ARLINGTON, Texas - Brett Gardner continued his one-man assault on Yu Darvish and Derek Jeter continued his assault on baseball's record book.
And that, Yankees fans, concludes the good news portion of Monday night's program.
Indeed, aside from the Gardner/Jeter 1-2 punch at the top of the lineup, it was another no-show from the Bombers' offense, leading to a third straight defeat, this one a 4-2 setback to a Rangers' team that has the worst record in baseball.
The loss dropped the Yankees to 54-51, 41/2 games behind the idle Orioles in the AL East and two games behind the second-place Blue Jays, who hammered the Red Sox, 14-1, in Boston.
"You just have to turn it around," Joe Girardi said of his team's inability to put together a long stretch of good baseball this season. "We know that we're capable of doing it. We had a pretty good homestand . We didn't start this road trip off the way we want but you can change the feeling tomorrow."
Jeter had three hits, giving him 3,420 in his career and sending him past Carl Yastrzemski (3,419 hits) for sole possession of seventh place on the all-time list. Honus Wagner is next with 3,430 hits, followed by Tris Speaker at 3,514.
"It's quite an accomplishment but it's tough to enjoy it when we lost the game," Jeter said. "I'm pretty sure when this season's over and done with I'll look back and get a chance to realize how special it is."
Gardner had similar thoughts on his achievements against Darvish, going 3-for-5 with two homers, extending his single-season career-high to 12. The outfielder improved to 5-for-11 in his career against Darvish, with four of the hits homers.
"Small sample size," Gardner said. "It's hard to have confidence in the batter's box when he's on the mound. He's pretty good. I've just been fortunate to take some good swings and have some good results, but I'd gladly trade them for a win, that's for sure."
David Phelps, who came in 4-0 with a 2.96 ERA in his last eight starts, cruised through four innings before the Rangers (42-64), trailing 2-0, batted around in taking a 4-2 lead in the fifth. All of the runs were scored with two outs.
"It all happened with two outs, that's incredibly frustrating," Phelps said. "As a team we put up seven zeros and that four-spot. Facing a guy like Darvish, it's tough."
Darvish (10-6, 2.90) allowed just those two runs and nine hits over seven innings. He gave way to Neal Cotts, who allowed two batters to reach in the eighth, including Mark Teixeira, appearing in his first game in a week and delivering a pinch-hit single. But Cotts got pinch-hitter Zelous Wheeler to pop up to end the Yankees' last threat.
"I took one swing and it felt good," said Teixeira, who had missed seven straight games. "Very encouraging."
Neftali Feliz pitched a 1-2-3 ninth for his second save, retiring Jeter on a ground ball to short to end it.
The Yankees went 0-for-6 with runners in scoring position and stranded nine.
Phelps (5-5, 3.89) allowed four runs and eight hits over six innings, the lone damage coming in the fifth.
J.P. Arencibia, hitting .147 with a .194 on-base percentage coming in, banged a two-run single up the middle on a 0-and-2 pitch to give the Rangers a 4-2 lead.
"It's on me tonight," Phelps said. "I have to go out and set the tone first game of the series. Darvish on the mound, they gave me a 2-0 lead. I have to go out and hold it. That's all it really boils down to."