It’s “win or go home” for the New York Yankees and the Philadelphia Phillies, the past two World Series winners, who are each one loss away from postseason elimination.
The Yankees won yesterday to keep alive their quest for back-to-back World Series titles. The Phillies, Major League Baseball’s 2008 champion, must avoid defeat today at the San Francisco Giants after falling behind 3-1 in the National League Championship Series.
Robinson Cano and Nick Swisher hit back-to-back home runs as the Yankees won 7-2 against the Texas Rangers yesterday, sending the American League Championship Series back to Arlington, Texas, with the Rangers leading the series 3-2.
“You either win or go home,” Cano said in a news conference. “We know what it feels like to go to the World Series and win a championship. We want to go back again.”
Juan Uribe’s sacrifice fly in the ninth inning last night gave the Giants a 6-5 win over the Phillies.
“Last year, I was at home on the beach,” said Pablo Sandoval, who had a two-run double for the Giants. “Coming through, being in the postseason, helping my team -- it’s one of those dreams when you’re a little kid.”
In New York, Cano and Swisher hit solo home runs to start the third inning, staking pitcher CC Sabathia to a 5-0 lead. Curtis Granderson added a solo home run and Sabathia allowed two runs over six innings as the home team ended a three-game losing streak.
Hughes vs. Lewis
Game 6 is tomorrow night, with Phil Hughes starting for the Yankees against the Rangers’ Colby Lewis. A decisive seventh game, if necessary, would be Oct. 23 in Texas.
“It wasn’t time for us to end this thing,” Swisher said. “It’s still 3-2, but we feel pretty good. I’m just really looking forward to seeing what’s going to happen in Texas.”
Cano hit his fourth home run of the series, tying him with nine others for the most in a league championship series. He hit third in the Yankee lineup in place of Mark Teixeira, who will miss the rest of the postseason after straining his right hamstring in Game 4.
“When it’s win or go home, you’ve got as much energy as you need,” Cano said during a news conference.
The Yankees’ bullpen, which was tagged for 11 runs over five innings the previous two games, sealed the win as Kerry Wood tossed two scoreless innings and Mariano Rivera retired the Rangers in the ninth.
First Road Loss
Texas lost for the first time in six road games this postseason and was denied, at least temporarily, its first trip to the World Series in franchise history.
“Those guys over there are the champs,” Texas manager Ron Washington said of the Yankees. “We didn’t expect them to lay down.”
The Phillies, who are the two-time defending NL champions and won the 2008 World Series title, also are one loss from going home.
“If we like to play with our backs against the wall, it’s there now,” Phillies manager Charlie Manuel said. “We’re standing right there.”
Aubrey Huff singled with one out in the Giants’ ninth and Buster Posey singled into the right-field corner for his fourth hit of the game. Uribe, who entered the game in the ninth inning, then lofted a ball to left field off Game 2 winner Roy Oswalt to score Huff with the winning run.
Posey joined Freddy Lindstrom, who had four hits for the New York Giants in the 1924 World Series, as the only rookies in franchise history with four hits in a postseason game. He also drove in two runs.
“This is exciting. You got adrenaline,” Posey said in a television interview. “If you’re tired of this, there’s something wrong with you.”
The Phillies’ Roy Halladay and the Giants’ Tim Lincecum renew their pitching duel tonight in Game 5 in San Francisco, a repeat of the Game 1 matchup won 4-3 by Lincecum. Halladay pitched a no-hitter in the NL Division Series and Lincecum is the two-time reigning Cy Young Award winner as the best pitcher in the National League.
The Giants opened the scoring in the first inning on a single by Freddy Sanchez, two wild pitches by Phillies starter Joe Blanton and Posey’s run-scoring single.
In the third, Huff singled with two outs and chugged around the bases to score on a double by Posey that just evaded left-fielder Ben Francisco.
The Phillies broke a 14-inning scoreless streak with four runs in the fifth to take a 4-2 lead. The runs were the first allowed at home by Giants’ starting pitchers this postseason, breaking a streak of 27 scoreless innings covering four games against Atlanta and Philadelphia.
Phillies’ Big Inning
With runners on second and third and one out, Shane Victorino singled up the middle to score a run. The runner from second, Carlos Ruiz, was thrown out at home plate trying to score. Chase Utley then singled to knock out Giants starter Madison Bumgarner, and Placido Polanco greeted reliever Santiago Casilla with a two-run double to left-center. The fourth run scored on a wild pitch.
The Giants responded with a run in their half of the fifth on a run-scoring single by Huff. In the sixth, Pat Burrell led off with a walk off reliever Chad Durbin and Cody Ross doubled down the left-field line before Sandoval doubled to left-center to score two runs.
Philadelphia tied the game 5-5 in the eighth on a leadoff double by Ryan Howard and Jayson Werth’s double into the left-field corner off reliever Sergio Romo.