ARLINGTON, Texas (AP) - Derek Holland felt as if he pitched a good game for the Texas Rangers.
While the left-hander actually did, it just wasn't good enough when matched up against the New York Yankees with Hiroki Kuroda and Mariano Rivera.
Holland worked into the eighth inning, longer than the seven scoreless innings by Kuroda, but Rivera closed the game with his 641st career save in the Yankees' 2-0 victory Thursday.
``The Yankees are the Yankees no matter who it is,' Holland said. ``I was matching Kuroda pitch for pitch. I did that for a while. I left a pitch up to (Robinson) Cano, the last batter, and he got on and got in. ... Great pitcher on the other side.'
Actually two for a Yankees squad struggling to score runs. They managed to split the four-game series while scoring only a combined eight runs.
Kuroda (10-6) scattered six hits and had three strikeouts with one walk. The right-hander threw 100 pitches on a warm day, though overcast conditions kept the temperature in the low 90s - about 10 degrees cooler than originally forecast. He is 3-0 with a 0.69 ERA in four July starts.
``I don't I had any particular pitch that was working well, and from the get-go I didn't have a good outing,' Kuroda said through an interpreter. ``But I think I was able to get big outs and have a decent outing.'
The Yankees led for good when Brent Lillibridge's RBI double in the sixth made it 1-0 off Holland (8-6).
Austin Romine led off the sixth with a double down the left-field line and moved to third on Ichiro Suzuki's sacrifice bunt before trotting home on Lillibridge's hit.
Holland struck out two and walked one while allowing eight hits, five of them for extra bases. The lefty was gone after a one-out double in the eighth by Cano, who scored when Eduardo Nunez reached on a fielder's choice grounder.
``His job is to keep us in the ballgame, and he's been doing that,' manager Ron Washington said.
David Robertson worked a 1-2-3 eighth for New York before Rivera took over in the ninth. Rivera allowed an infield single before getting his 33rd save of the season to extend his career record. He has 40 career saves against Texas, including both New York victories this week.
The Rangers honored Rivera before the game with an appropriate gift of cowboy boots, a cowboy hat and a $5,000 donation to the Mariano Rivera Foundation that helps needy children.
The boots given to Rivera were inscribed with the Yankees logo, his name and No. 42. They were presented by John Wetteland, who before becoming the Rangers' career saves leader was the Yankees closer and was set up by Rivera during their 1996 World Series championship season.
Texas closer Joe Nathan, who had the save in last week's All-Star game after Rivera pitched the eighth, delivered the hat.
Hall of Fame pitcher Nolan Ryan, baseball's strikeout king who is now the Rangers CEO, took part in the presentation of a $5,000 donation to the Mariano Rivera Foundation that helps needy children.
``It was wonderful,' Rivera said of the recognition, though he wasn't yet ready to wear the boots.
``Mo looks good in a hat like that,' manager Joe Girardi said. ``It was nice who they had. ... It's a pretty special group of people that put out there with him.'
The Rangers scored only 10 runs in the series, and are 2-5 since the All-Star break. They have lost nine of 12 overall.
It was the sixth shutout victory this season for the Yankees. Texas was held without a run for the sixth time, already one more than last season.
``We're not hitting on the cylinders we need to be hitting on,' Washington said. ``We need to keep grinding.'
Notes: Rangers 3B Adrian Beltre has gone 78 plate appearances over 18 games without a strikeout, the longest streak in the majors this season. ... In 10 playoff appearances against Texas, Rivera pitched 14 scoreless innings with five more saves, including two in both the 1998 and 1999 AL division series the Yankees swept in three games each. ... The Yankees almost had another run in the seventh but Romine's double to deep center bounced over the wall, forcing David Adams to stop at third instead of scoring before an inning-ending grounder. ... New York had the leadoff hitter on base in five of the first six innings - on four hits and a throwing error by Beltre, the Gold Glove winner who also had an error the previous night. Beltre hadn't had errors in consecutive games in two years.
The Associated Press News Service
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