NEW YORK — Ichiro Suzuki homered off Tanner Scheppers with two outs in the ninth inning, lifting the New York Yankees to a 4-3 victory over the Texas Rangers on Tuesday night.
Suzuki’s drive to right-center was the Yankees’ fourth home run of the game, three coming off Japanese ace Yu Darvish, and it helped New York improve to 4-3 on a homestand that ends after two more games against the Rangers.
Travis Hafner, Brett Gardner and Jayson Nix each homered off Darvish, who hasn’t won in seven starts. Leonys Martin connected twice off Yankees starter Hiroki Kuroda.
Mariano Rivera (1-1) worked a scoreless ninth for New York, which ended the Rangers’ five-game winning streak.
Scheppers (5-1) pitched a perfect eighth before being touched up by Suzuki in New York’s first walk-off win this year.
The anticipated matchup between Darvish and Kuroda, Japanese aces with ERAs under 3.00, fizzled on a hot and sticky night when a four-inning stretch produced five home runs.
The 11th major league matchup between starters from Japan got off to a sharp start. Even when the Yankees loaded the bases in the first on three straight singles that just cleared the gloves of leaping infielders, Darvish easily got out of the jam with a strikeout and an easy grounder.
But Martin started the home run barrage with a shot that landed a couple of rows back in the short right-field porch.
After the Rangers went up 2-0 on an unearned run in the fourth aided by third baseman David Adams’ throwing error, Hafner led off the bottom half with a long ball into the New York bullpen. Martin then started the fifth with a shot that landed several sections to the left of his first homer for his fifth of the year.
Not to be outdone, Gardner led off the Yankees’ half with a line drive deep into the seats in right field to pull New York to 3-2.