New York Yankees at Texas Rangers
- The Yankees lost, 8-7, in 11 innings to the Red Sox last night, and including two setbacks at Fenway Park over the weekend, have dropped four of their last five games overall. Sunday's walkoff loss was the fourth of the season for New York.
- Including a 4-2 loss on Sunday, Texas was swept by Baltimore over the weekend -- its fourth straight setback and seventh loss in the last eight games overall. The Rangers have dropped seven straight home games vs. AL East opponents.
- The Rangers took two of three from New York earlier this season at Yankee Stadium (June 25-27). The Yanks and Rangers have played 10 games since the beginning of last season and each has won five of those contests.
- Ivan Nova went 8.0 innings and allowed just one run vs. the Royals in his last outing, earning his second consecutive victory in the process. Nova is 32-14 (.696) in 69 career starts -- the third-best win percentage of any starting pitcher since the beginning of 2010 (minimum 60 GS).
- Yu Darvish returns from a DL-stint, taking on the Yankees for the third time in his career tonight (1-0, 1.98 ERA in first two starts). Darvish is just 1-3 (3.07 ERA) in his last nine outings after recording a mark of 7-1 (2.97 ERA) in his first nine starts of the 2013 campaign.
- Robinson Cano went 3-for-5 with two RBI last night, and is now batting .415 (1 HR, 12 RBI) during his current 12-game hitting streak. Cano has a career batting average of .342 at Rangers Ballpark -- third best of any MLB player since 2005 (minimum 100 AB).
- Mariners give Cano 10-year, $240M deal
- Beltran, Yanks agree on $45M for 3 years
- Napoli, Red Sox agree to 2 years, $32M
- Granderson, Mets agree to $60M, 4 years
- RHP Qualls returns to Astros for 2 years
By NICOLINO DIBENEDETTO
(AP) -- Strong pitching has keyed the Texas Rangers' success against the New York Yankees this year.
Derek Holland provided one of those performances, but doing it again at home may be an issue.
Holland attempts to win there for the first time in nearly two months Thursday, when the Rangers try to take this four-game set from the Yankees.
Texas (56-45) has won four of six meetings with New York, thanks in large part to the pitching staff's 2.35 ERA while limiting the Yankees to a .192 batting average.
The starters have been particularly dominant in those victories, compiling a 0.98 ERA. Matt Garza turned in the latest gem - allowing an unearned run in 7 1-3 innings of Wednesday's 3-1 win - in his Rangers debut after being acquired in a trade from the Chicago Cubs earlier this week.
The Rangers are hoping Holland (8-5, 3.10 ERA) can follow up that effort. He tossed a two-hitter in a 2-0 win at New York on June 27.
That was a stark contrast from the left-hander's previous eight regular-season meetings with the Yankees, during which he went 0-5 with an 8.85 ERA, including 0-2 with a 10.29 ERA in three home games.
Holland hasn't won there since beating Kansas City on May 31.
He's 0-3 with a 4.81 ERA over his last four starts at Rangers Ballpark, but wasn't entirely to blame for Friday's 3-1 loss to Baltimore. He allowed three runs in eight innings, and the offense went 0 for 10 with runners in scoring position.
"I thought he threw the ball extremely well. He certainly threw it well enough that on any other night he might have got a victory," manager Ron Washington said.
The Yankees (53-48) may not need much offense behind Hiroki Kuroda (9-6, 2.65), who is 2-0 with a 0.95 ERA over his last three starts.
The right-hander was sharp again in Saturday's 5-2 win at AL East-leading Boston, yielding two runs in seven innings.
"(Kuroda) had everything," manager Joe Girardi said. "His stuff was really crisp. He kept his pitch count down in the early innings. His stuff was really sharp."
Kuroda, though, has given up seven runs in 12 innings while losing his two career visits to Arlington, with the most recent coming on April 23, 2012.
He didn't get a decision against the Rangers on June 25, allowing three runs - two earned - with six strikeouts in 6 2-3 innings of a 4-3 home win.
Kuroda has allowed A.J. Pierzynski to go 2 for 6 with a homer off him over the past three seasons. The catcher may be back in the lineup since he's 4 for 12 in this series after connecting for an RBI single in the first before a go-ahead, solo homer in the sixth Wednesday.
Brett Gardner is giving the Yankees some punch in the leadoff spot, going 9 for 20 over the past five games. He's a career .326 hitter against the Rangers, but has a .400 average with eight runs over the past 10 meetings.
Vernon Wells hasn't come close to being that effective, hitting .167 in 15 games against Texas. He's struck out five times while failing to get a hit in 11 at-bats versus Holland over the last two seasons.
Updated July 25, 2013