NEW YORK — Derek Lowe was being given a tour of the Yankees' facilities and changing at a locker without a nameplate Monday afternoon. David Phelps had little more than a day to prepare for a spot start in place of ace CC Sabathia.
No matter. The unlikely duo combined to shut down the potent Rangers.
Phelps pitched a career-high five innings and picked off two runners, and Lowe completed New York's 8-2 victory on Monday night with four shutout innings in his Yankees debut.
"To have those two guys step up to do what they did today, to give those guys like D-Rob (David Robertson) and (Rafael) Soriano a full day off and not have to warm up and anything that's big," said Nick Swisher, who hit a grand slam off Ryan Dempster and drove in five runs.
In the opener of a four-game series between the teams with the AL's best records, the Yankees won their sixth straight over Texas in the Bronx.
Swisher's second slam this season was his 200th career homer, and Eric Chavez also homered. Ichiro Suzuki tripled and Derek Jeter followed with a long RBI double in the seventh to end Dempster's third start for Texas.
Dempster matched a season high by allowing eight runs. He also allowed eight in his first start for Texas on Aug. 2. Since coming from the Cubs in a deadline deal, Dempster has allowed 19 runs, 16 earned, in 171/3 innings.
"Too much is made of that," Dempster said of switching leagues. "I know how to make pitches. When you're facing lineups and you don't get that break at the bottom of the lineup where you have the pitcher hitting, and you always have a hitter, every pitch is really, really valuable and it just comes down to executing one pitch at a time. Simple plan. Nothing more and nothing less than that. And tonight, I paid for my mistakes."
Phelps, being held to a 75- to 80-pitch limit, needed 26 in the first without being hit hard. But thanks in part to a nifty pickoff move, he fulfilled his manager's wish to make it through five innings.