New York Yankees pitcher Chien-Ming Wang delivers a pitch in the first inning against the Texas Rangers, Wednesday, May 17, 2006, at Yankee Stadium in New York. (AP Photo/Kathy Willens)
W4-1 IP8.0 6H 3R 2ER 1BB 3SO 1HR ERA 3.79
EW YORK -- In each of Chien-Ming Wang's last two starts, he has pitched one night after the Yankees had endured grueling four-hour games.
Last Friday, Wang responded with eight shutout innings against the A's. Wednesday, he didn't hold the Rangers off the scoreboard, but his eight solid innings were enough to lead the Yankees to a 4-3 win over Texas.
Wang (4-1) overcame three Yankees errors to hold the Rangers to three runs (two earned) on six hits, winning his third straight start.
"He's feeling pretty good about himself right now," said manager Joe Torre. "We could have helped him, defensively, a bit more than we did tonight, but we got through it."
Jorge Posada, whose walk-off homer on Tuesday lifted the Yankees to the biggest comeback in team history, continued his torrid streak at the plate, going 2-for-2 with two RBIs. Posada is 11-for-25 on the current homestand, a .444 average.
"I feel comfortable, like I'm doing a lot of good things," Posada said. "I'm staying behind the ball and getting the big hit. Hopefully I can continue that the whole year."
"He had some great at-bats tonight," Torre said. "We needed everything we could get."
With Boston's loss to Baltimore, the Yankees (23-15) are now in a first-place tie with the Red Sox in the American League East.
New York used a two-out rally in the fifth inning to snap a 1-1 tie, as Posada, Robinson Cano and Bernie Williams each had RBI singles, giving the Yanks a three-run lead.
Mariano Rivera, who allowed the go-ahead run in the ninth inning on Tuesday, setting up Posada's dramatic homer, held on to a one-run lead on Wednesday to earn his eighth save.
"I wanted to get Mo in there after last night," Torre said. "He seemed to be a little sharper tonight with location. He didn't have any breathing room; it was vintage Mo."
Wang looked sharp early, but the Yankees' defense didn't do much to help its starter out. Andy Phillips committed an error in the first, coming off the bag to take a throw from Alex Rodriguez, but Wang got through the inning without allowing a run.
Two innings later, Cano made the first of his two errors, receiving a potential double-play relay from A-Rod away from second base. Phil Nevin was safe at second on the play, and he went on to score on the next play, an RBI single by Kevin Mench.
Wang pounded the strike zone with sinkers and sliders, getting one ground ball after another. Cano committed another error in the sixth, but Wang erased the baserunner with a double play. Wang induced another twin-killing in the sixth, making up for a Mark Teixeira single.
"It didn't seem to bother him, because we got a double play," Torre said of Wang. "We understand that we're going to be busy in the infield when he has his game going. He's fun to watch pitch for our side, because we get a lot of quick innings."
"He doesn't get rattled by the things that are happening behind him," Posada said. "He just keeps coming. He seemed to get more comfortable as the game went along."
Texas starter Kameron Loe (2-4) got out of jams in the second and third, but he couldn't do the same in the fifth, as the Yankees put together five consecutive two-out hits to break the game open.
Wang retired the side in order in the seventh, but after retiring the first hitter in the eighth, he gave up a double to Gerald Laird and a two-run homer to Gary Matthews, pulling Texas within a run.
Cano helped Wang make it through the frame, making a nice play on a hard grounder hit by Michael Young for the second out.
"I never put my head down," Cano said. "You're going to make some mistakes, but sometimes, you'll make the right play. I made the right play at the right time."
"When he needed to make a play in the eighth inning, he made one," Torre said. "The kid is tough, but sometimes his mind wanders when he doesn't get a couple of hits."
Rivera closed it out with a scoreless ninth, throwing a perfect inning against the middle of the Rangers' lineup.
"I wanted to be in there," Rivera said. "These are the situations I always pitch in, so I expected it. I expected a good outing."
So did the Yankees. And they got one.
Mark Feinsand is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.