Garza dazzled in his Rangers debut, and A.J. Pierzynski smacked a tie-breaking homer in the sixth to make a winner out of his newest teammates, as Texas edged the New York Yankees, 3-1, Wednesday in the third tilt of a four-game set.
Just two days after being acquired from the Chicago Cubs for a package of prospects, Garza (1-0) held the Yankees to an unearned run on five hits while striking out five over 7 1/3 innings to earn his sixth straight victory.
"It's awesome. I enjoy it," Garza said. "I just want to get us to October."
After Garza left to a standing ovation with one out in the eighth, Neal Cotts recorded the final two outs of the frame before retiring the first two hitters in the ninth to get the ball to closer Joe Nathan.
Nathan, who gave up a pair of runs in the ninth inning of Tuesday's setback, served up a single to Vernon Wells to bring the tying run to the plate, but got Eduardo Nunez to pop out to shortstop to secure his 32nd save.
Pierzynski added a run-scoring single in the first, while David Murphy provided some breathing room with a solo shot in the eighth for the Rangers, who have taken two of three from the Yankees in this series.
Brett Gardner and Robinson Cano each registered two of New York's six hits, with Cano knocking in the Yankees' lone run in the loss, their sixth in their last eight games.
Andy Pettitte (7-8) allowed two runs on eight hits over six-plus frames to absorb the loss.
"I felt decent, felt pretty good about all my pitches. Garza was tough," Pettitte said.
Garza's debut got off to shaky start, as he gave up a pair of singles to start the game before retiring the next three hitters to escape the frame unscathed.
After Pierzynski singled home Ian Kinsler in the home half, Garza kept the Yankees out of scoring position until the sixth, when Gardner led off with an infield single and moved to third when Garza's throw sailed past first.
Garza bounced back by getting Ichiro Suzuki to tap one back to the mound, but Cano followed with a line-drive single to center to tie the game at 1-1.
Pierzynski picked up his battery mate in the home half when he lifted a two- out homer into the first row in right field to give Texas a 2-1 edge.
Murphy padded Texas' lead in the eighth with he scorched a one-out blast over the wall in right-center field to account for the final margin.
The Rangers sent third baseman Mike Olt, pitchers C.J. Edwards and Justin Grimm as well as a player to be named later to the Cubs for Garza ... Garza improved to 2-4 in 13 career meetings (12 starts) against the Yankees ... New York went 1-for-7 with runners in scoring position and left five men on base ... Pettitte surpassed Sandy Koufax on baseball's all-time strikeouts list and into a tie with Kevin Brown (2,397) for 39th place.