(Sports Network) - The New York Yankees missed out on a chance to repeat as World Series champions when the upstart Texas Rangers took out the Bronx Bombers in six games in last year's ALCS.
New York will try to gain a measure of revenge tonight when it welcomes the Rangers to Yankee Stadium for the opener of a three-game series. The Yankees are currently a game ahead of Baltimore for the AL East lead and swept a rain- shortened series with the Orioles in the Bronx with Thursday's 6-5 triumph in 10 innings. Jorge Posada's home run leading off the bottom of the ninth inning tied the game and Nick Swisher plated Mark Teixeira on a sacrifice fly in the bottom of the 10th to win it.
Alex Rodriguez recorded three hits, including two doubles, an RBI and a run scored, while Robinson Cano added two hits and drove in a run for the Yankees, who have won three of four games.
New York will turn to Ivan Nova tonight in hopes of him picking up his second victory of the season. Nova is hoping to establish a spot in the rotation, but didn't do that the last time out on Saturday at Boston. He was reached for four runs and seven hits in 4 1.3 innings of a 9-4 win.
The right-hander, who won his first start on April 4 versus Minnesota, has never faced Texas before. Nova won't have to pitch to Rangers stud and reigning AL MVP Josh Hamilton, who's expected to miss a significant amount of time with a broken upper arm.
Meanwhile, the Rangers will continue a 10-game road trip tonight having lost the last two tests of a three-game series in Detroit. In Wednesday's 3-2 loss to the Tigers, Brandon Inge hit a solo home run with one out in the bottom of the ninth inning off of Rangers reliever Darren Oliver.
Manager Ron Washington will send unbeaten starter Matt Harrison to the mound Friday night and he's 2-0 with a 1.29 earned run average in his first two starts. Harrison threw seven innings of one-run ball in a win over Boston on April 3 and did the same thing last Saturday in a 13-1 blowout of the Orioles on the road.
The left-hander is 1-1 with a 7.53 ERA in five career games (2 starts) against the Yankees.
Before tonight's game at Yankee Stadium, Major League Baseball will commemorate the eighth annual Jackie Robinson Day and launch a new online campaign 'IAM42.com' with the Robinson family. All players and on-field personnel will wear the number 42 in recognition of Robinson.
@ New York Yankees
Friday, Apr 15, 2011, 7:05 PM EDT
Matt Harrison vs Ivan Nova
Clear. Winds blowing in from center field at 10-15 m.p.h. Game time temperature around 50.
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