ARLINGTON, Texas (AP) – Hank Blalock hit a two-run homer off Wayne Franklin in the eighth inning, rallying the Texas Rangers past the New York Yankees 2-1 on Tuesday night.

Blalock’s two-out homer off Franklin (0-1) skimmed over the top of the right-center field fence and dropped into the Rangers bullpen.

David Dellucci and Michael Young started the eighth with consecutive singles before Mark Teixeira grounded into a double play. Blalock then hit his 19th homer, the major league-leading 157th for the Rangers.

The Yankees lost for only the third time in 14 games and dropped a half-game behind Boston in the AL East, one day after taking sole possession of first place for the first time since a season-opening victory over the Red Sox.

A night after the Yankees won 11-10 in the opener of the series matching two of the three highest-scoring teams in the major leagues, pitching and defense dominated.

The Yankees didn’t score off Chan Ho Park until the eighth, when Bubba Crosby drew a leadoff walk, moved up on Derek Jeter’s sacrifice bunt and came around on Robinson Cano’s single.

Mike Mussina pitched six shutout innings without getting his 10th win, leaving with the game scoreless after throwing 109 pitches. Park struck out five, but allowed six hits and three walks while hitting two other batters over 109 pitches through 7 1-3 innings.

Kameron Loe (4-2) got two outs in the eighth, and Francisco Cordero worked the ninth for his 22nd save in 27 chances, getting pinch-hitter Tino Martinez to fly out with two on.

Mussina struck out seven while allowing four singles and three walks in the right-hander’s 29th career start against the Rangers.

After allowing two runners against the first three hitters, Mussina faced the minimum 11 batters over the next 3 2-3 innings. Two runners reached during that stretch, but both were caught stealing by catcher Jorge Posada.

Kevin Mench and Richard Hidalgo had consecutive singles to start the fifth, but Mussina got the next three batters out.

Felix Rodriguez, activated from the disabled list earlier Tuesday after missing 55 games recovering from left knee surgery, pitched the seventh for New York.

Park benefited from three double plays in a span of four innings, the most crucial being the last one in the sixth with runners at first and third.

Young snagged Alex Rodriguez’s grounder to shortstop to start an inning-ending double play. On the previous play, Young made a diving stop on Gary Sheffield’s ball up the middle to force Robinson Cano, who had reached on a one-out double, to hold at third base.

Alfonso Soriano fielded Jeter’s grounder near second base to start an inning-ending double play in the third. Two innings later, Soriano tagged Posada running in front of him before turning a full circle and throwing to first.

Notes: Soriano had 11 stolen bases without getting caught until the Yankees series. He was tagged out sliding into the second base Tuesday, a night after he beat Posada’s throw on another attempt only to overslide the base. … Jeter took extra BP before Tuesday’s game. He went 0-for-3 and has just two hits his last 23 at-bats, dropping his average to .296. … Jason Giambi was thrown out at second base trying to stretch a second-inning hit. Giambi rounded the base at the same time center fielder Gary Matthews Jr. was picking up the ball, but kept running anyway.

AP-ES-07-19-05 2317EDT

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