Final

Playoff Series: Game 4 of 6

Texas won 4-2

Game 1: Friday, October 15
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Game 2: Saturday, October 16
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Game 3: Monday, October 18
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Game 4: Tuesday, October 19
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Game 5: Wednesday, October 20
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Game 6: Friday, October 22
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8:07 PM ET, October 19, 2010

Yankee Stadium, New York, New York 

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W: D. Holland (1-0)

L: A. Burnett (0-1)

S: D. Oliver (1)

Bengie Molina's 3-run shot leads homer-happy Rangers to 3-1 ALCS lead

Associated Press

NEW YORK -- Big home runs. Shutdown relief pitching. Blowout wins.

The American League Championship Series has turned into the one-sided affair many expected -- except it's the Texas Rangers who are one win from the World Series, not the New York Yankees.

Bengie Molina hit a go-ahead, three-run homer off A.J. Burnett in the sixth inning, Josh Hamilton added a pair of solo drives to give him four in four games and the Rangers battered the Yankees 10-3 Tuesday night for a 3-1 ALCS lead.

"It's not bad for a fat kid that everyone makes fun of when he runs," Molina said.

On a night of contested home runs, a hamstring injury that finished Mark Teixeira for the postseason and more late walks by the Rangers, the AL West champions brought a little bit of the Wild West with them.

A win Wednesday in Game 5 will put them into baseball's showcase for the first time -- in the 50th season of a franchise that started play as the expansion Washington Senators in 1961.

"We came here, we are supposed to lose," a beaming Molina said.

Fans started streaming out of Yankee Stadium in the late innings, while Rangers president and part-owner Nolan Ryan smiled in his seat.

"They all talk about home-field advantage," said Derek Holland, who got the win with 3 2/3 innings of scoreless one-hit relief. "We want to be able to show that there's no such thing."

The big ballpark was as quiet as a minor league field for the second straight ninth inning. Texas is 5-0 on the road in the playoffs, and the Yankees are on the verge of losing three straight postseason home games in a single series for the first time since 1942.

"It's been a little unusual," Texas third baseman Michael Young said. "I think we look at Yankee Stadium as just a fun place to play. This is the ultimate in baseball."

Game 5 will have a rematch of starters from the opener, with the Yankees' CC Sabathia against C.J. Wilson. Since the LCS went to a best-of-seven format, 24 of the 30 previous teams to take 3-1 series leads have won pennants.

"Tomorrow's game is the most important game in the history of this franchise," Wilson said.

Instead of trying to avoid Cliff Lee, the Yankees can only hope to force a Game 7 and face him again.

"We have bounced back many times in this year," Yankees manager Joe Girardi said. "Win, and then you go from there."

Nelson Cruz hit the last of Texas' four homers, a two-run drive in the ninth that gave the Rangers seven homers in the series and 15 in the postseason. Hamilton's homers in the seventh against Boone Logan and the ninth off Sergio Mitre made him 5-for-15 in the series and gave him seven RBIs. Angry Yankees fans booed over and over.

"We're going to keep focused. We haven't done anything yet," Cruz said.

It was a costly loss for the defending World Series champion Yankees. Teixeira limped off in the fifth inning with a strained right hamstring and said he was done for the year. Girardi said the team likely will replace the All-Star first baseman on the roster with infielder Eduardo Nunez.

"You battle all year to get a chance to help your team out in the World Series, hopefully," Teixeira said. "It's not going to happen this year."

Aiming for a Series matchup against San Francisco or Philadelphia, Texas has outscored the Yankees 30-11, outhit them 43-26 and would have swept if not for wasting a five-run lead in the opener.

While Texas is hitting .307, New York is limping at .198, including .154 (6-for-39) with runners in scoring position. Alex Rodriguez has been a bust against his former team, going 2-for-15 (.133) with two RBIs.

Molina's two-out homer came after an intentional walk to David Murphy and put Texas ahead 5-3. Molina circled the bases and pounded a fist against his chest -- and left Burnett clasping his hands behind his head.

"He was throwing the ball good and we decided to leave him in," Girardi said. "We liked the matchup, and it didn't work out."

Robinson Cano hit a second-inning home run off the top of the right-field wall -- his third of the series -- that left Cruz screaming and pointing after a fan touched his glove as he tried to make a leaping catch.

"From the angle I had, I was very confident that the ball was in the stands," right-field ump Jim Reynolds said.

Two batters later, Lance Berkman hit a high drive down the right-field line that was clearly foul but initially was ruled fair by Reynolds. After a video review -- just the third in postseason play since the process began two years ago -- umpires reversed the call and ruled it foul. The Yankees didn't even argue.

"In that situation, I wasn't confident of what I had, and we got together and we went to the replay," Reynolds said.

Holland entered when starter Tommy Hunter was knocked out in the fourth inning.

"I was definitely a little nervous coming into Yankee Stadium, especially in the playoffs, but at the same time you have to have fun with it," he said.

Holland, Darren O'Day and Clay Rapada walked the bases loaded in the eighth with Texas leading 7-3. After Darren Oliver's 0-1 pitch might have glanced off Nick Swisher's back foot -- there wasn't a call or argument -- Swisher flied to short center on the next pitch, dropping to 0-for-9 with runners in scoring position in the playoffs. Berkman followed with an inning-ending forceout, and Oliver finished for a save.

Burnett, who took the loss, made it through six innings, more than the Yankees could have expected.

The $82.5 million man had lost seven of his last eight regular-season decisions, was dropped from the rotation in the first round and hadn't pitched since Oct. 2. Since 1952, pitchers starting postseason games with 16 or more days of rest are now 0-11 with a 7.43 ERA in 15 starts, according to STATS LLC, and Burnett joined a list of losers that includes Roger Clemens, Catfish Hunter and Kerry Wood.

"Believe it or not, it's probably the best I've pitched in a long time," Burnett said. "It's one mistake. It was down and away. It just didn't go where i wanted it to go. I knew he hit it out."

And now the Rangers are on the verge of knocking out the Yankees.

Game notes


Michael Jordan was at the game. ... Derek Jeter scored his LCS-record 32nd run and set a postseason mark with his 30th double. ... The barrel of Brett Gardner's broken bat flew through the air and shattered a TBS camera.

Copyright by STATS LLC and The Associated Press

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Game Information

StadiumYankee Stadium, New York, NY
Attendance49,977 (101.6% full) - % is based on regular season capacity
Game Time4:05
Weather54 degrees, clear
Wind8 mph
UmpiresHome Plate - Angel Hernandez, First Base - Fieldin Culbreth, Second Base - Brian Gorman, Third Base - Gerry Davis

Research Notes

Down 3-1, the Yankees are lucky to even be alive. If you throw out the 8th inning of Game 1 in which the Yankees came back, they have scored just 6 runs while hitting .172 with a staff ERA of 7.71. Conversely, the Rangers have scored 30 runs, are hitting well over .312 with 17 extra base hits, while their pitching staff has an ERA of 1.54.
  [+]
This is the 4th time the Yankees have allowed MORE than 10 hits in at least 3 straight postseason games in a single postseason. In 2004 they had two 3-game streaks, and in 2002 they had a 4-game streak.
The Yankees 10 runs allowed to the Rangers was tied for the 5th-most allowed at home in a postseason game in team history.
  [+]
Bengie Molina (TEX): 3-4, 2 R, HR, 3 RBI Molina had the big hit in the Rangers' Game 4 win, turning a 3-2 deficit into a 5-3 lead with a 3-run homer off A.J. Burnett. Molina's dinger came off a fastball and he also added a single against a heater. During the regular season, Molina hit a pedestrian .257 against fastballs - with only 1 of his 5 home runs. The homer came against a "middle/in" pitch. His .314 average on such pitches was his 3rd-best location during the 2010 campaign, trailing only "middle/up" (.370) and "middle/middle" (.348). Again, 1 of his 5 dingers came against "middle/in" offerings.
How Rangers reliever Derek Holland restored order against the Yankees: - Fastball. On Tuesday, the Yankees only mustered 1 hit in 11 at-bats against Holland. Against the heater, the Yanks were 0-6. During the regular season, opponents hit .315 against Holland's fastball. - Pumped up. Holland's average pitch was 90.7 mph Tuesday night. In the regular season, his average pitch was 88 mph. This was helped by a couple of factors: 39 of his 55 pitches were fastballs and Holland was a starter in 10 of his 14 regular-season appearances, making it necessary for him to utilize a greater variety of offerings. - Swing and a miss. Yankees hitters swung at 23 of Holland's pitches and missed 8. That 34.8 miss percentage far exceeded his regular-season percentage (20.6).
Darren Oliver: First 5+ out save vs Yankees in a postseason game since Jose Mesa, 1997 Indians. He's the third pitcher age 40+ to earn a postseason save of 5+ outs, the last being Dennis Eckersley (1996 Cardinals) and the other being Dick Hall (1970 Orioles)
If Mark Teixeira is done for the series He's 0-14 in the series. It would mark the worst 0-for by a Yankee in any postseason series, surpassing the 0-12 by Joe Collins in the 1952 World Series.
A.J. Burnett allowed at least 5 ER for the 3rd time in his postseason career (all with Yankees). He ties David Cone for the 3rd-most such starts in Yankee history. Only Andy Pettitte (6) and Whitey Ford (4) have more. Pettitte has made 38 career postseason starts with the Yankees, Ford made 22 starts and Cone made 12 starts. Burnett has made 6 starts for the Yankees.
Bengie Molina: 4th career postseason HR vs Yankees (1st 3 came in Game 1, 2 and 3 of 2005 ALDS) For reference, that's tied for 9th-most by anyone against the Yankees in postseason (Duke Snider leads with 10). It's also 1 shy of the most by a catcher against the Yankees in postseason play. Jason Varitek leads with 5. Steve Yeager and Roy Campanella each have four.
Derek Jeter hit his 30th postseason double, passing Bernie Williams for the most in postseason history.
From Elias: In the 3rd inning, A.J. Burnett threw a wild pitch and then hit Bengie Molina in the same at-bat. The last pitcher in the postseason to hit a batter after throwing a wild pitch with that same batter at the plate was Joba Chamberlain in Game 2 of the 2007 ALDS. Chamberlain hit Victor Martinez with a pitch, after throwing a wild pitch earlier in the at-bat.
Robinson Cano hits his 5th career postseason HR, which ties Billy Martin for the most by a Yankee second baseman in the postseason

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