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Rangers have Yankees on ropes after 7

NEW YORK -- The Rangers are a couple innings away from having their foot on the mighty Yankees' throats.

The heart of the Texas lineup padded the lead in the top of the seventh. Josh Hamilton homered. Vladimir Guerrero followed with a double -- his third hit of the game after having only two in the series entering the night -- and scored on Ian Kinsler's bloop single to give the Rangers a 7-3 lead.

The Rangers can pass the baton to the back end of the bullpen after a spectacular long-relief performance by young lefty Derek Holland.

Holland pitched 3 2/3 shutout innings, allowing one hit and one walk while striking out three. He took over with the bases loaded in the bottom of the fourth and allowed only one inherited runner to score on a fielder's choice.

A one-inning bullpen meltdown is the only reason the Rangers aren't on the verge of sweeping the series. They've bounced back from that by dominating the Yankees for 25 innings.