The Texas Rangers held on to a big lead this time against the Yankees, sending the American League Championship Series to New York with the teams tied 1-1.
In the opening game of the National League Championship Series, Tim Lincecum outpitched Roy Halladay and Cody Ross hit two solo home runs as the San Francisco Giants won 4-3 last night at the Philadelphia Phillies.
It was a night for players rejected by other teams. Midseason castoffs Ross and Pat Burrell had crucial hits for the Giants, and Colby Lewis -- who was dumped by three Major League Baseball teams in 2007 and then spent 2008-2009 in Japan -- got the win for Texas against the Yankees.
“We have some characters here, whether you want to call them castoffs or misfits,” Giants manager Bruce Bochy said of his roster. “I compare them to the Dirty Dozen. That’s the way they play, but they’ve coalesced into a team that goes out there to win.”
The Rangers, who blew a five-run lead in Game 1 against the Yankees, took a five-run lead again yesterday and went on to win 7-2 for the first postseason home victory in club history.
Game 3 in the best-of-seven series is set for tomorrow night, with the Rangers’ Cliff Lee facing the Yankees’ Andy Pettitte in a battle of left-handed starters.
The Rangers entered the game with a 0-7 record at home in the postseason and a 10-game postseason losing streak to the Yankees -- who defeated Texas in the AL playoffs in 1996, 1998 and 1999.
“We just knew what we needed to do,” Lewis, who allowed two runs in 5 2/3 innings, said in a news conference. “We had two games here at home. We just needed to come out today and split and go back to their place, plain and simple.”
Lewis’s Long Journey
Lewis, 31, has had a long journey from first-round draft choice of the Rangers in 1999 to a postseason winner. He was waived by the Rangers in 2004 after having rotator cuff surgery, and then released or waived by the Washington Nationals, Oakland Athletics and Kansas City Royals in 2007. He then spent two seasons in Japan with the Hiroshima Toyo Carp before rejoining the Rangers.
Texas opened the scoring in the first inning when Elvis Andrus reached base on an infield single, moved to second on a wild pitch by Phil Hughes and then stole third and home -- the latter swipe coming as part of a double steal.
The Rangers added two runs in the second inning on a solo home run by David Murphy and a run-scoring double by Michael Young. They made it 5-0 in the third on RBI doubles by Murphy and Bengie Molina.
NY Starters Struggling
Hughes, who won 18 games during the regular season, allowed seven runs on 10 hits and three walks in four innings. The night before, New York starter CC Sabathia allowed five runs on six hits and four walks in four innings.
“Our starters have not pitched well so far,” Yankees manager Joe Girardi said in a news conference. “I believe in our guys and I believe that they will pitch well as we continue forward here.”
New York scored its first run in the fourth inning on a run-scoring single by Lance Berkman, only to have Texas respond with two runs in the fifth on an RBI triple by Ian Kinsler and a run-scoring single by Mitch Moreland.
The Yankees’ Robinson Cano hit a solo home run, his second in as many games, in the sixth to make it 7-2.
Neither team scored after the sixth inning, leaving the Yankees with a 16-0 cumulative advantage in runs starting in the seventh inning in the 12 playoff games between the teams. That includes a 12-inning game in 1996.
The Rangers also had a 5-0 lead in Game 1, only to have the Yankees score one in the seventh inning and five in the eighth to win 6-5.
“When you get to this point of the season, you can’t let one night affect the next,” Rangers manager Ron Washington said in a news conference. “That’s what it’s all about.”
In Philadelphia, Halladay extended his streak of not allowing a postseason hit through seven Giants batters before Ross homered to left field in the third inning. Carlos Ruiz responded in the bottom of the inning for the Phillies with a leadoff home run off Lincecum, the two-time reigning Cy Young Award winner as the NL’s best pitcher.
Ross, who was waived by the Florida Marlins in mid-August and taken by the Giants, hit another home run into the left-field stands in the fifth. San Francisco made it 4-1 in the sixth on an RBI double by Burrell, who was released by the Tampa Bay Rays in mid-May, and a run-scoring single by Juan Uribe.
‘Dream Come True’
“Two months ago, I was down in South Florida and I thought my season’s about to end, I’m going to be on the couch watching the playoffs,” Ross said. “And next thing I know, I got the opportunity to come over here. And it’s just been a dream come true.”
Jayson Werth hit a two-run home run in the bottom of the sixth to pull the Phillies within a run.
Lincecum gave up three runs on six hits in seven innings and struck out eight hitters. Halladay allowed four runs on eight hits in seven innings, striking out seven.
Jonathan Sanchez will start for the Giants tonight in Game 2 of the series against Philadelphia’s Roy Oswalt.