By STEPHEN HAWKINS, Associated Press
ARLINGTON, Texas (AP) — Derek Jeter is hitting the way he did in his prime and CC Sabathia looks more like his old self with each outing.
No wonder the New York Yankees are starting to get on a roll.
Jeter had four hits to stretch his hitting streak to 13 games, Sabathia pitched a season-high eight innings and Alex Rodriguez belted a three-run homer in a 7-4 victory over the Texas Rangers on Monday night.
"I keep kidding him that it's like 1999 again — three hits every day. He's amazing," Rodriguez said of the 37-year-old Jeter.
"He's playing like he's 25," manager Joe Girardi said. "He's off to a great start. He feels good physically and that's the most important thing."
The Yankees have won 10 of 13 since being swept in three games at Tampa Bay to start the season.
Sabathia (2-0) struck out eight for his 11th career win against the two-time defending American League champion Rangers, who won their first five series this season.
The big left-hander was pitching with an extra day of rest after the Yankees' scheduled series finale at Boston was rained out Sunday night, a day after New York overcame a 9-0 deficit for a 15-9 win over the Red Sox.
After a pair of six-inning outings with no-decisions to start the season, Sabathia has won his last two starts.
"That's more CC-like. That's what we're used to seeing," Girardi said. "I liked what I saw those last four innings against the Twins, and he carried it over today."
Mariano Rivera worked a perfect ninth for his fourth save.
Josh Hamilton homered for the Rangers.
Derek Holland (2-1), the 25-year-old left-hander who signed a $28.5 million, five-year contract extension this spring, has never beaten the Yankees. He gave up seven runs and nine hits with four walks and one strikeout in six innings.
Holland is 0-5 with a 9.26 ERA in seven career appearances (six starts) against New York.
"He's been very consistent. That's a pretty good lineup," Rangers manager Ron Washington said. "They do their business in that batter's box. They pick their spots and make you pay. And they made us pay tonight."
Rodriguez hit a three-run homer, his third this season and No. 632 in his career, in the fifth for a 6-1 lead. The Rangers hadn't given up more than five runs in a game before that, and Jeter added an RBI double in the sixth.
"That's a big three-run homer because it kind of breaks the game open a little bit," Girardi said. "And we got a big two-out hit from Curtis (Granderson) in the first."
New York went ahead to stay when Granderson blooped a two-run single into short right-center in the first. Jeter led off the game with an infield single and Robinson Cano also had a single.
It was the 42nd career four-hit game for Jeter, who is batting .450 (27 for 60) during his hitting streak and raised his season average to .411.
All of his hits came in the first six innings against Holland before he struck out in the ninth against Koji Uehara.
Since returning from the disabled July 4, just days before getting career hit No. 3,000 in a five-hit game, Jeter is hitting .346 over his last 85 games.
"When he went through his struggles last year, there was one thing I wasn't going to do: I wasn't going to doubt him," Girardi said. "I know his heart, I know his character and how hard he works at what he does."
No. 9 batter Chris Stewart drew a leadoff walk in the Yankees fifth and scored on Nick Swisher's sacrifice fly. Rodriguez homered later in that inning, the ball landing in the reconfigured visitors' bullpen just beyond the left-center wall.
Hamilton's AL-leading eighth homer was a 422-foot solo shot to right-center in the sixth to get Texas within 7-2. The homer came a couple of pitches after his bat flew out of his hands on a swing and landed in the front row of seats past the Rangers dugout.
Before that homer, Hamilton was 1 for 15 with six strikeouts in his career against Sabathia.
No Rangers player had ever reached eight homers quicker in a season — Hamilton's came in the 17th game. Rodriguez needed 18 games to hit his eighth homer in 2002, his second of three seasons in Texas, when he went on to hit a career-best 57 homers.