NEW YORK -- The Yankees took three of four from the worst team in baseball. They weren't pretty games, but they count, nonetheless.
The Yankees are 2½ games back of the Orioles in the AL East; the Orioles face the Mariners tonight in Seattle.
McCarthyism: Brandon McCarthy is now 3-for-3. Three starts as a Yankee, all three excellent.
The Rangers are awful, but that is not McCarthy's problem. McCarthy went six innings, allowing one run on four hits. He walked two and struck out five. He set down who was put in front of him.
Journeyman or not, McCarthy has been one of the better starters in baseball in the past month, starting with the end of his stay with the Diamondbacks. His ERA in his past five starts is 1.72, and his team has won each of the games.
That's Cervelli: The hot-hitting Francisco Cervelli gave the Yankees a 2-1 lead in the fifth. Cervelli nailed a double into the corner, which allowed the speedy Ichiro Suzuki to come around from first without a play at the plate.
Cervelli has hit safely in eight of his past nine starts. He is 12-for-32 (.375) in those games.
The Yankees would add another run in the fifth on a Brett Gardner sacrifice fly to deep left.
RBI Chase: In the fourth, Chase Headley showed off some of that recent "hit velo" general manager Brian Cashman was fond of talking about. Headley nailed an RBI single off the right-field wall for the Yankees' first run, tying the game at 1.
The Yankees were hitless for the first three innings before Gardner led off the fourth with a bloop single. He scored on Headley's rocket to right.
Pen pals: If you want to be optimistic about the Yankees, look to their pen. Yes, Adam Warren gave up a solo homer in the seventh, but Warren, Dellin Betances and David Robertson are a pretty good trio. Matt Thornton picked up the last out of the seventh for Warren, then Betances and Robertson took care of business in the eighth and ninth.
Betances only struck out one of his three outs.
Insurance: Brian McCann added an RBI double to make it 4-2 in the bottom of the eighth.
Attendance watch: There were 45,105 here and none got to see Derek Jeter, who had the day off.
What's next: The Yankees finish off this 10-game home stand with three against the Blue Jays. Here are the pitching matchups: Friday, Hiroki Kuroda (6-6, 3.88) vs. Mark Buehrle (10-6, 2.86); Saturday, Shane Greene (2-1, 2.79) vs. Drew Hutchison (6-9, 4.54); Sunday, Chase Whitley (4-3, 4.60) vs. J.A. Happ (8-5, 4.55).