Freddy Garcia’s first scheduled start this season was wiped out by rain. The weather wasn’t much better when he finally got another chance to take the mound.
Garcia allowed two hits over six innings in his Yankees debut, Mark Teixeira drove in three runs and New York held off the Texas Rangers 5-2 on a bone-chilling Saturday in the Bronx.
With temperatures in the mid-40s, Garcia (1-0) worked through steady rain showers and winds gusting to 30 mph to shut down the Texas offense. The only hits the veteran right-hander allowed were to Adrian Beltre in the first and David Murphy in the fourth.
“He pitched really good,” said Robinson Cano, who added a two-run homer in the eighth for the Yankees. “He waited a long time for this.”
The Yankees’ fifth starter, Garcia was supposed to start last week against the Minnesota Twins. When rain postponed the game, the well-traveled Garcia was pushed back more than a week, relegated once again to playing long toss and throwing bullpen sessions.
It sure must have kept him sharp. He needed to throw only 84 pitches against Texas.
“I’m really happy, thankful for starting,” said Garcia, who did toss an inning of relief against Boston on April 10. “I’ve been waiting a couple of weeks and it came out good.”
He turned over a three-run lead to the bullpen, and Joba Chamberlain got through the seventh without trouble before Rafael Soriano struggled again in his new eighth-inning role.
The former Tampa Bay closer allowed run-scoring singles by Elvis Andrus and Michael Young that made it 3-2, and nearly a three-run homer by Beltre — the deep flyball landed in the seats just outside the right-field foul pole. Beltre eventually grounded into a double play.
“I’m sticking my head out and I thought it was foul, and I’m glad they called it that way,” Yankees manager Joe Girardi said. “The wind was blowing that way.”
Mariano Rivera worked around Yorvit Torrealba’s double in the ninth for his sixth save.
Derek Holland (2-1) pitched well for Texas, allowing five runs in 7 2-3 innings. The young left-hander baffled the Yankees in the AL championship series last fall, tossing 5 2-3 innings of scoreless relief, but lost for the third time in three starts against New York.
The Rangers (10-4) lost for the third time in four games overall.
“Derek did a great job,” manager Ron Washington said. “He really just made two mistakes.”
Perhaps expecting rain to force an early finish, New York wasted little time taking the lead. Nick Swisher lashed a single up the middle in the first, and Teixeira promptly drove a 3-2 pitch into the right-field bleachers to give New York the lead. It was his fifth homer of the season after going hitless in four at-bats in the series opener Friday night.
The Yankees scored again in the third, when Derek Jeter walked on four pitches to start the inning. He went to third on Swisher’s double and scored on Teixeira’s sacrifice fly.
The Rangers never threatened against Garcia, going down in order in the first, third, fourth and sixth innings on an array of splitters, changeups and looping curveballs.
“Freddy used to be all power,” Washington said. “He was smart in the way that he pitched. You’ve got to give him credit, especially against an aggressive team like ours.”
The veteran starter got plenty of help from his defense, too, including a nifty diving stop by Alex Rodriguez on a hard groundball in the third inning, and a sliding grab on the wet grass by Swisher in the fifth inning that may have saved a run.
Rodriguez left in the seventh inning with what the team called lower back and oblique stiffness. No medical tests were planned, though Girardi wasn’t sure whether he’ll play Sunday.
“His lower right side was stiff,” Girardi said. “We’ll see how he is tomorrow.”
NOTES: Holland matched a career high with 118 pitches. … Yankees C Francisco Cervelli (broken foot) played an extended spring training game Saturday in Tampa, Fla. … RHP Carlos Silva had his first bullpen session Saturday since agreeing to a minor league deal with New York on April 9. Silva was released by the Cubs in spring training. … The paid attendance was 41,876, though perhaps half that many braved the weather.