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Texas at New York

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Texas (5-6)000000030381
N.Y. Yankees (8-3) «02410000x7130

A-Rod hits 584th HR to pass McGwire as Yanks clinch another series

CBSSports.com wire reports
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NEW YORK -- When the Yankees last won their first four series, Lou Gehrig and Babe Ruth anchored the middle of the batting order, Earle Combs and Tony Lazzeri provided the power and Bob Shawkey was on the mound.

That was in 1926 and even without extraordinarily fast starts since then in many years, New York dominated baseball.

All-time HR leaders
Player Total
1. Barry Bonds 762
2. Hank Aaron 755
3. Babe Ruth 714
4. Willie Mays 660
5. Ken Griffey Jr.-y 630
6. Sammy Sosa 609
7. Frank Robinson 586
8. Alex Rodriguez-y 584
9. Mark McGwire 583
10. Harmon Killebrew 573
y-active

Now the Yankees are spurting early once again.

Alex Rodriguez passed Mark McGwire for eighth place with his 584th home run, Derek Jeter also connected and A.J. Burnett pitched seven shutout innings Saturday to lead the surging Yankees over the Texas Rangers 7-3.

For the Yankees, it reminds them of the way they played down the stretch last year en route to their first World Series title since 2000.

"We've got the same feel," said Brett Gardner, who had three of New York's six infield hits. "It doesn't matter where we're at in the game or what the score, we feel like we've got the guys to come back and win if we're down."

New York didn't have to worry about rallying, knocking out Scott Feldman (1-1) after 2 1/3 innings and taking a 7-0 lead by the fourth.

After taking two of three against Boston, Tampa Bay and the Los Angeles Angels, the Yankees swept the opening two games of a three-game set against Texas.

Not since the first year Ruth and Gehrig started the season together had the Yankees won their first four series. The only other year they achieved the feat was 1922, when they were still playing at the Polo Grounds.

"I don't necessarily always remember how you start. You remember how you finish, and that's the important thing," Joe Girardi said after his 200th win as Yankees manager. "I'm just happy with the way we're playing right out of the gate, and obviously the more wins that you have in April, you know, the less that you maybe have to have in a later month."

Rodriguez hit his first home run of the season in the fourth, a solo drive to right-center against Doug Mathis for a seven-run lead. A-Rod had gone homerless in his first 41 at-bats, his longest homerless streak at the start of a season since beginning 1995 without one in his first 48 at-bats for Seattle.

"They were all ragging on me that I hadn't checked in yet," he said.

He didn't dwell on passing Big Mac.

"It feels good to keep moving up the line," Rodriguez said. "I think there'll be a time and a place for reflection, and that will be many years after I'm done playing."

On a historic anniversary in Yankees history -- Mickey Mantle made his debut on April 17, 1951, and Bob Sheppard announced his first game that afternoon -- New York improved to 8-3 for its best 11-game start since 2003.

Jeter also had three hits, and Jorge Posada had two hits to reach 1,500, joining Yogi Berra, Bill Dickey and Thurman Munson as the only players who were primarily catchers to reach the mark for the Yankees.

"I'm excited I'm in the company of them," Posada said.

Gardner's speed was a key for hits in the second, third and fifth innings. He nearly beat out another grounder in the eighth.

"The Yankees got themselves another Ichiro," Rangers manager Ron Washington said, a reference to Seattle speedster Ichiro Suzuki. "We have to make some adjustments in the field to play him."

Several Yankees mentioned how speed is immune to slumps.

"Chopper off the plate or a line drive up the middle, a hit's a hit," Gardner said.

Burnett (2-0) allowed six hits, struck out seven and walked two to win his second straight start. He's been keeping his arm from speeding up too much with his kick leg, leading to a sharp fastball he relied upon.

"Confidence and conviction -- taking every pitch as serious as I can," he said.

Feldman gave up four runs and seven hits in 2 1/3 innings -- matching the shortest start of his big league career -- as Texas lost its third straight. A key for him was when he fielded Gardner's grounder in the second, and threw wide. Nick Johnson followed with a bases-loaded walk and Mark Teixeira with a bases-loaded infield single for a 2-0 lead.

"If I make that play, then it's a totally different game," Feldman said. "If I could have made that play, who knows?"

Notes
  • Gardner was the first Yankees player with three infield hits in a game since Don Mattingly against Oakland on Aug. 19, 1992, according to the Elias Sports Bureau.
  • Jeter was taken out after seven innings because the Yankees had a big lead and he had a cold.
  • Teixeira is 4 for 40.
  • Teagarden went 0 for 2 with two strikeouts and is 0 for 18 with 13 strikeouts this season.
  • Nelson Cruz hit a three-run homer in the eighth off Alfredo Aceves , Cruz's seventh homer.
 
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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Alex Rodriguez's first homer of the season moves him to eighth on the all-time list. (Getty Images)
Alex Rodriguez's first homer of the season moves him to eighth on the all-time list. (Getty Images)

Players of the Game
New York

A. Burnett
IP 7.0
H 6
ER 0
BB 2
K 7
New York

D. Jeter
AB 4
R 1
H 3
HR 1
RBI 2
 
Texas Rangers
Julio Borbon, CF5000015 .083
Michael Young, 3B4020004 .233
Josh Hamilton, LF4100002 .243
Vladimir Guerrero, DH3110101 .381
Nelson Cruz, RF4113031 .342
Chris Davis, 1B4020020 .229
Joaquin Arias, 2B4010002 .419
Taylor Teagarden, C2000122 .000
   a- David Murphy, PH1000000 .091
Elvis Andrus, SS3010121 .324
Totals34383310  
a-grounded out for Teagarden in the 9th
Batting
2B - Chris Davis (4, Burnett)
HR - Nelson Cruz (7, Aceves)
RBI - Nelson Cruz 3 (15)
SB - Michael Young (1, 2nd base off Burnett/Posada)
Team LOB - 7
Fielding
DP - Arias-Andrus-Davis
E - Taylor Teagarden (1, Throwing)
Texas Rangers
Scott Feldman (L,1-1) 2.1744220 4.41
Doug Mathis 3.2633022 4.76
Chris Ray 1000000 2.08
Frank Francisco 1000000 13.50
Pitches-Strikes - Scott Feldman 73-44, Doug Mathis 56-34, Chris Ray 8-6, Frank Francisco 13-9
Ground Balls-Fly Balls - Scott Feldman 3-2, Doug Mathis 3-5, Chris Ray 1-2, Frank Francisco 2-1
Batters Faced - Scott Feldman 16, Doug Mathis 16, Chris Ray 3, Frank Francisco 3
New York Yankees
Derek Jeter, SS4132000 .380
    Ramiro Pena, SS1000000 .000
Nick Johnson, DH3001211 .176
Mark Teixeira, 1B4011011 .100
Alex Rodriguez, 3B4121013 .279
Robinson Cano, 2B4000002 .356
Jorge Posada, C4220000 .364
Curtis Granderson, CF4120001 .326
Nick Swisher, RF4000014 .222
Brett Gardner, LF4231000 .296
Totals36713624  
Batting
2B - Curtis Granderson (2, Feldman)
HR - Derek Jeter (3, Mathis), Alex Rodriguez (1, Mathis)
RBI - Derek Jeter 2 (9), Nick Johnson (5), Mark Teixeira (5), Alex Rodriguez (7), Brett Gardner (4)
2-OUT RBI - Derek Jeter 2 (5), Nick Johnson (2), Mark Teixeira (2), Brett Gardner (3)
SB - Brett Gardner (5, 2nd base off Mathis/Teagarden)
Team LOB - 7
Fielding
DP - Jeter-Cano-Teixeira
New York Yankees
A.J. Burnett (W,2-0) 7600270 2.37
Alfredo Aceves 0.1233101 9.00
Damaso Marte 0.2000010 0.00
Joba Chamberlain 1000020 2.84
WP - A.J. Burnett (1)
Pitches-Strikes - A.J. Burnett 111-68, Alfredo Aceves 13-6, Damaso Marte 8-6, Joba Chamberlain 19-13
Ground Balls-Fly Balls - A.J. Burnett 7-6, Alfredo Aceves 1-0, Joba Chamberlain 1-0
Batters Faced - A.J. Burnett 28, Alfredo Aceves 4, Damaso Marte 2, Joba Chamberlain 3
Game Information
Attendance - 44963
Game Time - 3:05
Temperature - 55
Umpires - Home - D.J. Reyburn, First Base - Mike DiMuro, Second Base - Tim Welke, Third Base - Tim Timmons