ARLINGTON -- The Yankees had erupted for their biggest inning of the season on Tuesday night, and yet that seemed like a distant memory as David Robertson tried to reclaim his lock on the strike zone, one pitch away from flushing the game around the drain.
This had inexplicably become a one-run contest, and now Adrian Beltre was taking a mighty cut at what would be Robertson's final pitch. The ball found a safe landing spot in Brett Gardner's glove, one step shy of the left-field warning track, and the Yankees finally exhaled to celebrate a 12-11 victory over the Rangers.
"I probably wouldn't have been real fun to talk to had I blown that one, I'm not going to lie," Robertson said. "The offense really stepped up today. I wish the bullpen would have done a little bit better, but we got a win. We'll take it."
Twelve runs and twelve hits; an offensive outburst like this has been on the Yanks' wish list for weeks, and so they had to believe the game was well in hand after sending 11 men to the plate in a seven-run sixth inning, then tacking on a pair in the seventh to take a 10-4 lead.
This Arlington facility has been known to host some wild slugfests over the years, and in the Texas heat, Yankees manager Joe Girardi was having flashbacks to his playing days. Beltre's blast, he said, definitely gave him a little scare.
"It was a strange game, but it's great to get out of here with a win," Girardi said. "It would have been a really difficult one to lose. We struggled the last few innings getting outs, but in the end, we got the last out and won the game."
New York's bullpen wobbled in relief of starter Brandon McCarthy, as Adam Warren left a bases-loaded jam for Dellin Betances in the seventh. J.P. Arencibia greeted the righty with a grand slam, his second homer of the game, part of a four-hit, seven-RBI performance for the Texas first baseman.
Chase Whitley allowed a run in the eighth, but Mark Teixeira's two-run homer in the top half of the frame gave Robertson a three-run lead to protect; a 27th save that didn't come easily.
Loading the bases with two walks and and a single, Robertson allowed a two-run single to Elvis Andrus and then walked Alex Rios before finally getting Beltre to fly out on a full-count pitch.
"You know, give [the bullpen] one hiccup," Teixeira said. "Let them have a hiccup, because they've been picking us up all year long. We haven't been picking them up. It was kind of our night for the offense to pick those guys up."
Gardner had four hits, including his career-high 13th homer, as the Yankees snapped a three-game losing streak. The early thunder and nail-biting finish helped McCarthy notch his third victory in four starts since joining the club earlier this month.
"This is kind of my ballpark, this is the place I struggle with," said McCarthy, who allowed four runs in six innings. "I just didn't feel all that fresh tonight. ... Having the offense pick me up was huge."
Arencibia was once again a thorn in the Yanks' collective sides; he entered the game batting .152 but finished 4-for-5, also stroking a pair of doubles to go with his two homers.
"Tremendous night," Rangers manager Ron Washington said. "I mean, two doubles to start off, back it up with two home runs, a grand slam. He had a tremendous night. He kept us in the ballgame."
Texas starter Nick Martinez held the Yankees to one run until the sixth. Carlos Beltran ripped a two-run single off Arencibia's glove at first base, and Brian McCann lifted a game-tying sac fly off Martinez.
Zoilo Almonte greeted reliever Shawn Tolleson with a go-ahead RBI single. Brendan Ryan also boomed a two-run double, and right fielder Alex Rios flubbed a Gardner fly ball that produced the inning's seventh run.
Chase Headley and Almonte collected seventh-inning RBIs, and they looked like tack-on runs until Warren issued two walks and a hit in the seventh. That left the bases loaded, setting up Arencibia's slam off Betances and the carousel that followed.
"Walks are what hurt us," Girardi said. "When you look at these innings, it's walks that are what hurt us."
Girardi could shrug the bullpen lapses off as "one of those nights," and though he wasn't exactly calling it an enjoyable game to have watched, it still had an outcome far preferable to the alternate ending that Robertson nearly penned.
"I feel like the luckiest guy on Earth right now for escaping that inning, as bad as I pitched," Robertson said. "It was really bad. I started out great and just fell apart. I couldn't find the strike zone. It was by the skin of my teeth that I got it done."