Rangers fall, take quest for Series berth home
NEW YORK — C.J. Wilson, after two terrific playoff starts, ran into some command problems in Game 5 of the American League Championship Series and his teammates ran into Yankees left-hander CC Sabathia.
The Rangers had a hard time dealing with both, and the ALCS is on the way back to Arlington with the defending world champion Yankees starting to rumble again.
Wilson, who trailed by five runs after three innings, allowed six over his five frames, while Sabathia battled hard through six innings and the Yankees came away with a 7-2 victory on Wednesday at Yankee Stadium.
The Rangers, who had a five-game road winning streak snapped, still have a 3-2 lead in the ALCS with the next two scheduled for the Ballpark in Arlington. Colby Lewis pitches for the Rangers on Friday against Phil Hughes, and Cliff Lee is ready for Saturday if needed.
The Rangers, after three straight decisive wins over the Yankees, are looking for one more victory that will put them in the World Series for the first time in franchise history.
The Rangers are the ninth ALCS team since 1985 to hold a 3-2 lead and have the final two games being played at their home ballpark. The Blue Jays, after being up 3-1, lost three straight to the Royals in 1985, including the last two in Toronto. The Yankees had a 3-0 lead on the Red Sox in 2004 before losing four straight with the last two coming in the Bronx.
Outfielder Nelson Cruz had to come out of the game in the fifth inning with tightness in his left hamstring. Cruz, who is hitting .378 with four home runs in 10 games, is listed as day-to-day.
Wilsons struggles came in no small part because of his four walks, one of which walks was intentional. The other three — including two that led off an inning — ended up scoring. Wilson threw 93 pitches and only 48 for strikes. Thats 51.6 percent. Wilson threw 63.9 percent of his pitches (133 out of 208) for strikes in his first two playoff starts. He is now 1-1 with a 3.92 ERA this postseason.
Sabathia allowed 11 hits in his six innings, but he did not walk a batter while striking out seven. The Rangers were 1-for-9 with runners in scoring position, and Elvis Andrus got picked off at second base in the seventh inning by Kerry Wood.
Wilson retired the Yankees in order in the first but started losing command of the strike zone in the second. He walked Alex Rodriguez to lead off the inning and Lance Berkman with one out.
Jorge Posada then lined a single to left. Cruz charged the ball hard and made a strong throw to the plate. But it came in on the third-base side of the plate, just enough to allow Rodriguez to race past catcher Matt Treanors tag and score the Yankees first run. That was also the play that Cruz first felt some discomfort in his hamstring.
Curtis Granderson followed with a single to right, scoring Berkman. Posada went to third on the play and ended up scoring when right fielder Jeff Francoeurs throw got past third baseman Michael Young.
That gave the Yankees a 3-0 lead and then Nick Swisher and Robinson Cano opened up the third inning with back-to-back home runs off of Wilson.
Treanors fifth-inning home run off of Sabathia made it 5-1. But Wilson walked Swisher to start the bottom of the fifth, and he ended up scoring on a double by Rodriguez and a sacrifice fly by Berkman.
The Rangers were able to load the bases with three straight one-out singles by David Murphy, Ian Kinsler and Francoeur. That brought up Treanor, but this time he hit a slow grounder to Rodriguez at third. Rodriguez went for the out at first, allowing the run to score, and Sabathia struck out Mitch Moreland to end the inning.
Granderson added a solo shot in the eighth off Alexi Ogando to give the Yankees their final tally.