The Rangers sure didn't know what to do with Freddy Garcia, though.
Making his Yankees debut, the veteran right-hander shut down the aggressive Texas offense, holding the Rangers to two hits over six innings in a 5-2 victory on a bone-chilling Saturday afternoon in the Bronx. It was the Rangers' third loss in four games.
"He's not the Freddy I had seen earlier in my career in Seattle, but he's still effective and he battles," said Michael Young, who drove in one of the Rangers' two runs off reliever Rafael Soriano in the eighth inning. "He just threw a good game."
With temperatures in the mid-40s, Garcia (1-0) worked through steady rain showers and winds gusting to 30 mph to quietly retire the Texas lineup. The only hits he allowed were to Adrian Beltre in the first inning and David Murphy in the fourth.
Garcia threw just 84 pitches before leaving with a three-run lead.
"You've got to give him credit, especially against an aggressive team like ours," Rangers manager Ron Washington said. "He always had the split and the breaking ball. He doesn't have the power that he used to have on the fastball, but he's smart in his location with it."
The Rangers finally broke through once they got to the bullpen.
Trailing 3-0 in the eighth, Mitch Moreland led off with a double and Ian Kinsler drew a one-out walk, before Elvis Andrus hit an RBI single. Young followed with another run-scoring single — a chopper that went about 45 feet in the infield — that got the Rangers to 3-2.
Beltre nearly gave Texas the lead when he crushed a pitch to right field, but the cold, brisk wind blew it outside the foul pool — just feet away from being a three-run homer. Beltre grounded into an inning-ending double play moments later, and Mariano Rivera closed out the ninth inning for his sixth save.
Derek Holland (2-1) pitched well for Texas, allowing five runs in 7 2-3 innings. The young left-hander baffled the Yankees in the AL championship series last fall, tossing 5 2-3 innings of scoreless relief, but lost for the third time in three starts against New York.
"I feel like everything went the way I wanted it to, except I made a couple of pitches that got away," Holland said. "I mean, nobody makes 100 perfect pitches. Got to tip your hat to them, they take care of mistakes."
New York scored in the first inning when Nick Swisher lashed a single up the middle and Teixeira promptly delivered one of those "mistakes," a 3-2 pitch, into the right-field seats.
The Yankees scored again in the third, when Jeter walked on four pitches to start the inning. He went to third on Swisher's double and scored on Teixeira's sacrifice fly.
"Derek did a great job," manager Ron Washington said. "He really just made two mistakes."
The Rangers never gave Holland much help against Garcia, though, going down in order in the first, third, fourth and sixth innings on an array of splitters, changeups and curveballs.
The veteran starter got plenty of help from the Yankees defense, too, including a nifty diving stop by Rodriguez on a hard groundball in the third inning, and a sliding grab on the wet grass by Swisher in the fifth inning that may have prevented a run.
Rodriguez left in the seventh inning with what the team called lower back and oblique stiffness. No medical tests were planned, though manager Joe Girardi said he wasn't sure whether Rodriguez will play the series finale Sunday.
"His lower right side was stiff," Girardi said. "We'll see how he is tomorrow."
NOTES: Holland matched a career high with 118 pitches. ... Yankees C Francisco Cervelli (broken foot) played an extended spring training game Saturday in Tampa, Fla. ... RHP Carlos Silva had his first bullpen session Saturday since agreeing to a minor league deal with New York on April 9. Silva was released by the Cubs in spring training. ... The paid attendance was 41,876, though perhaps half that many braved the weather.