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."
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.
"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.
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.
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