Yankees 6, Rangers 1

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ARLINGTON, Texas (AP) – Johnny Damon prevented runs with his play in center field and started New York’s game-turning outburst with an infield single in the Yankees’ 6-1 victory over the Texas Rangers on Saturday night.

Alex Rodriguez hit a three-run homer and Jason Giambi had a solo shot for the Yankees. Manager Joe Torre got his 999th victory in 11 seasons with the team.

Torre, who has 1,893 career victories, on Sunday can join Joe McCarthy (1,460), Casey Stengel (1,149) and Miller Huggins (1,067) with 1,000 managerial victories with the Yankees. Torre has the longest uninterrupted tenure by a New York manager since Stengel from 1949-60.

With the game tied 1-1, Damon led off the sixth with a high chopper. Mark Teixeira fielded the ball behind first base in foul territory, then scooped it to Kameron Loe (1-3), who stepped on the bag almost simultaneously with Damon. Umpire Chad Fairchild called Damon safe, though at least one television replay appeared to show Loe’s foot hitting the base first.

The Rangers then had a pitchout called, but Damon still stole the base – and got third as well – when nobody covered the bag for catcher Rod Barajas’ throw that went into the outfield.

Derek Jeter had an RBI single on the next pitch and Giambi drew another walk before A-Rod homered to left-center, his sixth, to give New York a 5-1 lead and chase Loe.

Bubba Crosby, in the lineup after Gary Sheffield was scratched because of his sore left wrist, added an RBI single.

Shawn Chacon (4-1) pitched 6 1-3 innings to win his fourth straight start, this the first not to follow a Yankees loss. He allowed only one run for the third straight game, and had six strikeouts and four walks.

Damon twice made running catches for third outs when Texas had two runners on base.

The Rangers had runners at first and second in the fifth when Damon tracked down Hank Blalock’s flyball.

In the first, after Blalock’s RBI single tied the game at 1 and with two runners still on, Damon had to go even farther. And he had to fully extend his glove near the warning track to catch the ball hit by Kevin Mench.

Damon robbed Mench of another hit in the fourth after Phil Nevin had a leadoff double.

Giambi’s 10th homer came in the first, surrounded by Loe’s only three strikeouts in his five-plus innings. Giambi drew two walks to increase his AL-leading total to 34.

Before their five-run outburst in the sixth, the Yankees had only the homer by Giambi and a single. New York’s outs in the fifth were on two foul pops and a weak flyball to right.

Michael Young had two hits, his 16th multihit game for the Rangers, who have lost two in a row after a six-game winning streak. They still have won 15 of 22 games since starting the season 2-7.

Notes: Rodriguez has 435 career homers, three short of Andre Dawson for 33rd place on the all-time list. He broke a tie with former Rangers teammate Juan Gonzalez for 35th. … Giambi has reached base in 54 of his last 94 plate appearances – 20 hits, 31 walks and hit by three pitches. … There were threatening clouds when the game started on time. It rained only briefly during the second inning without a delay. There was no batting practice on the field.

AP-ES-05-06-06 2301EDT

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