NEW YORK (AP) -- Talk about role reversals.
Texas had been swept in Boston, had limped into Yankee Stadium
with the highest ERA in the major leagues.
So what happened?
The Rangers swept three games at Yankee Stadium for the first
time in the franchise's 43-year existence.
"It's a very tough task, something we're very proud of,'' Alex
Rodriguez said Sunday after John Thomson's three-hitter led Texas
to a 5-1 victory.
The Yankees have lost six of seven and are 9-13 following an
18-3 start. New York has lost three straight series for the first
time since May 1999 and after leading the AL East since opening
day, the Yankees have been tied by the Boston Red Sox heading into
a three-game series at Fenway Park.
"I see a team that's flat. We're reeling in all aspects,''
general manager Brian Cashman said.
Cashman has been in daily contact with owner George
Steinbrenner, who likely isn't pleased by the performance of his
$150 million payroll.
"He feels the way you think he would feel,'' Cashman said.
New York has dropped seven of its last eight games at home and
was swept in the Bronx for the first time since Seattle took three
games from May 3-5 last year.
After hitting .306 and averaging 7.2 runs per game to back a
3.06 ERA during their 21-game spurt, the Yankees have batted .245
over their last 22 games, averaging 4.5 runs with a 4.55 ERA,
according to the Elias Sports Bureau.
Looking for a list of the guilty?
Jorge Posada was 2-for-17 (.118) on the homestand, Jason Giambi
3-for-22 (.136), Alfonso Soriano 6-for-26 (.231) and Bernie
Williams 7-for-28 (.250). Giambi, booed as he went 0-for-3 Sunday,
is batting just .203 this season.
"I know Jason's trying too hard,'' Yankees manager Joe Torre
Texas, which has a 5.77 ERA, held New York to eight hits in
winning the final two games of the series and outscored the Yankees
18-8 in the three games.
"Anytime you're not scoring, it looks like the team is flat,''
Derek Jeter said. "It looks pretty bad when you're not pitching,
you're not hitting, you're not playing defense.''
Rangers manager Buck Showalter, who managed the Yankees from
1992-95, tried to play down the significance of the sweep for his
team, last in the AL West at 19-24.
"It's only worthwhile if we take it and built on it,'' he said.
His players knew it meant much more.
"He was very excited, although he wouldn't admit it to us,''
Rodriguez said. "We knew he had an extra kick in his step.''
Thomson (3-4) had never been to Yankee Stadium before this
weekend -- he even arrived early Friday to check out the monuments
in left field.
He wound up pitching the low-hit complete game of his career,
his eighth complete game overall. Alfonso Soriano doubled in the
first and third innings, and Hideki Matsui doubled in the sixth.
Thomson struck out a season-high nine and walked five, matching
his career high. His key moment came in the sixth, when he was
protecting a 4-1 lead. With two outs and runners at second and
third, he struck out Posada with a changeup and pumped his glove.
"That was huge,'' Thomson said.
New York went ahead in the first when Soriano doubled, stole
third and came home on Jeter's infield grounder, but Gonzalez hit
his 14th homer of the season on a shoulder-high 0-2 pitch.
Texas added two runs in the sixth on consecutive doubles by
Rodriguez and Rafael Palmeiro, and a two-out error by Soriano, who
let Michael Young's grounder to second bounce off his glove.
Switch-hitter Carl Everett, batting left-handed against the
left-handed Chris Hammond, added an RBI single in the ninth.
"It is a good feeling, but it's not like we're opening up
bottles of champagne,'' Palmeiro said. "I thought we salvaged the
road trip after the disaster in Boston.''
The Rangers swept a two-game series at New York on May
10-11, 1983. As the expansion Washington Senators, the team swept
two two-game series at Yankee Stadium, May 16-17, 1961, and April
20-21, 1971, according to Elias. ... It was Gonzalez's sixth career
homer off Mussina. ... Thomson got the first complete-game win for
Texas since Kenny Rogers last June 1. ... The Rangers have won
three straight, matching their longest winning streak this season.
They also won three straight from April 27-29. ... Williams,
bothered by an aching knee, was moved to DH and Matsui made his
first major league start in center field. He had three putouts but
broke back on Everett's fly ball in the fifth, which dropped for a
single. ... Mussina struck out Hank Blalock in the fourth inning
for his 2,000th strikeout.
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