DALLAS (Reuters) - The Texas Rangers rallied for a 7-6 victory over the New York Yankees on Saturday when closer Mariano Rivera hit Jeff Francoeur with a pitch in the bottom of the ninth to allow the game winning run to cross home plate.
Rivera entered the game in the inning with a one-run lead but gave up two hits and two walks, one intentional, to the first four batters he faced as Texas tied the score, before the normally reliable pitcher hit Francoeur to end the game.
"I was so shocked that I just started yelling 'He hit me, he hit me'," Francoeur told reporters. "Getting hit by a pitch is not the way you envision winning a game.
"You never really want to face him, but how can you not want to be in that situation? I know when I tell my kids, it will be a double in the gap. If they want to look up the boxscore when they are older, that's fine."
A one-hour rain delay with the score tied at 2-2 in the fifth inning transformed a pitchers duel between Rangers starter Tommy Hunter and A.J Burnett into a slugfest as both teams depleted their bullpens for the second consecutive game.
Burnett gave up two runs on four hits while striking out six batters in four innings while Hunter allowed two runs on six hits and struck out eight in five innings before the delay.
Rivera was the seventh Yankees pitcher and was charged with his third blown save and third loss of the season, while Alexi Ogando, the Rangers seventh pitcher of the game, collected his fourth win for pitching a scoreless ninth inning for Texas.
Alex Rodriguez hit a three-run double in the eighth inning and give the Yankees a 6-5 lead, erasing a three-run deficit the Rangers built by scoring two in the sixth and one in the seventh after the delay.
(Reporting by Mike Mouat in Windsor, Ontario; Editing by John O'Brien)