History! Rangers Win First Postseason Series, Advance To ALCS

Cliff Lee was worth everything Texas paid for him on Tuesday night, pitching a complete game while striking out 11 in a 5-1 Rangers win.

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Ron Washington Likes Rangers' Chances Against Anyone, Anywhere

It’s been two days since the Texas Rangers wrapped up their first ever postseaon series win. Rangers fans though are still reveling in the team’s historic accomplishment as the team prepares to begin its best-of-seven series with the defending World Series champion New York Yankees on Friday night.

The prospect of facing the Yankees in postseason play used to give Rangers’ fans nightmares. It may still, but the Rangers did fare well against the Yankees during the regular season. Rangers’ manager Ron Washington feels like his team can beat anybody on any given day when they’re executing well. Washington joined Galloway & Company on ESPN Radio in Dallas following the team’s convincing Game 5 victory against Tampa to talk about winning a postseason series for the first time in franchise history, the performance of ace starting pitcher Cliff Lee, and of course, the work still to be done in the next round.

On winning this series after everything the team went through this year:

"I am very thankful. You couldn’t write a better script. We decided we wanted to be something during spring training and we went out there and did whatever had to be done to make it come to fruition. We’re in a good place right now, we’re very pleased where we are, but it’s not over with yet."

On how important it was to play well against the Yankees earlier this year:

"Yeah, well that gave us incentive to know that we can play with those guys. We have to eliminate putting those guys on the bag, we have to eliminate turning that lineup over because that is a very educated lineup, that’s a very professional lineup, and it’s a very wise lineup. We’ve just got to make sure that we make them earn everything that they get. If we do that, we will be in every ballgame and when you’re in a ballgame you have just as much of an opportunity to win it as everyone else. We’re just gonna go out there, we’re gonna get focused on what we can do, we’re gonna make sure we try to limit the opportunities that we give to them and everything that they earn is acceptable."

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Cliff Lee Pitches Rangers Into ALCS

The Texas Rangers have finally won a playoff series.

Texas defeated Tampa Bay 5-1 in the decisive fifth game of the ALDS, sending the Rangers into the ALCS for the first time in franchise history.

Cliff Lee was dominant once again for the Rangers, pitching a complete game while allowing only one run while striking out 11. Lee threw 120 pitches, 90 of which went for strikes. It was Lee’s second win of the series as he bested Rays pitcher David Price in both Game 1 and Game 5.

Texas took the lead in the first inning when Elvis Andrus scored from second on a Josh Hamilton ground out to first. Price was covering first on the play and had his back turned to third. Andrus never stopped running and scored easily on the play.

Tampa Bay tied it up in the third on a Ben Zobrist single but the tie was short lived. The Rangers took the lead back in the fourth inning. Nelson Cruz doubled and then stole third and advanced home on an errant throw by Rays catcher Kelly Shoppach.

Texas took a 3-1 lead when Ian Kinsler grounded into a fielders choice in the sixth.

Kinsler put the exclamation point on the series in the ninth inning when he hit a two run homer off of Rays closer Rafael Soriano, giving the Rangers a 5-1 lead – a score by which they’d win the game.

The Rangers will now play host to a familiar playoff foe in the ALCS – the New York Yankees. The ALCS will begin on Friday in Arlington.

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Follow Rays/Rangers ALDS Game 5 Live

To follow tonight’s decisive Game 5 live and converse with fellow fans, head over to Lone Star Ball and join the game thread.

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Texas Rangers Lineup Tonight

Richard Durrett has tonight’s Rangers lineup:

SS Elvis Andrus
3B Michael Young
CF Josh Hamilton
DH Vladimir Guerrero
LF Nelson Cruz
2B Ian Kinsler
RF Jeff Francoeur
C Bengie Molina
1B Mitch Moreland

Moreland gets the start over Jorge Cantu, and Michael Young retains his second spot in the order despite his struggles.

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ALDS Game 5: Cliff Lee, Rangers Take On David Price, Rays In Decisive Game

If the Texas Rangers are to win their first playoff series in franchise history, they'll need to do it in an elimination game tonight. The Rangers will take on the Tampa Bay Rays in a decisive Game 5 in Tampa Bay tonight. 

The road team has won each game so far in the best-of-five set with the Rangers taking the first two in Tampa Bay last week while the Rays staved off elimination twice with two wins in Arlington over the weekend.

Texas will send lefty ace Cliff Lee to the mound. Lee was the Game 1 winner, going seven innings, allowing only one run on five hits while striking out 10. 

Tampa Bay will counter with their own lefty ace in David Price, who was hung with the loss in Game 1. Price went six and two thirds innings against Texas, allowing five runs (four earned), on nine hits while striking out eight. Price surrendered two home runs in the contest, one to Nelson Cruz and one to Bengie Molina.

When the Rangers acquired Cliff Lee in July, they essentially had the AL West crown wrapped up. They acquired Lee to pitch in this very game - a winner take all elimination game in the playoffs. In the '09 playoffs for Philadelphia, Lee was phenomenal, particularly on extra rest. As Adam Morris pointed out, last year in the playoffs on extra rest, Lee started three games logging 26 innings, allowing only one run on 15 hits, walking none and striking out 25. 

The winner of tonight's game will host the Wild Card champion New York Yankees in the first two games of the ALCS.

First pitch is scheduled for 8:07 EDT. Televised coverage can be found on TBS.

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