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ALCS Game 6: Yankees Must Beat Rangers To Force Game 7

(Sports Network) - The Texas Rangers take another crack at securing their first World Series berth this evening when they play Game 6 of the American League Championship Series against the New York Yankees.

With the Rangers holding a 3-2 edge in the series, the set shifts back to Rangers Ballpark in Arlington, where Texas is just 1-3 this postseason. However, that lone win at home came against the Yankees in Game 2 with Colby Lewis on the hill and the righty will once again get the nod tonight trying to lock down a series win.

After throwing five scoreless innings to beat the Tampa Bay Rays in the ALDS, Lewis baffled the potent Yankees' lineup last Saturday, holding them to two runs and six hits in 5 2/3 innings.

"Of course you want to finish as quick as you can, but I don't think there's any extra added pressure on us or anything like that," Lewis said when asked about closing things out. "We are really comfortable. The clubhouse is really relaxed. We are back at home where we have been playing really well, and we just have to go out and take care of it. I mean, that's all there is to it."

Lewis had spent the previous two seasons in Japan, but returned to the majors this season and went 12-13 with a 3.72 ERA with wins in three of his last four decisions.

"To tell me that I'd be in this situation two years ago when I was thinking [about] finishing up my career in Japan, I would have told you you'd be nuts," Lewis said. "But it's a situation where I'm totally grateful for it, and grateful for the opportunity that the Rangers gave me to come back and continue to prove my talents here in the States. You know, I just want to go out and do what I've been doing all year -- try to give a quality start and leave it in the hands of the hitters."

Lewis will be opposed by the same pitcher he faced off with in Game 2 in right-hander Phil Hughes, who was awful in that contest. Hughes was pounded for seven runs and 10 hits in just four innings after pitching seven scoreless innings to beat the Minnesota Twins in the ALDS.

"I'm just looking forward to the opportunity to hopefully turn in a better start than last time and get a little payback in a sense," Hughes said. "My last one, I was horrible. I was just thankful that wasn't my last opportunity of the season. I'm looking to turn in a better one."

Hughes was 18-8 in the regular season and prior to that poor showing last Saturday, he hadn't allowed a run in 15 1/3 innings in Arlington.

"I have to make some adjustments, and that's the key," said Hughes. "I think whoever makes the adjustments is going to come out on top. You know, I'm just thrilled to have this opportunity again. It wasn't guaranteed I would have another start in the series, and I'm just happy to be able to pitch tomorrow and turn in a better start than my last one."

The Rangers' champagne was kept on ice Wednesday in the Bronx, as CC Sabathia grinded out six quality innings and Curtis Granderson went 3-for-4 with a home run and two RBI to help the Yankees stay alive with a 7-2 win.

The Rangers put the Yankees on the brink of elimination with three consecutive victories after blowing a 5-0 lead in the series opener, but New York was able to pull within a three games to two deficit despite getting outhit, 13-9.

Sabathia (2-0) scattered 11 hits and two runs with no walks, striking out seven in a must-win start. The Rangers had runners on base in each of his six innings on the mound, but the Cy Young Award candidate was able to work out of jams, as Texas finished 1-for-9 with runners in scoring position.

"We could have gotten a couple of hits to put some crooked numbers on the board," Rangers manager Ron Washington said. "But you have to give them credit. They won today, we didn't give it to them."

Nick Swisher and Robinson Cano also homered for the Yankees, while Jorge Posada went 2-for-4 with a double, a run scored and an RBI for the defending World Series champions.

New York, though, still has its work cut out for it, as just six teams have overcome a 3-1 deficit since the LCS went to a seven-game format in 1985 and the Yankees haven't done it in a seven-game series since rallying back to beat the Milwaukee Braves in the 1958 World Series.

C.J. Wilson (1-1) was roughed up for six runs -- five earned -- on six hits and four walks in five innings for Texas, which will be trying to win just its second-ever postseason series.

Matt Treanor, starting in place of Bengie Molina as Wilson's personal catcher, homered and added a run-scoring groundout in the loss, the Rangers' first on the road this postseason.

The Rangers have homered in each of their 10 games this postseason.

Should the Yankees win and force a decisive Game 7, it will be played on Saturday with Cliff Lee going for the Rangers against Andy Pettitte.