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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.

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