The Texas Rangers continued their postseason success Tuesday night as they dismantled the New York Yankees for the second night in a row in the Bronx. With the Rangers’ 10-3 win in game four of the ALCS, the Rangers are now just one win away from advancing to the World Series.
The game did get off to an ominous start for the Rangers however. In the bottom of the second inning, Robinson Cano hit a home run to right field, but there appeared to be fan interference on the play. Nelson Cruz’s glove was hit by a fan as Cruz appeared to be in position to have a chance to make the catch, but the umpire ruled that the ball was in the stands so the Yankees grabbed a 1-0 lead. This was not the only controversial play of the inning, though, as Lance Berkman hit what was ruled a home run to right field, but the umpires reviewed it and correctly ruled a foul ball. Berkman later struck out to end the inning.
The Rangers answered right back in the third inning as they scored two runs on only one hit. David Murphy walked and Bengie Molina was hit by a pitch to start the inning. Mitch Moreland sacrificed them both over, Elvis Andrus had an RBI groundout, and then Michael Young had an RBI infield single to give the Rangers a 2-1 lead.
The Yankees would tie the game in the bottom of the third as Derek Jeter tripled with two outs and Curtis Granderson had an RBI single to make it 2-2. New York would take the lead 3-2 in the fourth as Brett Gardner had an RBI fielder’s choice with the bases loaded. However, Andrus made a great play deep in the hole and got the runner out at third base even though the run still scored. The outstanding defensive play by Andrus prevented a bigger inning from the Yankees.
But that was all the scoring the Yankees would have on this night. The Rangers took control of the game in the sixth inning as Bengie Molina hit a go-ahead three-run home run inside of the foul pole in left field to give the Rangers the lead for good at 5-3. Molina’s home run came after the Yankees intentionally walked David Murphy. However, the intentional walk would not have happened had Nelson Cruz not tagged up from first base on a fly ball from Ian Kinsler in the at-bat before Murphy, opening first base up.
In the seventh inning, the Rangers added two more runs, one of them courtesy of a Josh Hamilton solo home run. In the ninth inning with the Rangers up 7-3, Hamilton went yard again with a line drive rope to right-center. Cruz would later add a two-run blast of his own, scoring Vladimir Guerrero who reached on an infield single.
The Rangers’ offense pounded out 13 hits, including four home runs. Vlad Guerrero broke out for the first time in this ALCS with a 4-5 night, Molina was 3-4 with 3 RBIs, and Murphy walked three times and scored two runs.
The unsung hero of this game for the Rangers was reliever Derek Holland. After starter Tommy Hunter got pulled after 3 1/3 innings, Holland came in and pitched 3 2/3 innings of shutout baseball allowing only one hit, picking up the win in relief. As a whole, the bullpen pitched 5 2/3 innings of shutout baseball, including two big outs from Darren Oliver as the Yankees had the bases loaded in the eighth inning in a four-run game.
A.J. Burnett pitched well for the Yankees until he gave up the home run to Molina in the sixth. Burnett gave up five runs on six hits in six innings, striking out four and walking three. Yankees’ first baseman Mark Teixeira suffered a hamstring injury in the fifth inning and reportedly will miss the remainder of the postseason.
The Rangers are now 5-0 on the road in the postseason and have a chance to clinch a spot in the World Series in game five Wednesday afternoon. C.J. Wilson will take the mound for the Rangers while the Yankees will counter with their ace CC Sabathia in an elimination game. First pitch is scheduled for 3:07 p.m. CT on TBS.