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Rangers Get Back At Yanks


Just over a month ago, Esteban Loaiza was struggling to keep his job with the Texas Rangers. After winning his seventh straight decision, he's making a bid to become the staff's ace.

Loaiza overcame a shaky start to pitch seven strong innings as the Rangers beat the New York Yankees 7-3 to salvage the finale of a three-game series between two possible playoff opponents.

"He can throw any pitch for a strike right now," said Texas catcher Ivan Rodriguez. "He's hot."

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Game Summary

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  • Loaiza (7-1), who hasn't lost since being inserted into the starting rotation after the All-Star break, gave up three runs in his first three innings, but gradually regained his command and needed just 24 pitches to get through the fifth, sixth and seventh innings.

    Loaiza allowed all three runs and eight hits in seven innings, struck out five and walked two.

    "I feel a lot of confidence in myself," Loaiza said. "I'm starting to throw the ball where I'm supposed to."

    Rafael Palmeiro continued his torrid pace for the Rangers, getting his ninth homer in as many games in the sixth inning. Palmeiro was 11-for-24 during Texas' six-game homestand, including six homers and 13 RBIs.

    "Playing the Yankees is fun," Palmeiro said. "You get up to play these kinds of games. Fortunately, we were able to win one of them."

    Hideki Irabu (10-5), who had his career-high eight-game winning streak snapped in his last start, gave up six runs and 10 hits in five-plus innings.

    Trailing by three runs, Texas took a 4-3 lead in the third when Mark McLemore, Ivan Rodriguez and Rusty Greer hit consecutive one-out RBI singles and Juan Gonzalez added a sacrifice fly.

    Irabu was chased in sixth by Palmeiro's 39th homer and consecutive singles by Todd Zeile and Lee Stevens, who drove in Zeile. Mark McLemore added an RBI single off Jeff Nelson in the eighth.

    "I threw a lot of balls up," Irabu said. "My pitching balance was off, which happens sometimes during games."

    The Rangers got their final run in the bottom of the eighth, when Royce Clayton singled and scored on McLemore's second RBI single of the night.

    Jeff Zimmerman and John Wetteland each pitched a scoreless inning for Texas to close out the victory.

    Texas manager Johnny Oates said the win could prove to be a confidence booster for a team that has struggled against the Yankees recently. The Rangers are 4-8 against the Yankees this season, and have lost six of seven playoff games to New York in the last three years.

    "It had gotten frustrating," Oates said. "We knew we could beat these guys, but it just wasn't happening. Hopefully, this will erase some of that."

    New York took an early lead for the third consecutive night. Paul O'Neill hit an RBI single and Bernie Williams had a run-scoring double-play grounder to put the Yankees ahead 2-0 in the first, and Tino Martinez hit a solo homer in the third.

    Notes

  • Texas is 9-19 against New York since 1997, not including 0-3 in the playoffs.
  • Ricky Ledee was scratched from the Yankees' starting lineup with the flu.
  • Martinez's homer was his sixth against the Rangers this season, tying Kansas City's John Mayberry's 1975 mark for the most in one year against Texas.
  • Palmeiro's homer was his 24th in Arlington this year, tying Gonzalez's home record, set in 1993.
  • Gonzalez'sacrifice fly in the third was his major league-leading 12th of the season, tying a team record shared by Jeff Burroughs (1974) and Ruben Sierra (1989).
  • The Rangers have 47 homers in August, tying the team record for any month.

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