Friday, October 15, 2010

Yankees Win Bigger Than Texas

CC Sabathia has picked up his teammates up many times with outstanding starts. Friday night it was his teammates turn to pick up the top Cy Young contender with a come from behind, 6-5 victory in game 1 of the ALCS.

Bolstered by a 5-0 lead, C.J. Wilson dominated the Yankees through six innings before Robinson Cano finally put the Yankees on the board with a solo home run. An inning later the Yankees took advantage of a shaky Rangers bullpen.

Brett Gardner started things off with pure hustle on a tapper to first baseman Jorge Cantu. Gardner flew down the line and slid head first to beat Wilson to the first base bag. Derek Jeter followed with a double into the left field corner and Gardner scored as the ball kicked around in the corner. Ron Washington pulled Wilson and opted for left-hander Darren Wilson to keep Nick Swisher and Mark Teixeira batting from the right side.

The move didn't matter though when Oliver, who faced the Yankees in the post-season as a member of the Rangers in 1996, walked both hitters to load the bases. Washington went to right-hander Darren O'Day to face Alex Rodriguez, but the Yankees third baseman ripped a 2-run single through his counterpart Michael Young to cut the lead to 5-4.

Washington's moves continued to backfire when he brought in lefty Clay Rapada to face Cano. The Yankees MVP candidate lined a single to center field that Josh Hamilton mishandled to allow Teixeira to score the tying run. Cue another pitching change.

This time Washington went with another left-hander, Derek Holland, but Marcus Thames singled home A-Rod to put the Yankees on top for the first time, 6-5.

Sabathia appeared to be rusty after not having pitched since October 6. His lack of command affected him immediately as he walked lead off man Elvis Andrus in the 1st inning. Young followed with a single and Josh Hamilton hit a 2-strike frozen rope into the right field seats for a 3-0 lead.

The Rangers would eventually load the bases and could have broken the game open early, but Posada fielded Sabathia's wild pitch and threw out Nelson Cruz racing home from third. Replays showed that Sabathia got the tag on Cruz's shoulder just before the Rangers outfielder crossed home plate. Sabathia appeared to settle down somewhat, but the Rangers staged a two out rally in the 4th inning that culminated with a Young 2-run double for the 5-0 advantage.

The Yankees bullpen combo of Joba Chamberlain and Dustin Moseley plugged up the leak and enabled the comeback. Moseley picked up the first post-season win of his career after Mariano Rivera escaped a jam in the 9th. Pinch-hitter Mitch Moreland led off the inning with a single and was sacrificed to second by Andrus. But Rivera won a long duel with Young with a strikeout and got Hamilton to ground out to end the game.


The Rangers relievers were most responsible for the loss, but Ian Kinsler has some goat horns as well. After drawing a lead off walk against Kerry Wood in the 8th, Kinsler was picked off for a huge out.

Cano's home run was the first by a left-hander off of Wilson since June, '08.

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