ARLINGTON, TX - OCTOBER 9: Starter Colby Lewis #48 of the Texas Rangers throws a pitch against the Tampa Bay Rays during game three of the ALDS at Rangers Ballpark in Arlington on October 9, 2010 in Arlington, Texas. (Photo by Stephen Dunn/Getty Images)

Rangers Even Up ALCS, Earn First Home Playoff Win

The Texas Rangers evened up the ALCS at 1-1 with a 7-2 win over the New York Yankees.

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ALCS Game 2: Rangers Defeat Yankees 7-2, Even Up Series

(Sports Network) – David Murphy homered and drove in two while the Texas bullpen held steady, and the Rangers evened the American League Championship Series with a 7-2 win over the New York Yankees.

Texas got its first home postseason victory in franchise history (1-7), and also snapped a 10-game playoff losing streak against New York. The Rangers appeared ready to get the landmark win in Game 1 on Friday, but they gave up five runs in the eighth inning as the Yankees took a stunning 6-5 win.

On Saturday, the Rangers again built up a big lead, going ahead 7-1 after five innings against Yankees starter Phil Hughes. But their bullpen didn’t implode this time, following Colby Lewis (1-0) with 3 1/3 scoreless innings to seal the win.

“I think we just knew what we needed to do,” Lewis said. “We had two games here at home and we needed — after last night, we just needed to come out today and split it and go back to their place, plain and simple.”

Lewis limited the Yankees to two runs on six hits and three walks in 5 2/3 innings, with six strikeouts. He was supported by a Texas offense that got to Hughes (0-1) for seven runs and 10 hits in only four-plus innings.

“Our starters have not pitched well so far,” said Yankees manager Joe Girardi. “Our starters pitched extremely well and everyone was giddy about them the last series. I don’t ever get too involved in snapshot pictures because those can be dangerous. I believe in our guys and I believe that they will pitch well as we continue forward here.”

The best-of-seven matchup now moves to the Bronx, with Game 3 set for Monday, and Texas likely has the edge with Cliff Lee on the mound against Andy Pettitte. While Pettitte is the all-time leader in postseason wins, Lee is 6-0 with a 1.44 ERA in seven career playoff starts, which includes a complete game victory at Yankee Stadium in last season’s World Series for the Phillies.

Texas built its lead by scoring in each of the first three innings, and got its first-inning run in an unconventional way. Leadoff batter Elvis Andrus reached when he hit a chopper that deflected off Hughes’ glove, then advanced when catcher Jorge Posada didn’t make a clean catch on a pitch. Posada made a strong throw to second, but Andrus was called safe on the close play, then stole third with one out. After Josh Hamilton walked, Hughes fanned Vladimir Guerrero.

Hamilton then committed to a steal of second, drawing a throw from Posada, which prompted Andrus to race for home. Hamilton stumbled near second base, but a throw back to the plate was too late as Texas grabbed a 1-0 lead.

“I’m looking at opportunities, and it presented itself, or that’s the type of game we play,” said Rangers manager Ron Washington. “I took a chance that the throw would be made to second base. If he faked it, wouldn’t have happened. But he didn’t fake it. So we executed.”

The Yankees had two on with two away in the second before Lance Berkman lined out to right, and the Rangers tacked on two more in the bottom half. With one out, Murphy stepped to the plate and jumped on a 2-0 cutter that stayed up and in, slamming it deep and high over the right field fence.

Mitch Moreland and Andrus hit two-out singles before Michael Young doubled down the right field line to make it a 3-0 game. Texas had a chance for more, but Guerrero grounded into a fielder’s choice.

New York had another promising rally going in the third, as Lewis hit Curtis Granderson to put two on with only one away. However, Lewis retired Mark Teixeira and Alex Rodriguez to end the threat, and the Rangers’ offense was right back at it.

Nelson Cruz led off by slamming a double high off the wall in right, missing a homer by only a few inches. Ian Kinsler bunted Cruz to third before Murphy dropped his bat head on a low and inside breaking ball, pulling it to right for an RBI double. Bengie Molina then drove a first-pitch fastball to the right-center gap to make it a 5-0 game.

The Yankees got on the scoreboard in the fourth. Robinson Cano led off with a double to deep center and scored on Berkman’s two-out single, but Berkman was caught in a rundown to end the inning and the Rangers increased their lead in the fifth.

Cruz led off with another near-home run, hammering a ball high off the wall in center. It went for a double, and Cruz scored when Kinsler hit a slicing liner to right field. Nick Swisher nearly made the diving catch, but the ball bounced to the wall and Kinsler ended up on third. That was all for Hughes, who was replaced by Joba Chamberlain.

Moreland’s two-out single got Kinsler home, and at that point it was up to the Rangers’ pitchers to hold the 7-1 lead.

Lewis gave up a monstrous one-out solo blast to Cano in the sixth, which was a bit of a flashback to Friday’s series-opener. Cano began the Yankees’ comeback with a seventh-inning solo homer, preceding New York’s go-ahead inning.

The Yankees continued to rally in the sixth, as Posada singled and Berkman walked with two outs. Up stepped pinch-hitter Marcus Thames, who on Friday hit the go-ahead RBI single. But Clay Rapada entered for Lewis and got Thames swinging to end the inning.

Alexi Ogando took the mound for the seventh and walked Derek Jeter before giving up a two-out single to Rodriguez. However, Ogando fanned Cano, while Darren Oliver and Darren O’Day teamed up to toss a scoreless eighth. Neftali Feliz issued two one-out walks in the ninth, but retired Rodriguez and Cano to secure the victory.

Game Notes

The Rangers have homered in each of their first seven games this postseason, which breaks their longest regular-season stretch of six games…Cano finished 2-for-5 to continue his postseason tear. In five games, he has batted 9-for-21 with two homers and four RBI.


Follow Rangers/Yankees ALCS Game 2 Live

To follow Game 2 of the ALCS live, head over to Lone Star Ball and join the conversation.


ALCS Game 2: Rangers Starting Lineup

Per Anthony Andro, the Rangers Game 2 starting lineup is as follows:

SS Andrus
3B Young
CF Hamilton
DH Guerrero
RF Cruz
2B Kinsler
LF Murphy
C Molina
1B Moreland

The bottom of the order has been changed with Murphy, Molina and Moreland all drawing starts today.


ALCS Game 2: Colby Lewis, Rangers Look To Even Up Series Against Yankees

(Sports Network) - Following their improbable Game 1 victory the New York Yankees try to take a commanding 2-0 lead in the American League Championship Series, as they continue the best-of-seven set against the Texas Rangers this afternoon at Rangers Ballpark in Arlington.

The Yankees improved to 4-0 this postseason on Friday with an amazing come- from-behind win, as Marcus Thames hit the go-ahead RBI single to cap a five- run eighth inning, helping New York to a 6-5 victory.

Texas, which wasted a 5-0 lead, was poised for its first-ever postseason home win and was in line to snap a nine-game postseason skid against the Yankees, but the defending World Series champs scored five times before recording an out in the big inning.

C.J. Wilson pitched into the eighth, but the first seven batters reached base against five different Texas pitchers in the fateful frame for the Rangers. It started with Brett Gardner's head-first slide for an infield hit as Wilson couldn't get to the bag in time for the throw from first baseman Jorge Cantu.

The Rangers are now 0-7 all-time at home in the postseason with five of those defeats coming at the hands of the Yankees, who haven't lost to Texas in the playoffs since Game 1 of the 1996 ALDS. After losing the next three games of that series, Texas was swept in the first round by New York in 1998 and 1999.

Thames culminated the huge frame with the go-ahead single to left field to drive in ex-Ranger Alex Rodriguez, who bounced a two-run base hit earlier in the inning.

New York, which had 48 comeback wins during the regular season, and has three in four playoff games, became the first team to win a postseason game after trailing by at least four runs in the eighth since Houston came back from a 6-1 deficit in a 7-6, 18-inning win over Atlanta in Game 4 of the 2005 NL division series.

"We have a veteran clubhouse that knows how to react to whatever situation we are in," Yankees manager Joe Girardi said. "We look forward to Game 2, and I'm sure they are too. Some might feel we were fortunate to come out with a win tonight, but I thought our club played hard and kept playing and playing and playing. And you try to build on it tomorrow."

Josh Hamilton belted a three-run homer off CC Sabathia before the southpaw could record an out, and Michael Young added a two-run double in the fourth inning for the Rangers, who are 0-7 all-time at home in the playoffs.

Pinch-hitter Mitch Moreland singled off Mariano Rivera leading off the bottom of the ninth inning and advanced to second on a sacrifice bunt by Elvis Andrus. Young ended a long at-bat by swinging through an outside pitch for strike three. Hamilton bounced the first pitch to Rodriguez, who threw across the diamond for the final out, giving Rivera his 42nd career postseason save.

Rivera, who has allowed one earned run over his last 21 playoff appearances overall, has not yielded a run in 12 innings while converting all five postseason save chances versus Texas.

Today, the Yankees will hand the ball to righty Phil Hughes. On the heels of a terrific 18-win campaign, the young right-hander was sensational in beating the Twins in the ALDS, as he scattered four hits over seven scoreless innings.

"It was gratifying, for sure," said Hughes. "You want to go out there, especially in your first start, and prove something -- go out and have a good game. Obviously, it's going to set the tone for whatever starts I have left in this postseason, and that was certainly nice."

Hughes has been terrific in his two starts in Texas. He carried a no-hitter into the seventh inning in Arlington in his second big league start back in 2007 before leaving the game with a hamstring injury. Last year he pitched eight scoreless innings there to defeat the Rangers.

"It's not a ton of experience here -- just two starts," said Hughes. "But I remember from those two starts, I feel pretty comfortable here. I'm not sure what it is -- the ballpark, or what -- but yeah, the two times that I have started here, I have felt pretty good."

Opposing Hughes for Texas will be right-hander Colby Lewis, who did not get a decision in his ALDS Game 3 start against the Rays, but did not allow a run in five innings. However, he did walk five batters.

"I think what hurt him more than anything, he started walking guys," Texas manager Ron Washington said. "You know, something he really doesn't do. It's just a matter of him putting his pitches where he wants to put them because he has swing- and-miss stuff, and I think what got him in trouble the first time is he just lost his command. He maintains his command, I'm certainly going to love where he can take us in the game."

In his first year back in the big leagues after spending the last two seasons in Japan, Lewis went 12-13 with a 3.72 ERA, but won three of his last four decisions.

Lewis has faced the Yankees three times and is 0-2 with a 6.89 ERA. However, he hasn't faced them since 2003.

The Yankees and Rangers split eight games during the regular season.

Game 3 of this series will take place on Monday at Yankee Stadium.

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