Four Yankee relievers allowed one run over 9 1-3 innings and Tino Martinez hit a three-run homer in the 11th as New York maintained its dominance of the Texas Rangers with a 10-7 victory Tuesday night.
"Our bullpen did a heck of a job," Yankees manager Joe Torre said. "They were the difference in the game."
Rangers manager Johnny Oates was forced to use rookie left-hander Corey Lee in the 11th because Oates had used his five other relievers. Lee was making his major league debut after being called up from Triple-A Oklahoma before the game.
Derek Jeter drew a one-out walk from Lee (0-1), who made his major league debut. Paul O'Neill followed with a single. One out later, Martinez hit a 3-2 hanging curveball into the right-field seats for his 20th homer.
"I've had good at-bats the last two days," said Martinez, 4-for-6 with a two-run homer against Texas on Monday night. "I haven't been swinging at bad pitches. I'm taking what they're giving me and it's been working."
Lee said Martinez did what a major league hitter should do.
"I threw a bad pitch to a good hitter," he said. "I was excited. Unfortunately, things didn't turn out the way I wanted them to."
The Yankees, who have knocked the Rangers out of the playoffs two of the last three years, are 25-9 against Texasince the beginning of the 1996 division series.
"Everything's coming together for me," said Watson, pitching for his third team this season. "I was able to get ahead of the hitters with my fastball. They're a free-swinging team, so I was able to get them out by swinging at sliders in the dirt."
Ramiro Mendoza (6-7) held the Rangers scoreless in the ninth and 10th, and Mariano Rivera pitched the 11th for his 36th save. With two runners on and two outs, Rivera struck out Ivan Rodriguez, who went 0-for-6.
Rusty Greer went 3-for-5 with a two-run homer and two doubles for Texas.
Trailing 7-6, the Rangers tied the game in the eighth inning on Lee Stevens' 20th homer with two outs. Yankees reliever Mike Stanton had 14 consecutive scoreless appearances before allowing the homer.
Chuck Knoblauch's 13th homer, a three-run shot, gave the Yankees a 5-4 second-inning lead, then New York rallied to take a 7-6 advantage with a two-run fifth. Tino Martinez's RBI single put the Yankees in front.
Cone allowed six runs and seven hits in 1 2-3 innings his shortest since Aug. 17, 1997 against the Rangers, when he left after one inning with arm problems.
"I felt fine, but they came out aggressive," Cone said. "I'm entitled to a bad night."
Texas starter Mike Morgan allowed six runs and five hits in four-plus innings.
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