Texas Rangers left-hander Matt Harrison was finally mowing down an opposing lineup again, starting to resemble the pitcher who began this season by winning his first three starts.
His recovery against the New York Yankees came a little too late.
Curtis Granderson quickly put the Yankees ahead to stay with the first of his two upper-deck homers and New York won 4-1 Friday night in its first trip to Texas since losing Game 6 of the AL championship series last October.
"Other than the ball that Granderson hit in the first inning, they really weren't hitting me that hard," Harrison said. "It was just I was putting myself in deep counts and they were seeing a lot of pitches and after that, I said, `Just keep the ball down, whatever pitch I'm throwing, and make them put the ball in play."'
After falling behind 2-0 after two batters and giving up an unearned run with his throwing error in the second, Harrison (3-4) retired 11 consecutive batters and didn't allow another runner past first base while pitching six innings.
Harrison still dropped his fourth straight start. The left-hander allowed three runs and four hits over six innings, with five walks and three strikeouts.
"What he did do, he saved the bullpen. And by saving the bullpen, he also, I think, helped his psyche," manager Ron Washington said. "He settled down, he pounded the strike zone, he started getting outs and with each inning he made and each out he got, I think it built his confidence, so that was a good outing for him."
Harrison was coming off his shortest career outing, having given up four runs in 1 2-3 innings Sunday at Oakland. He had allowed 11 runs while pitching only 4 2-3 innings in his last two starts.
Meanwhile, the Rangers managed only two singles off rookie right-hander Ivan Nova (3-2), who pitched into the eighth.
Granderson's 433-foot drive in the first went into the second level of seats high above the Rangers' bullpen in right-center. He hit his AL-leading 10th homer in the seventh off rookie reliever Ryan Tucker, a towering solo shot closer to the right-field line but still in the upper deck for a 4-0 lead.
Nova struck out one, walked one and gave up an unearned run. Besides the two singles, the Rangers hit only four other balls out of the infield against the right-hander, who pitched past the seventh for the first time in his 13 career starts.
The only walk by Nova was to Mike Napoli with one out in the eighth, and the right-hander was out of the game a batter later before Texas scored.
After first baseman Mark Teixeira had a grounder ricochet off him into foul territory, he grabbed the ball and flipped to Nova covering the bag. Nova caught the ball cleanly but missed the bag with his foot, and Mitch Moreland was safe on Teixeira's error.
Rafael Soriano took over and struck out Chris Davis before Julio Borbon's RBI single.
Mariano Rivera worked a perfect ninth for his AL-leading 12th save in 14 chances.
Since a 9-1 start this season, Texas has lost 15 of 23 games.
"Nobody wants to come out and play like we've played the last couple of games," Moreland said. "We're just down right now, we're not playing our game and that's the way it works. It's a long season. You're going to have these down times."
New York got an unearned run in the second after Harrison's throwing error, but the left-hander got out of a bases-loaded jam without giving up more.
Harrison recovered to get the ball after Derek Jeter's comebacker bounced away from him, but threw high over first base into right field, allowing a run. He then walked Granderson before Teixeira hit a foul pop and Alex Rodriguez swung at a 3-0 pitch for an inning-ending flyball.
"I kind of panicked. I didn't see it when it came off the bat and it hit me off the arm and hit me in the stomach and I'm trying to find the ball and I looked up and I saw the runners going," Harrison said. "It was just a bad throw. It didn't hurt that bad, it just skimmed off my arm and hit my stomach."
NOTES: It was Granderson's eighth multihomer game. ... Actor and Texas native Matthew McConaughey threw the ceremonial first pitch. The Rangers Baseball Foundation and McConaughey's "just keep livin" foundation announced a partnership to create and fund after-school programs at three area high schools. ... While the Dallas Mavericks played Game 3 of their NBA playoff against the Los Angeles Lakers about 20 miles away, most seats were also filled at Rangers Ballpark. The announced crowd was 49,069, the second-largest this season.