By MIKE FITZPATRICK AP Sports Writer
NEW YORK (AP) _ Brett Gardner hit a tiebreaking homer off All-Star ace Yu Darvish, and the New York Yankees beat the Texas Rangers 2-1 Wednesday night in a rain-shortened game called in the fifth inning under bizarre circumstances.
David Phelps (5-4) pitched out of a jam just before the storm, and Francisco Cervelli doubled twice to help the Yankees win for the fifth time in six games on a 10-game homestand following the All-Star break.
New York has taken two of the first three in a four-game series that ends Thursday afternoon.
Chase Headley had a double in his first start for New York after he was acquired in Tuesday’s trade with San Diego.
Phelps gave up five hits in his first career complete game. After a one-out triple by Leonys Martin in the fifth, the right-hander retired Chris Gimenez on a foul popup and struck out Rougned Odor.
Phelps and Cervelli pumped their fists as they headed toward the dugout _ perhaps knowing how important that last out might be, making the game official with heavy rain in the forecast.
Play was halted with one out in the bottom of the fifth, and the game was called after a delay of 1 hour, 49 minutes. It appeared the teams were ready to resume at one point, but managers Joe Girardi and Ron Washington expressed concern about the dangers of a soft, wet field.
After much discussion, a light rain returned and the tarp was put back on the field. Less than 10 minutes later, the game was stopped for good _ giving the Yankees the victory.
New York lost a rain-shortened game in Baltimore on July 13, the last day before the All-Star break.
Darvish (9-6) allowed four hits over 4 1-3 innings and threw 67 pitches in his second complete game of the year. He struck out five and walked none.
It took 13 minutes and three tries for the grounds crew to pull the soaked tarp over a drenched infield. Bat boys, clubhouse attendants and security guards in clear ponchos rushed out to help. One stumbled and briefly got trapped underneath the tarp. It took more than 30 men to finally finish the job, bringing a roar from the crowd.
Only 15 minutes later, the rain had stopped and workers removed the tarp. But the field was so wet, it took about 50 minutes to dry and prepare the field. Washington had a long discussion near home plate with umpires Dale Scott and Dan Iassogna, and they soon were joined by Girardi as the grounds crew toiled away.
A public-address announcement informed fans the game was scheduled to resume at approximately 10:05 p.m. But as Darvish headed back to the mound and other players warmed up, Girardi stalked around near first base testing the surface.
He motioned for an audience, and the huddle that ensued included both managers, Rangers pitching coach Mike Maddux and Yankee Stadium head groundskeeper Dan Cunningham, who appeared to be doing much of the talking.
The umpires and grounds crew headed back underneath the stands, and Texas players milled around in front of their dugout for about 20 minutes waiting for word. Darvish flipped a ball, and even pawed at the dirt near third base.
When the rain started falling again around 10:25 p.m., the tarp was placed back over the infield.
Cervelli hit a leadoff double in the third and scored on Darvish’s second career balk. Gardner followed with his 10th home run, the first time he’s reached double digits in seven major league seasons.
Texas scored in the third on Odor’s double-play grounder after consecutive singles by Martin and Chris Gimenez.
NOTES: Rangers RF Alex Rios returned to the lineup after missing three games with a sprained right ankle. … Washington said there are still “ghosts” at the new Yankee Stadium, which opened in 2009. “I think they just came across the street,” he said. … Brian McCann made his second consecutive start at first base for the Yankees in place of Mark Teixeira (back). Cervelli was behind the plate again after catching all 14 innings Tuesday night. “Cervy’s got a lot of energy, so I think he’ll be fine,” Girardi said, drawing chuckles. … Headley also is a backup option at first base, Girardi said.
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