Captain and A-Rod keep climbing Yankees ladder

Derek Jeter and Alex Rodriguez keep moving up the Yankees’ career lists. The left side of the club’s infield had standout efforts along with starting pitcher CC Sabathia as the Yankees took their winning ways in Boston all the way down to Texas in knocking off the red-hot Rangers, 7-4.

A-Rod’s first hit off a left-handed pitcher this year was a big one, a three-run homer in the fifth inning off the Rangers’ Derek Holland that gave the Yankees a five-run lead. It must have been particularly satisfying for Alex considering that he is regularly booed at Rangers Ballpark In Arlington since he pushed for the trade that brought him to the Yankees in 2004. Monday night was no different. With a sellout crowd of 48,234 on hand to celebrate the retirement of another Rodriguez, Ivan a/k/a Pudge, there were plenty of Texas-sized voices to ring A-Rod’s ears. What better way to answer taunts than hit a towering home run?

It was Rodriguez’s 632nd career home run and his 287th with the Yankees, the latter number tying him with Bernie Williams for sixth place on the franchise list. A-Rod has a way to go to catch up with the guy who is fifth on that list – Hall of Famer Yogi Berra at 358.

Jeter’s run-scoring double in the sixth, one of his four hits in the game, raised his career RBI total to 1,210, which brings him even with Hall of Famer Bill Dickey for seventh on the club ladder. Bernie is sixth at 1,257 RBI. The 4-for-5 game shot DJ’s batting average to .411. The Captain’s success against a lefthander – all four hits were off Holland – comes as no surprise. He is batting .630 against lefties this year (that’s right – 17-for-27) and raked southpaws at a .349 clip last year.

Rodriguez, on the other hand, had been all but invisible against lefties this year, going 0-for-17 before digging in against Holland, who walked him twice before giving up that bomb off a 0-1 fastball.

Holland has been something of a punching bag against the Yankees while at the same time being one of the American League’s best left-handed starters. He was 16-5 last season for the Rangers, who reached the World Series for the second consecutive season. Against the Yankees, however, Holland has had no success.

His career mark against them fell to 0-5 with a 9.26 ERA. The Yankees have hit .340 against Holland, who has allowed 48 hits (10 of them home runs) in 34 innings with more walks (21) than strikeouts (20). He fell behind in the first inning by giving up a two-out, two-run single to left-handed batting Curtis Granderson. Nick Swisher picked up his 21st RBI in the fifth with a sacrifice fly.

The Rangers, who lost for only the fourth time in 17 games, pecked away at Sabathia (2-0) in the late innings, but the big guy hung tough, especially in the eighth when he set down 3-4-5 hitters Josh Hamilton, Michael Young and Mike Napoli, who have combined to drive in 43 runs already this season, on weak grounders. Mariano Rivera followed with a perfect ninth for his fourth save.

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