ARLINGTON (AP) — Andy Pettitte and Mike Mussina gave the Yankees the type of starts New York has been missing for much of the season, and Mariano Rivera came through twice.
The bullpen didn’t hold the lead for Pettitte but held for Mussina in his return from the disabled list. With Hideki Matsui hitting a tiebreaking double in the eighth inning of the opener and Doug Mientkiewicz supplying an early two-run homer in the second game, the Yankees beat Texas 4-3 and 5-2 Thursday night to sweep a three-game series from the Rangers.
“We came in with a little more fire, a little more aggression,” Mientkiewicz said. “We came in with a little more attitude and it showed.”
Rivera saved two games in one day for the fifth time in his major league career, according to the Elias Sports Bureau, the first since Sept. 29, 2004, against Minnesota. Rivera, who has three saves in five chances this season, pitched a 1-2-3 inning in the opener but allowed a pair of singles leading off the ninth in the second game before striking out Gerald Laird and getting Kenny Lofton to ground into a double play.
New York (12-14), which moved ahead of Baltimore and out of last in the AL East, headed home for a four-game weekend series against Seattle. Because of the injuries that have depleted the starting staff, Darrell Rasner and Matt DeSalvo are slated to start the final two games against the Mariners — DeSalvo will be the 10th starter for the Yankees in their first 30 games, a major league first, according to Elias.
Since owner George Steinbrenner said the team’s start was “clearly not acceptable,” the Yankees have gone 3-0.
Texas has lost five straight and is last in the AL West, 5 1/2 games behind the division-leading Los Angeles Angels.
The Rangers’ Sammy Sosa was hit on the helmet by a Brian Bruney pitch in the sixth inning of the second game. Bruney’s 2-1 pitch hit Sosa on the side of the helmet, knocking it off. Sosa fell to his knees in the batter’s box, was evaluated by trainers, then walked to the dugout under his own strength.