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Unit dominates Rangers as Yankees avoid three-game sweep

CBS SportsLine.com wire reports
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NEW YORK -- As intimidating as Randy Johnson can be, he knew he couldn't challenge an aggressive Texas lineup with only fastballs. So he used a nasty slider and a diving splitter to work all parts of the strike zone.

The plan worked to near perfection for eight dominant innings Sunday, and Johnson won for the first time since the season opener as the New York Yankees beat the Rangers 11-1 to avoid a three-game sweep.

"I wasn't overpowering, but who cares?" Johnson said. "I'd rather pitch a game like today: pitch efficient, quick innings, keep the defense sharp and get the offense back out there."

Derek Jeter finished a triple shy of the cycle and drove in three runs, and Andy Phillips hit a three-run homer in the eighth and had four RBI for New York. A Yankees offense that mustered just 12 hits and five runs in two losses to Texas amassed 14 hits Sunday and used two big innings against Pedro Astacio to help Johnson earn his first win since beating Boston on April 3.

After giving up 16 runs -- 14 earned -- in his last three starts, Johnson pitched like the ace the Yankees expected when they traded for him in the offseason, stopping the team's two-game skid and giving a taxed bullpen some much-needed rest.

"He looked like he pretty much had command of everything -- splitter, slider," Yankees manager Joe Torre said. "He was locating everything."

The Big Unit breezed into the sixth, allowing just a bloop single in the second to Kevin Mench that dropped between three fielders in shallow center. After getting two quick outs in the inning, though, Johnson was temporarily untracked by a timeout called by plate umpire Laz Diaz in the middle of his motion.

On the pitch after the stoppage, Alfonso Soriano ended a string of 13 straight Texas outs with a single to left. Gary Matthews Jr. followed with a triple to right-center and Michael Young walked.

"I'm upset I gave up the one run today," Johnson said. "So you could imagine how I felt my last three starts."

But Johnson (2-1) quickly found his rhythm again, striking out two in the seventh and retiring his last seven batters. He finished with seven strikeouts to increase his career total to 4,201. Johnson hasn't struck out 10 batters in any of his five starts this season.

"When you saw the outs he got on quick counts early, you just knew it had the potential to be a challenging day," Texas manager Buck Showalter said. "He threw a lot of splitters today. I think at this stage of his career he's not a pure velocity guy."

Astacio (1-2) had given up just four runs in his first three starts after spending nearly all of the past two seasons on the disabled list, but was roughed up for seven runs and nine hits in 4 2/3 innings -- all the hits and runs coming in the second and fifth.

"If Pedro stays healthy, he's going to win a lot of ballgames for us," Showalter said.

Phillips, making his first of the season, had an RBI double in a four-run second. The Yankees got five hits, including RBI singles from Jorge Posada and Tony Womack, and a sacrifice fly from Jeter to take a 4-0 lead.

New York scored three times in the fifth, batting around for the sixth time this season. Jeter had an RBI double to right-center, Sheffield an RBI single and Alex Rodriguez a run-scoring single to chase Astacio.

Jeter homered off Matt Riley in the sixth, his second of the season and the Yankees' first in four games. Phillips connected for his first of the year and first at Yankee Stadium in the eighth, also off Riley, and earned a curtain call.

"A couple of the guys told me to go out there," Phillips said. "I'm here to do what they tell me."

Tom Gordon pitched the ninth for New York.

Notes

  • Johnson has retired his first three batters in each of his five starts this season and hasn't allowed a first-inning run in 13 starts.
  • Rangers 3B Hank Blalock was given a day off, his first of the season.
  • Womack was caught stealing in the second, his second in four attempts this year.
 
Copyright 2014 by STATS LLC and The Associated Press. Any commercial use or distribution without the express written consent of STATS LLC and The Associated Press is strictly prohibited.
 
 
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Randy Johnson strikes out seven and allows one run on three hits in eight innings of work. (AP)
Randy Johnson strikes out seven and allows one run on three hits in eight innings of work. (AP)

Players of the Game
New York

A. Phillips
AB 4
R 2
H 2
HR 1
RBI 4
New York

R. Johnson
IP 8.0
H 3
ER 1
BB 1
K 7
 
Texas Rangers
Alfonso Soriano, 2B4110030 .282
Gary Matthews Jr., CF4011010 .254
Michael Young, SS3000110 .289
Mark Teixeira, 1B4000012 .229
Kevin Mench, LF3010000 .310
Richard Hidalgo, RF3000011 .179
Chad Allen, DH3000021 .250
Rod Barajas, C3000000 .259
Mark DeRosa, 3B3000000 .125
Totals30131194 
Batting
3B - Gary Matthews Jr. (1, R. Johnson)
RBI - Gary Matthews Jr. (4)
2-OUT RBI - Gary Matthews Jr. (3)
Team LOB - 3
Fielding
DP - Soriano-Young-Teixeira
Texas Rangers
Pedro Astacio (L,1-2) 4.2977120 3.71
Matt Riley 2.2344212 8.38
Nick Regilio 0.2200000 4.50
HBP - Giambi (by Matt Riley)
Pitches-Strikes - Pedro Astacio 72-47, Matt Riley 45-23, Nick Regilio 19-10
Ground Balls-Fly Balls - Pedro Astacio 5-6, Matt Riley 3-3, Nick Regilio 1-1
Batters Faced - Pedro Astacio 23, Matt Riley 13, Nick Regilio 4
New York Yankees
Derek Jeter, SS4233000 .361
Bernie Williams, CF5000013 .258
Gary Sheffield, RF5121000 .324
Hideki Matsui, LF2110200 .297
   a- Bubba Crosby, PH-LF1000002 .182
Alex Rodriguez, 3B4121001 .280
Jason Giambi, DH2000112 .218
    Rey Sanchez, PR-DH0100000 .400
Jorge Posada, C4221013 .286
Andy Phillips, 1B4224000 .333
Tony Womack, 2B4121000 .250
Totals351114113311 
a-popped out for Matsui in the 8th
Batting
2B - Derek Jeter (5, Astacio), Gary Sheffield (5, Regilio), Andy Phillips (1, Astacio)
HR - Derek Jeter (2, Riley), Andy Phillips (1, Riley)
SF - Derek Jeter (2)
RBI - Derek Jeter 3 (11), Gary Sheffield (15), Alex Rodriguez (15), Jorge Posada (9), Andy Phillips 4 (4), Tony Womack (3)
2-OUT RBI - Derek Jeter (4), Gary Sheffield (4), Alex Rodriguez (3)
CS - Tony Womack (2, 2nd base by Astacio/Barajas)
Team LOB - 5
New York Yankees
Randy Johnson (W,2-1) 8311170 4.19
Tom Gordon 1000020 5.00
Pitches-Strikes - Randy Johnson 103-60, Tom Gordon 16-8
Ground Balls-Fly Balls - Randy Johnson 11-6, Tom Gordon 1-0
Batters Faced - Randy Johnson 28, Tom Gordon 3
Game Information
Attendance - 42732
Game Time - 2:25
Temperature - 51
Umpires - Home - Lazaro Diaz, First Base - Bob Davidson, Second Base - Marty Foster, Third Base - Jim Joyce