Last night the Rangers started a two game series against the New York Yankees who are leading their division in the East, although no where near the margin that the Rangers have in the West. The Rangers sent C.J. Wilson who now has a 10-5 record with a 3.30 ERA to the mound to face off against A.J. Burnett who now has a 9-9 record with a 3.87ERA. Burnett was a late scratch on Sunday due to back spasms so his start was pushed back two days against the Rangers.
The short road trip to Arlington also marks the first time that former Ranger Alex Rodriguez has returned to Arlington since hitting his 600th home run. During his tenure with the Rangers which was from 2001-2004 Rodriguez hit 156 of his 601 home runs. While he was in Texas he was close to former owner Tom Hicks, so this was also his first trip to the Rangers under new ownership which becomes official tomorrow.
The game last night went 10 innings with each team blowing a save before the Rangers finally walked off in the tenth inning off of Yankees closer Mariano Rivera. Wilson who started the game pitched 5.1 innings giving up 2 runs on five hits before giving way to Darren O’Day who promptly gave up a single to catcher Francisco Cervelli. O”Day was replaced by Darren Oliver who got the final two outs of the six inning.
Alexi Ogando then proceeded to pitch a perfect seventh inning with two strike outs. Going into the eighth inning the Rangers were leading 3-2. The Rangers sent Frank Francisco out to the mound to hold the win before giving way to Neftali Feliz for the save. Alex Rodriguez was the first batter of the inning and on a 2-1 count he deposited his 601 home run on a line drive to center field crediting Francisco with the blown save.
Francisco eventually gotthe three outs to get out of the inning withonly one run scored after facing five batters total. Yankees pitching made quick work of the Rangers with a 1-2-3 bottom of the eigth with Josh Hamilton and Vladimir Guerrero striking out and Nelson Cruz grounding out.
Closer Neftali Feliz pitched two scoreless inning in the 9th and 10th inning only giving up two hits. The Yankees sent future Hall of Fame Closer Mariano Rivera to mound in the 10th inning. Michael Young started off the inning with a single on a 1-1 count. Josh Hamilton then singled on a 0-1 count. Vladimir Guerrero then grounded out at first base but moved Young to third and Hamilton to 2nd.
Rivera then intentionally walked Nelson Cruz to load the bases to face David Murphy. Murphy then singled on a 3-2 count scoring Young from third and ending the game. With the win the Rangers held their 8.5 game lead in the West and the Yankees dropped to a .5 game lead over the Rays in the East. It is very possible these two teams could meet up sometime in October whether in the ALDS or ALCS. The Yankees-Rangers face off one more time tonight with Cliff Lee (10-5 2.44ERA) going against Javier Vazquez (9-8 4.63ERA).