|The Rangers’ win marked the first post-season victory ever at home for the team [Reuters]|
The Texas Rangers charged out to a big lead and made it stick for a 7-2 victory over the New York Yankees that tied the best-of-seven American League Championship Series at 1-1.
The Rangers, who squandered a 5-0 lead with a bullpen meltdown in Friday’s Game One loss, led 5-0 again after three innings but tacked on more runs on Saturday. Five relievers protected starter Colby Lewis’s strong performance.
“Those guys have always bounced back and they did it again today,” Rangers manager Ron Washington told reporters about his team. “I am not surprised.”
The win marked the first post-season victory ever at home for Texas, who had swept three road games against the Tampa Bay Rays to advance in the first round of the playoffs. The team broke a 10-game post-season losing streak against the Yankees.
For the second game, the Rangers had no trouble scoring on New York’s starting pitching, knocking Phil Hughes out after four innings, the same treatment suffered previously by CC Sabathia.
Texas set the tone in the first inning, literally stealing a run with aggressive baserunning.
Lead-off hitter Elvis Andrus hit a high hopper off Hughes’s glove for an infield single, advanced to second when the pitcher bounced a curve in the dirt and then stole third base.
After Josh Hamilton drew a walk, the Rangers executed a perfect double steal. Hamilton broke for second, drawing a throw from catcher Jorge Posada.
Hamilton pulled up before he reached second base as Andrus dashed for home. The throw home was not in time as Andrus slid across the plate for a 1-0 Texas lead.
The Rangers scored two runs in the second, the first on David Murphy’s towering solo home run to right and the second on an RBI-double by Michael Young.
Texas added two more runs in the third on doubles by Cruz, Murphy and Bengie Molina that boosted the lead to 5-0.
“Our starting pitchers have not pitched very well,” Joe Girardi, the Yankees manager, said. “But I believe in our guys and that they will pitch well going forward.”
National League series
In the National League championship series, Tim Lincecum outpitched Roy Halladay and Cody Ross hit a pair of solo homers as San Francisco beat Philadelphia in Game One on Saturday.
In a much-hyped matchup between marquee pitchers, neither starter came close to matching his sensational postseason debut last week. Both gave up homers to the Number 8 hitters.
Halladay’s bid for a second straight no-hitter lasted until Ross connected with one out in the third.
Lincecum, who tossed a two-hitter, gave up three runs on homers to Jayson Werth and Carlos Ruiz in seven innings.
But the Giants earned their fourth one-run win in the playoffs. The two-time NL champion Phillies lost their first series opener since getting swept by Colorado in 2007. Game Two is Sunday night.
Jonathan Sanchez tries to send the Giants back to San Francisco just two wins from their first World Series appearance since 2002. Roy Oswalt goes for the Phillies.