Bronx, NY (Sports Network) – CC Sabathia didn’t have his dominant stuff but tossed a quality outing regardless, and Curtis Granderson went 3-for-4 with a home run and two RBI to help the New York Yankees stay alive in the American League Championship Series with a 7-2, Game 5 victory over the Texas Rangers.
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, on Wednesday.
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.
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 is one win away from its first Fall Classic appearance.
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 series now shifts back to Arlington, where on Friday Phil Hughes will toe the rubber for New York and Colby Lewis for Texas. Lewis earned the win in Game 2 after his teammates touched Hughes for seven runs in four innings.
Before the game New York made a roster move that severely hindered its chances at repeating, as infielder Eduardo Nunez replaced an injured Mark Teixeira. The first baseman suffered a Grade 2 strain of his right hamstring trying to beat out a ground ball in Game 4 and will not be available if the Yankees move on to the World Series.
Teixeira’ ALCS production (0-for-14) epitomized the Yankees’ struggles this series as they were outscored 25-5 between Games 2 and 4.
They got out of that rut early thanks a pair of walks and an ugly fielding display by Texas in the second inning. Alex Rodriguez led off with a walk, moved to second on a one-out free pass to Lance Berkman and scored on Posada’s single to left.
Granderson lined a single to right field to bring in Berkman, and Jeff Francoeur’s off-target throw from right got away from third baseman Michael Young. Wilson was backing up on the play, but his toss home went high over Treanor’s head, allowing Posada to score for a 3-0 game.
Swisher and Cano pushed the margin to 5-0 with back-to-back homers to open the third. Swisher cranked an 0-1 fastball into the left-field seats, while Cano sent a slider deep to right-center for his fourth home run of the series.
“I feel good at the plate, but the bottom line is [we] won the game,” Cano said. “If [we] didn’t win, it doesn’t mean anything.”
The Rangers didn’t crack the scoreboard until Treanor deposited a 1-0 Sabathia fastball over the left field wall in the fifth. Sabathia put two more runners on before getting the red-hot Josh Hamilton to bounce into an inning-ending double play.
The Yankees loaded the bases in the bottom half, as Swisher walked leading off, Rodriguez one-hopped the wall in left for a ground-rule double and Marcus Thames was given an intentional walk with one out. The hosts got a run across on Berkman’s deep sacrifice fly to center.
Texas filled the bags in the sixth but also managed just one run. Three consecutive singles by David Murphy, who came in for an injured Nelson Cruz (hamstring), Ian Kinsler and Francoeur preceded Treanor’s RBI groundout.
Sabathia ended his outing by winning an eight-pitch battle with Mitch Moreland, freezing the rookie on a backdoor slider.
Elvis Andrus started the away seventh by beating out an infield single off Kerry Wood, whose wild pitch moved the runner to second. Andrus, though, was caught leaning off second, and Wood threw behind him for the pick off.
Wood stayed in for the eighth and set down the Rangers in order for the only time in the game.
Granderson took Alexi Ogando over the right field wall for another insurance run in the eighth, and Mariano Rivera worked around a two-out single in the ninth to extend New York’s season at least one more game.
“We have not played extremely well in this series to say the least. There was determination that we were going to go out and play our game today,” Yankees manager Joe Girardi said. “This club has been through a lot of difficult losses and then bounced back. There’s so much character in that [locker] room.”
The Yankees are 9-3 against left-handed starters in the postseason over the last two years, with all three losses coming against Rangers ace Cliff Lee, whom they will face if the series goes to a Game 7…Berkman took over at first base and went 0-for-2 with a walk, a run scored and an RBI…Sabathia gave up five runs and six hits in just four innings in the series opener but did not get a decision. He improved to 7-4 lifetime in 13 postseason starts…The Rangers have homered and doubled in each of their 10 games this postseason, tying the 2006 Tigers’ record for one playoffs…Texas had two steals, upping its total this series to nine…Hamilton was voted as the 2010 Sporting News Major League Baseball Player of the Year on Wednesday…Michael Kirkman tossed two scoreless innings of relief for Texas…Andrus went 3-for-5 and has a hit in each of Texas’ postseason games this year…There was no immediate word on the injury to Cruz, who also has a hit in all 10 of the Rangers’ games thus far…Of the previous 17 times a team has been down three games to one in the ALCS, four have advanced to the World Series.