Oct. 20 (Bloomberg) -- Robinson Cano and Nick Swisher hit back-to-back home runs as the New York Yankees avoided postseason elimination with a 7-2 win over the Texas Rangers.
Cano and Swisher hit solo home runs to start the third inning, staking starting pitcher CC Sabathia to a 5-0 lead at Yankee Stadium. Curtis Granderson added a solo home run and Sabathia allowed two runs over six innings as the defending World Series champions ended a three-game losing streak and pulled within 3-2 in the American League Championship Series.
The best-of-seven series returns to Arlington, Texas, for Game 6 on Oct. 22. Phil Hughes will be the Yankees’ starting pitcher against the Rangers’ Colby Lewis. A decisive seventh game, if necessary, would be Oct. 23 in Texas.
“It’s do or die,” Swisher said in a televised interview. “We know if we lose, we’re done so we’re going out there and we’re giving it everything we got and we’ll see where it takes us.”
Since Major League Baseball went to a seven-game format for the LCS in 1985, six of 30 teams to trail 3-1 have rallied to make the World Series.
This was the first time the Yankees were behind 3-1 in a best-of-seven postseason series since the 1958 World Series, when they rallied to beat Milwaukee in seven games.
The San Francisco Giants host the Philadelphia Phillies today in Game 4 of the National League Championship Series. The Giants hold a 2-1 lead in the best-of-seven series after yesterday’s 3-0 victory.
Yanks Strike Early
The Yankees, outscored by the Rangers 25-5 in losing the previous three games, jumped out to a 3-0 second-inning lead.
Jorge Posada and Granderson had run-scoring singles off Texas starting pitcher C.J. Wilson following walks to Alex Rodriguez and Lance Berkman. Two throwing miscues by the Rangers allowed Posada to come home with the Yankees’ third run on Granderson’s hit.
It was just the Yankees’ second multi-run inning of the series, the other being their five-run eighth-inning rally to win the opener 6-5.
Swisher and Cano hit consecutive home runs off Wilson to put the Yankees up 5-0. It was the fourth homer of the series for Cano, tying him with nine others for the most in an LCS.
“When it’s win or go home, you’ve got as much energy as you need,” Cano said during a news conference.
Cano 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 yesterday’s 10-3 Game 4 loss. Berkman replaced Teixeira at first base.
Matt Treanor hit a solo home run for the Rangers leading off the fifth inning. Sabathia escaped further damage in the inning when he got Josh Hamilton, who has four homers in the series, to ground into a double play with two runners on base.
Berkman hit a sacrifice fly in the bottom of the fifth as the Yankees regained a five-run lead.
Sabathia improved to 5-1 over the past two postseasons even though he allowed 11 hits in six innings. After giving up a second run on Treanor’s run-scoring groundout in the sixth, he worked out of trouble by striking out Mitch Moreland with runners on second and third.
‘Wanted to Fight’
“Our backs were up against the wall today and I just wanted to fight, no matter what the situation was,” Sabathia said. “No matter how many runners were on base in any given inning, I was just going to try to make some pitches to make sure I got some outs.”
Granderson added a solo home run for the Yankees in the bottom of the eighth inning.
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.
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.
The Yankees avoided losing three straight home games in the same postseason series since the 1942 World Series, when they lost Games 3, 4 and 5 against St. Louis.
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