(Sports Network) - Following their improbable Game 1 victory the New York Yankees try to take a commanding 2-0 lead in the American League Championship Series, as they continue the best-of-seven set against the Texas Rangers this afternoon at Rangers Ballpark in Arlington.
The Yankees improved to 4-0 this postseason on Friday with an amazing come- from-behind win, as Marcus Thames hit the go-ahead RBI single to cap a five- run eighth inning, helping New York to a 6-5 victory.
Texas, which wasted a 5-0 lead, was poised for its first-ever postseason home win and was in line to snap a nine-game postseason skid against the Yankees, but the defending World Series champs scored five times before recording an out in the big inning.
C.J. Wilson pitched into the eighth, but the first seven batters reached base against five different Texas pitchers in the fateful frame for the Rangers. It started with Brett Gardner's head-first slide for an infield hit as Wilson couldn't get to the bag in time for the throw from first baseman Jorge Cantu.
The Rangers are now 0-7 all-time at home in the postseason with five of those defeats coming at the hands of the Yankees, who haven't lost to Texas in the playoffs since Game 1 of the 1996 ALDS. After losing the next three games of that series, Texas was swept in the first round by New York in 1998 and 1999.
Thames culminated the huge frame with the go-ahead single to left field to drive in ex-Ranger Alex Rodriguez, who bounced a two-run base hit earlier in the inning.
New York, which had 48 comeback wins during the regular season, and has three in four playoff games, became the first team to win a postseason game after trailing by at least four runs in the eighth since Houston came back from a 6-1 deficit in a 7-6, 18-inning win over Atlanta in Game 4 of the 2005 NL division series.
"We have a veteran clubhouse that knows how to react to whatever situation we are in," Yankees manager Joe Girardi said. "We look forward to Game 2, and I'm sure they are too. Some might feel we were fortunate to come out with a win tonight, but I thought our club played hard and kept playing and playing and playing. And you try to build on it tomorrow."
Josh Hamilton belted a three-run homer off CC Sabathia before the southpaw could record an out, and Michael Young added a two-run double in the fourth inning for the Rangers, who are 0-7 all-time at home in the playoffs.
Pinch-hitter Mitch Moreland singled off Mariano Rivera leading off the bottom of the ninth inning and advanced to second on a sacrifice bunt by Elvis Andrus. Young ended a long at-bat by swinging through an outside pitch for strike three. Hamilton bounced the first pitch to Rodriguez, who threw across the diamond for the final out, giving Rivera his 42nd career postseason save.
Rivera, who has allowed one earned run over his last 21 playoff appearances overall, has not yielded a run in 12 innings while converting all five postseason save chances versus Texas.
Today, the Yankees will hand the ball to righty Phil Hughes. On the heels of a terrific 18-win campaign, the young right-hander was sensational in beating the Twins in the ALDS, as he scattered four hits over seven scoreless innings.
"It was gratifying, for sure," said Hughes. "You want to go out there, especially in your first start, and prove something -- go out and have a good game. Obviously, it's going to set the tone for whatever starts I have left in this postseason, and that was certainly nice."
Hughes has been terrific in his two starts in Texas. He carried a no-hitter into the seventh inning in Arlington in his second big league start back in 2007 before leaving the game with a hamstring injury. Last year he pitched eight scoreless innings there to defeat the Rangers.
"It's not a ton of experience here -- just two starts," said Hughes. "But I remember from those two starts, I feel pretty comfortable here. I'm not sure what it is -- the ballpark, or what -- but yeah, the two times that I have started here, I have felt pretty good."
Opposing Hughes for Texas will be right-hander Colby Lewis, who did not get a decision in his ALDS Game 3 start against the Rays, but did not allow a run in five innings. However, he did walk five batters.
"I think what hurt him more than anything, he started walking guys," Texas manager Ron Washington said. "You know, something he really doesn't do. It's just a matter of him putting his pitches where he wants to put them because he has swing- and-miss stuff, and I think what got him in trouble the first time is he just lost his command. He maintains his command, I'm certainly going to love where he can take us in the game."
In his first year back in the big leagues after spending the last two seasons in Japan, Lewis went 12-13 with a 3.72 ERA, but won three of his last four decisions.
Lewis has faced the Yankees three times and is 0-2 with a 6.89 ERA. However, he hasn't faced them since 2003.
The Yankees and Rangers split eight games during the regular season.
Game 3 of this series will take place on Monday at Yankee Stadium.