Final

Playoff Series: Game 1 of 6

Texas won 4-2

Game 1: Friday, October 15
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Game 2: Saturday, October 16
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Game 3: Monday, October 18
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Game 4: Tuesday, October 19
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Game 5: Wednesday, October 20
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Game 6: Friday, October 22
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    8:00 PM ET, October 15, 2010

    Globe Life Park in Arlington, Arlington, Texas 

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    W: D. Moseley (1-0)

    L: D. O'Day (0-1)

    S: M. Rivera (1)

    Rangers pound Sabathia but Yanks fight back to win ALCS Game 1

    Associated Press

    ARLINGTON, Texas -- A chopper by Brett Gardner with a headfirst slide into first base, and the New York Yankees were rallying again.

    "I stepped on his hand. So he was safe," Texas Rangers starter C.J. Wilson said.

    Gardner's infield single leading off the eighth inning ignited a five-run outburst against Wilson and four Texas relievers to push the Yankees to a 6-5 victory in Game 1 of the AL championship series Friday night.

    "All starts with a hustle play," manager Joe Girardi said.

    Alex Rodriguez, who scooted home with the go-ahead run in the eighth soon after his two-run single that was nearly a double-play grounder, called Gardner's slide "the big momentum changer." It started a string of seven consecutive batters reaching base.

    Just when the Texas Rangers thought they finally might get a home playoff victory, and against their old nemesis, the Yankees beat them again.

    The Rangers are 0-7 in postseason home games, with five of those losses against New York. This one hurt the most, since they led 3-0 after Josh Hamilton's homer in the first inning and knocked CC Sabathia out after four innings with a 5-0 lead.

    Nolan Ryan was hollering from the front row and manager Ron Washington was pumping his fist in the dugout.

    New York's comeback changed all that. Washington looked on in disgust while fans buried their faces in their hands. Ryan sat with his arms crossed, shoulders slumped for the Rangers' part-owner.

    "They used to have this show called the 'Twilight Zone.' That's how I felt," Wilson said. "We were all kind of pacing in the dugout. It was surreal."

    The Yankees became the first team to win a postseason game after trailing by at least four runs in the eighth since the 2005 Astros, according to STATS LLC. Houston was behind Atlanta 6-1 in the eighth of NL division series Game 4 and went on to win 7-6 in 18 innings.

    "It got away from us," Washington said. "But gave it away? No. We just didn't execute."

    After a majors-best 48 come-from-behind wins in the regular season, the defending World Series champion Yankees have three more this postseason.

    "I'm never surprised at what our guys do. Maybe thrilled, but never surprised," Girardi said. "There's a talented group in there that plays with a lot of passion."

    Right-hander Phil Hughes starts Game 2 for the Yankees on Saturday against right-hander Colby Lewis.

    Robinson Cano started the Yankees' comeback in the seventh with a solo homer, the first by a left-hander off Wilson since June 2008.

    Then Gardner, the speedy No. 9 hitter, got things rolling in the eighth before Derek Jeter followed with an RBI double to chase the crafty Texas lefty reliever-turned-starter.

    Darren Oliver, the only player who had been in a playoff game with Texas before this season, walked the only two batters he faced. Then Rodriguez, who had already struck out twice and made a fielding error to the delight of his former Texas fans, hit a hard grounder that hopped over Michael Young's glove at third base.

    "He hit it hard and it took kind of a tricky hop at the end. I would have loved for it to have found my glove," Young said. "I'm not going to lose any sleep over it, that's for sure."

    A-Rod's single came against submarining right-hander Darren O'Day, who faced only one batter and took the loss.

    Cano then hit an RBI single off lefty Clay Rapada, who didn't face another batter. Marcus Thames followed with the single off Derek Holland that drove home Rodriguez.

    New York has won 10 consecutive postseason games against the Rangers, who were knocked out of the playoffs by the Yankees in their only three previous playoffs appearances (1996, 1998 and 1999).

    Dustin Moseley, the second of four Yankees' relievers, struck out four in his two perfect innings.

    Mariano Rivera worked the ninth for his 42nd career postseason save, extending his major league record. After a pinch-hit single and a sacrifice bunt, Rivera struck out Young and retired Hamilton on a grounder.

    Things had started so well for the Rangers in their first ALCS game, and the first time playing a postseason series opener at Rangers Ballpark.

    Ryan, the Hall of Famer and team president, threw out the ceremonial first pitch. The all-time king of strikeouts and no-hitters fired a heater that drew maybe the loudest pregame cheer from the crowd of 50,935.

    Then with Hamilton's homer, Texas already had more runs than it scored in all the 1998 and 1999 division series against New York. The Rangers scored only one run in each of those while being swept in three games both times. They lost the last three games in the 1996 after winning their playoff debut in old Yankee Stadium.

    Only a fortunate bounce on what could've been a bases-loaded wild pitch stopped the Rangers from getting more in the first after Hamilton pulled a pitch down the right field line for his first postseason homer.

    After an extended gap between starts, eight days of rest since Game 1 of the AL division series against Minnesota, the Yankees' big left-hander labored through the first. Sabathia walked three, gave up three hits and was pitching to the ninth batter when he finally got out of a bases-loaded jam on his 36th pitch -- the 20th ball.

    That high pitch clipped catcher Jorge Posada's mitt and ricocheted hard off the brick-facade backstop. Posada turned, retrieved the ball and flipped it to Sabathia to get Nelson Cruz trying to score.

    Cruz immediately pointed at home plate while pleading with umpire Gerry Davis, and Washington ran out to join the conversation. But replays showed clearly that Sabathia tagged Cruz on his left arm before his feet slid across the plate.

    Young put the Rangers up 5-0 with a two-run double in the fourth before Hamilton took an inning-ending called third strike. That was it for Sabathia in the shortest of his seven postseason games for the Yankees over two Octobers -- and his shortest in 36 starts this year, his two postseason starts included.

    Sabathia gave up five runs and six hits and four walks.

    "He was definitely off today, but didn't give up 10 runs," Girardi said. "He kept it to five and we were able to come back. "

    Game notes


    Yankees pitchers had thrown 24 2/3 consecutive scoreless innings in playoffs games at Rangers Ballpark, since the third inning of Game 4 of the 1996 division series. They pitched shutouts at Texas in 1998 and 1999. ... Hamilton was 1 for 10 with four strikeouts in his career against Sabathia before the first-inning homer.

    Copyright by STATS LLC and The Associated Press

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    Game Information

    StadiumGlobe Life Park in Arlington, Arlington, TX
    Attendance50,930 (105.7% full) - % is based on regular season capacity
    Game Time3:50
    Weather80 degrees, clear
    Wind3 mph
    UmpiresHome Plate - Gerry Davis, First Base - Tony Randazzo, Second Base - Jim Reynolds, Third Base - Angel Hernandez

    Research Notes

    Marcus Thames is the first Yankee DH with a go-ahead hit in the 8th inning or later in a postseason game.
    Alex Rodriguez single in the 8th inning was his first career hit with the bases loaded in the postseason (was 0-5 prior to hit).
    CC Sabathia is the 8th pitcher (9th time) to throw a wild pitch and have a balk in a postseason game, and the first since Justin Verlander in Game 2 of the 2006 ALCS. He is the FIRST Yankee to throw a wild pitch and have a balk in a postseason game.
    CC Sabathia threw just 51 strikes in his 93 pitches, for a strike percentage of 54.8%. Only once during the regular season did he have a lower strike percentage - on April 22 vs the A's, 52.6% of his pitches were thrown for strikes.
    Robinson Cano (NYY): 3-4, HR, 2 RBI As has been the case for most of the 2010 campaign, Cano came up big for the Yankees. He got the Yanks on the board with a 7th-inning homer off a C.J. Wilson slider - one of 2 sliders Cano saw on the evening. The fact that Cano saw few sliders - and that he crushed one - should come as no surprise. Cano has now hit 11 of his 30 home runs this season (regular season and playoffs) off the slider, compared to 12 off the fastball. Combining the regular season and playoffs, Cano is hitting .337 against the slider and .331 off the fastball. Cano was 2-3 off the heater Friday night. His three hits were all deemed to be "well-hit" by Inside Edge.
    How the Rangers pitching fell apart in the 8th inning: - In innings 1-7, C.J. Wilson controlled the Yankees - especially with his fastball. Yanks hitters were 2-16 (.125) against the heater and only 2 balls were deemed "well-hit" by Inside Edge. - In the eighth inning, the Yanks adjusted against Wilson and the FOUR Rangers relievers - especially against the fastball. Of the 44 pitches in the frame, 34 were fastballs. The Yanks were 4-6 (.667) against the heater and 4 balls were deemed "well-hit".
    Marcus Thames flashback: On August 11, he had a go-ahead hit in the 9th inning against the Rangers, a game in which the Yankees overcame a 6-1 deficit and beat the Rangers, 7-6. Friday, he had the go-ahead hit in the eighth inning as the Yankees came back from five runs down to beat the Rangers.
    Dustin Moseley: 4th reliever to win, pitching at least two innings of hitless ball in his postseason debut. Other 3 include a couple of good names: Earl Johnson (1946 Red Sox), Bruce Sutter (1982 Cardinals), and Randy Myers (1988 Mets).

    YankeesThe Yankees became the fifth team in MLB postseason history to come from at least four runs down in the eighth inning or later. The last team to do it was the 2005 Astros. Here's a look:

      [+]
    CC Sabathia: Fifth pitcher in Yankees history to allow at least five runs in four innings or fewer in a postseason opener since Mike Mussina against the Diamondbacks in Game 1 of the 2001 World Series.
      [+]
    CC Sabathia: 4 Ip....that's the 3rd-shortest Game 1 start by a Yankees' pitcher in ALCS history. Ron Guidry lasted just 3 IP in 1980 against the Royals and Don Gullett lasted just 2 IP in 1977 against the Royals
    The last time the Yankees won a postseason game in which they allowed 3+ runs in the first inning was Game 1 of the 1997 ALDS against the Indians. The Indians scored 5 runs in the top of the first, but the Yankees rallied to win, 8-6.
    Last time Yankees gave up 3+ in first inning of a postseason game Game 5 of the 2009 ALCS against the Angels (4 runs) Last time they did it in a series opener Game 1 of the 2007 ALDS against the Indians (3 runs)
    Josh Hamilton: First 0-2 HR of 2010 postseason Last one was in Game 1 of the 2009 WS by Chase Utley against CC Sabathia. First HR driving in 3+ on an 0-2 pitch since Andruw Jones, 2004 Braves NLDS Game 3 against the Astros Hamilton entered with 2 of his 93 HR coming on an 0-2 pitch. His last 0-2 HR came on June 3, 2008 Sabathia's last one allowed was the one to Utley in the 2009 WS

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