The Yankees and Rangers were locked in a low-scoring duel that extended into extra innings at Yankee Stadium on Friday night.
But one pitch from Michael King in the top of the 10th decided it. Adolis Garcia crushed King’s first pitch for a two-run homer to left (the ghost runner also scored) and Texas went on to a 4-2 victory before 44,822.
The Yankees’ struggling offense was unable to bridge the deficit in the bottom half, even with the ghost runner.
Against Rangers closer Will Smith, Isiah Kiner-Falefa lined to center, pinch hitter Josh Donaldson struck out (and was booed mightily) and Kyle Higashioka popped to short to end it.
King has allowed nine runs (eight earned), nine hits and four walks in 7 1⁄3 innings in his last six outings.
The Yankees, who had six hits, went 0-for-8 with runners in scoring position. They dropped to 6-10 with 50 runs scored since Aaron Judge injured his right big toe on June 3.
“We’ve got to mount more,” Aaron Boone said. “As simple as that. We’ve got to do better to generate some offense.”
Giancarlo Stanton, who entered the game 3-for-41 with 16 strikeouts in his last 12 games, went 0-for-4 with a strikeout. Stanton is hitless in his last 20 at-bats. Donaldson fell to 4-for-44 with 13 strikeouts in his last 15 games.
The Rangers took a 2-1 lead in the eighth on Mitch Garver’s two-out RBI single off Clay Holmes. The Yankees re-tied the score in the bottom of the inning. Kiner-Falefa singled, moved to third on Billy McKinney’s single to right and scored on pinch hitter Higashioka’s sacrifice fly to left-center.
You wouldn’t think Kiner-Falefa could have a more eventful evening than the one he had on Thursday, when he pitched a scoreless top of the ninth inning and then homered in the bottom half in the Yankees’ 10-2 loss to Seattle. But there he was in the middle of a few things on Friday.
Making his 22nd career start in center — all this season — Kiner-Falefa broke late on a two-out blooper off the bat of Leody Tavares in the fourth and watched it fall, skip off his glove and get behind him. Ezequiel Duran scored the tying run from first on what was scored a single and an error on Kiner-Falefa.
“I got caught in between a little bit,” he said. “I hesitated just a tad. Game’s on me today. Got to keep that ball in front.”
The run was unearned on the ledger of Yankees starter Clarke Schmidt, who was so sure the ball was going to be caught that he headed for the dugout when it left the bat. Schmidt ended up backing up home plate instead.
Kiner-Falefa’s next uh-oh moment came after he singled to lead off the fifth. He tried to steal second and was called safe by second base umpire John Bacon. But Kiner-Falefa must have thought Bacon had called him out because he got up and started jogging off the field. Second baseman Marcus Semien followed Kiner-Falefa and tagged him out between second and first. Officially, it was scored a caught stealing.
“That’s another dumb play that can’t happen again,” Kiner-Falefa said. “I heard someone scream ‘out!’ in my ear. Might have been Marcus, might have been the umpire. That can’t happen. I need to stay on the base.”
One possible saving grace for Kiner-Falefa: It appeared as if he might have come off the base while Semien was making the initial tag, so IKF could have been ruled out on replay had the Rangers challenged. But he saved them the trouble. “I think he was out on replay regardless,” Boone said. “But you’ve got to make sure there, right?”
The Rangers, who took three of four from the Yankees in Arlington, Texas, in late April, came in with the second-best record in the American League at 46-28. Texas lost former Mets ace Jacob deGrom after only six starts to Tommy John surgery, but otherwise, the Rangers have been one of the feel-good stories around baseball. “They’re loaded and they’re for real,” Boone said. “They’re, I feel like, going to be there all year.”
Anthony Rizzo led off the second by getting hit by a pitch from Dane Dunning. DJ LeMahieu, in the throes of a slump, lined a one-hop double off the leftfield wall to send Rizzo to third. Three pitches later, the inning was over with the Yankees ahead 1-0.
Kiner-Falefa hit a first-pitch grounder to third for the first out with the runners holding. McKinney hit a first-pitch grounder to third for the second out, but this one was hit more slowly and closer to shortstop and Rizzo was able to score. Jose Trevino followed with a first-pitch groundout to second to end the inning.
Schmidt was charged with one unearned run in 5 1⁄3 innings. He allowed six hits, walked one and struck out three to continue a good recent stretch. In his last seven starts, he has a 2.19 ERA. In his first nine starts, his ERA was 6.30.