Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Yankees Live to Fight Another Day

CC Sabathia wasn't as sharp as he is capable of being, but he was a lot sharper than he was in game 1 of the ALCS. The Yankees gave him run support just as they did in the series opener and forced a game 6 with a 7-2 win over the Texas Rangers this afternoon.

Unlike the earlier games in the series the Yankees came up with some big hits when they needed them. They also got some help from some sloppy Texas play and C.J. Wilson who wasn't nearly as good as he was in game 1.

Sabathia gave up three hits in the first two innings, but with the help of a double play, the game was scoreless in the bottom of the 2nd inning. That's when Wilson's troubles began. He walked the lead off man Alex Rodriguez and one batter later issued a free pass to Lance Berkman. Jorge Posada singled through the right side to plate Rodriguez, who went in standing just ahead of catcher Matt Treanor's tag.

Curtis Granderson then dropped one in front of Jeff Francoeur in right to score Berkman and Posada followed when Francoeur's throw ricocheted off the outstretched glove of third baseman Michael Young. Wilson backed up the play and had a shot at Posada at the plate, but threw over the head of Treanor for a 3-0 Yankees lead.

The Yankees brought out the big guns an inning later; Nick Swisher and Robinson Cano hit back to back home runs for a comfortable 5-0 lead. It was Cano's fourth home run of the series, tying him with Hamilton for the LCS high.

Sabathia bent, but never broke. He gave up a solo home run to Treanor in the 5th and ran into trouble in the 6th when he gave up three straight singles. But after Treanor's ground out produced a second run, Sabathia froze Mitch Moreland with a strike three breaking pitch to end the inning.

The Yankees got one of the runs back on a sac fly by Berkman in the 5th and added another in the 8th on a Granderson solo home run.

Joe Girardi, highly criticized here earlier today, didn't have to make too many decisions in this one. The lineup worked out for the most part, he had his ace on the mound and then he went to a Kerry Wood-Mariano Rivera duo for the 7th through 9th innings. It was just a matter of determining who would get how many outs.

As it turned out Woods was the two inning man, pitching a very effective 7th and 8th innings. His work included picking Elvis Andrus off of second base to quash any possible rally in the 7th inning. Rivera, working for the first time since game 1, allowed a two out single to Moreland, but retired Andrus on a foul out to earn his second save of the series.

On to Texas for a Phil Hughes-Colby Lewis rematch on Friday night.


As expected, Mark Teixeira was removed from the roster with a badly strained hamstring. Infielder Eduardo Nunez took his place. Should the Yankees advance to the World Series, Teixeira would not be eligible to play even if he miraculously recovered.

The Yankees nearly lost another first baseman when Berkman slipped on the warning track chasing a foul ball. His feet went out from under and he slammed down hard on the firm surface. He got the wind knocked out of him and stayed down for several minutes. Though he's sure to be sore on Thursday he was able to continue for the rest of the game...with a better pair of shoes.

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