NEW YORK -- All Ron Washington is asking from this young Texas Rangers club is to compete.
Monday night in the Bronx, Washington’s kids did compete and earned a 4-2 victory over the New York Yankees at Yankee Stadium.
This victory pushed the Texas Rangers (40-59) to just 3-14 in July and prevented the club from slipping to 21 games under .500.
Right-handed starter Miles Mikolas (1-2) earned his first big league victory as a starter and did something so few in this rotation have done, going past the sixth inning. A Rangers starter has gone more than six innings just twice in the past 18 games, first Yu Darvish and now Mikolas. In the past 11 games, Rangers starters have gone into the sixth inning five times.
Mikolas went 7⅓ innings, allowing two runs on just four hits.
What happened? The Yankees clung to a 2-1 lead until the Rangers scored three runs in the top of the sixth inning, all with two out. Geovany Soto tied the game with a single over third baseman Zelous Wheeler’s head, which was followed up by Rougned Odor's RBI single past a diving Derek Jeter at short for a 3-2 edge. Shin-Soo Choo, who was in a 0-for-21 slide coming into the game, picked up his first RBI since July 12 with a single to center for the 4-2 lead.
What was so impressive about the rally was that it came with two outs and that the lower part of the order, hitters Nos. 6-7-8-9, got it going.
Choo ends the slump: Choo started in right field for the first time this season and first time since 2012, when he played for Cleveland. Choo said he wasn’t comfortable in right due to a sore left ankle. Choo saw his rough patch extend to 0-for-22 when he flied out to center in the first. He ended the slump with a third-inning double and scored on an Adrian Beltre fielder’s choice. Choo’s biggest hit was the insurance the Rangers needed with a RBI single to center in the sixth.
Mikolas’ night: The 25-year-old righty pitched himself out of trouble in several innings, including limiting the damage in the first. AfterJeter advanced to second on a one-out balk, Mikolas gave up an infield hit to Jacoby Ellsbury. Carlos Beltran’s fly scored Jeter, but Mikolas retired Kelly Johnson on a fly to right. At one point, Mikolas retired eight in a row until Ellsbury’s homer gave the Yanks a 2-1 lead in the fourth. Mikolas didn’t let that bother him and retired the next four batters before giving up consecutive hits in the fifth. Mikolas walked Brett Gardner with one out and two on before facing Jeter. Mikolas got Jeter to bounce into a 4-6-3 double play to end the inning. Mikolas let out a scream on the mound after the play and Elvis Andrus and Rougned Odor high-fived each other.
Errors, errors, errors: The Yankees committed five errors, three by pitcher Shane Greene -- two on throws and another when he dropped the ball from the first baseman. Brian Roberts and Jeter also committed throwing errors.
Health issues: Designated hitter Jake Smolinski left the game for a pinch hitter in the ninth with a bruised left foot. Smolinski fouled a ball off his foot in a previous at bat.
Soto's status for Tuesday night is uncertain, meanwhile, after he left Monday’s game after suffering tightness in his right groin suffered when crossing the plate in the sixth.
What’s next? Nick Martinez (1-6, 5.10) is scheduled to face fellow right-hander Chase Whitley (4-3, 5.10) in Game 2 of this series Tuesday. The Rangers will take Martinez off the disabled list and make a corresponding roster move.