Freddy Garcia had his best splitter of the season Wednesday night. It is the pitch that Garcia can make batters miss. Well, except for Josh Hamilton.
"It is a swing-and-a-miss pitch," catcher Russell Martin said. "A hitter can know it is coming and still miss it."
Well, except for Hamilton. He hit one of his two solo homers off a Garcia splitter.
"[That] never happens," Martin said.
Except for Hamilton, Garcia dominated the Rangers into the seventh inning. He allowed just two hits to the other Rangers' in the lineup. When Garcia left with two-out in the inning, the fans gave him a well-deserved standing ovation.
Since returning to the rotation in the beginning of July, Garcia has been a top starter for the Yankees. He has posted a 5-3 record with a 3.69 ERA in that span. He is using his combination of slow, slower and slowest pitches and a ton of guile as the blueprint to his success.
"His off-speed was tremendous," Joe Girardi said. "He mixed in his fastball enough to keep them off balance."
At the beginning of the year, Garcia lost his spot in the rotation by going 0-2 with a 12.51 ERA in his four starts.
"My arm was dead," Garcia said.
Now, though, if the final six weeks break his way, it's not out of the question that he could get a playoff start.
• The Yankees' starters have held Texas to a .199 average so far in 2012, which is an interesting stat when you think about October. Overall, the Rangers entered Wednesday with a .276 average, the best in the majors.
• After Hamilton's two homers, Rafael Soriano faced the Ranger slugger to begin the ninth. And Soriano struck him out.
• Eric Chavez (3-for-3) is batting .514 (19-for-37) with five homers and 11 RBIs in his last 11 games.
"It is as good as it gets," Girardi said. "When you lose a player of Alex's caliber, Chavez was asked to step in and is hitting fifth in our lineup and play an important role and he has done it."
• Derek Jeter's third inning single extended his hit streak to 11 games
• The Yankees are a season-best 23 games over .500. They were also 23 games over on July 18th.