NEW YORK (AP) — During the month leading up to the July 31 trade deadline, Mike Minor heard often he might wind up pitching in the Bronx.
Whatever the Yankees had in mind, this certainly wasn’t it.
Minor and two relievers became the first pitchers in 221 tries to shut out New York’s vaunted lineup, helping the Texas Rangers to a 7-0 victory over the AL East leaders Monday.
“He almost made it look easy,” Rangers manager Chris Woodward said.
The Yankees had the second longest streak without being blanked since at least 1900 behind a 308-game stretch by the Babe Ruth-led Yankees from 1931-33. New York was previously shut out June 30, 2018, by Chris Sale and the Red Sox.
Jose Trevino — a first-time batterymate with Minor — Delino DeShields and Shin-Soo Choo homered to back Minor (12-8), a resurgent All-Star who allowed five hits over 7 1/3 innings. The left-hander struck out five, walked one and threw 111 pitches before being pulled with two on in the eighth.
“He’s nasty, man,” Yankees outfielder Clint Frazier said. “His fastball plays up, which means it might say 92 but it feels faster than that, and he obviously threw every pitch that he wanted in every count that he wanted.”
Shawn Kelley replaced Minor and retired DJ LeMahieu and Aaron Judge to end the eighth. Emmanuel Clase shut down the heart of the order in the ninth to end New York’s streak of 220 games with at least a run.
The 31-year-old Minor was drilled on the backside by LeMahieu leading off the first, but recovered to make that out and many more after. He allowed just one runner past second base.
“It felt like he could execute pretty much any pitch in any location,” Woodward said. “With his stuff, he’s got elite stuff at times, when you get that plus the command, it’s tough.”
Minor and his deceptive, rising fastball were rumored to be a trade target for the Yankees in July. The 31-year-old said he had a hard time blocking out the speculation, but since sticking with the Rangers, he’s posted a 2.83 ERA in six starts.
“It was a little bit difficult to get through that and pitch,” Minor said, adding “it feels good to be here. It felt good to be wanted, too, but at the end of the day nothing happened and I’m still here.”
The Yankees’ scoring streak nearly fell Sunday when they trailed Oakland 4-0 after 7 1/2 innings, but New York rallied and won 5-4 on Mike Ford’s game-ending solo homer in the ninth.
“Anytime we don’t score or have a good offensive showing, it’s always a little bit surprising just because our guys are so good, but it happens,” manager Aaron Boone said. “When a good pitcher’s on top of his game, he can make it tough on you, credit to him.”
Yankees right-hander Masahiro Tanaka (10-8) grinded through six innings of two-run ball. He allowed seven hits, walked two and struck out five for New York, which had won six of seven.
The game was delayed 2 hours, 52 minutes by rain, but then played under mostly sunny skies.
Minor entered the day with 7.0 wins above replacement (WAR), per baseball-reference.com. That led the majors, 0.3 WAR above Astros ace Justin Verlander.
“Doesn’t make any sense to me,” Minor said with a laugh, adding that Verlander and Houston teammate Gerrit Cole “look better to me.”
Yankees left fielder Clint Frazier drew big cheers when he threw out Elvis Andrus at home for the final out of the fifth. Frazier started in the outfield for the first time since being demoted to Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre in mid-June for a 2 1/2-month minor league stint that ended Sunday. The brazen, red-headed slugger made a few embarrassing miscues in the outfield prior to the demotion and was tasked with sharpening his defense.
“I made some good throws to home at Scranton in the last couple of months,” he said. “For it to carry over up here is obviously good for myself and good for the team.”
It wasn’t all rosy for Frazier. He overran Nomar Mazara’s single in the eighth, but center fielder Mike Tauchman hustled to back him up and bailed him out. Frazier, who missed much of 2018 following a concussion, also hit the wall hard chasing a fly ball in the first but said he was fine.
Rangers: OF Joey Gallo (broken right hamate bone) was expected to begin practicing. … DH Hunter Pence (lower back strain) remained in Texas to continue rehabbing.
Yankees: LHP CC Sabathia said he had his balky right knee drained and received a cortisone shot but remains unsure about his timeline for a return. … Slugger Edwin Encarnación (broken right wrist) was 0 for 4 with two strikeouts for Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre in his final rehab game. He’ll rejoin the big club Tuesday. … OF Aaron Hicks (right flexor strain) was slated to begin a throwing program.
Yankees LHP James Paxton (11-6, 4.39) walked a season-high five against Seattle in his previous start but got the win in a 7-3 victory. He’ll start Tuesday night against RHP Edinson Volquez, who is opening for RHP Ariel Jurado (7-10, 5.19).
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