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ALCS Game 5: C.J. Wilson Looks To Pitch Rangers Into World Series

The Texas Rangers are one win away from their first World Series in franchise history and look to punch their ticket to the Fall Classic today in New York.

C.J. Wilson will start for the Rangers in Game 5 of the ALCS and face off against C.C. Sabathia in a pitching rematch of Game 1, when the Yankees came back from behind and won 6-5.

Texas battered the New York pitching yesterday, touching up starting pitcher AJ Burnett for five runs before torching the Bronx bullpen for another five runs in a 10-3 win. Bengie Molina had perhaps the biggest hit in Texas Rangers history, belting a three run home run to give the Rangers a 5-3 lead in the sixth inning off Burnett. This followed an intentional walk to David Murphy with two outs. Yankees manager Joe Girardi said that they preferred the matchup of Burnett against Molina rather than Burnett against Murphy but the move backfired for the Yankees.

Wilson will look to replicate his success against New York in Game 1. Wilson pitched into the eighth inning and was charged with three runs on six hits and two walks and he struck out four in the contest. Wilson was in line for the win before the bullpen implosion that gave the Yankees their lone win of the ALCS thus far.

The Texas offense will look to batter around yet another Yankees starter today. Sabathia lasted only four innings against Texas in Game 1 and was charged with five runs on six hits and four walks. Only Andy Pettitte in Game 4 has had a quality start in the ALCS for the Yankees. 

Josh Hamilton will look to stay hot against the Yankees in Game 5. He slugged two home runs in Game 4, giving him four for the series which ties a record for home runs against the Yankees in an ALCS. Nelson Cruz also added a home run in Game 4 and designated hitter Vladimir Guerrero will look to build on his four hit game. 

The Rangers are guaranteed of two things even if they lose today: they'll return to Texas for a possible Game 6 and Cliff Lee is guaranteed another start in the ALCS should the Yankees force a decisive seventh game. Texas, however, will look to close out the ALCS this afternoon in the Bronx and line up their starting pitching for the World Series.

Photographs by jamesbrandon, jdtornow, phlezk, flygraphix, mcdlttx, tomasland, and literalbarrage used in background montage under Creative Commons. Thank you.