Yankees-Rangers Preview

Facing the Texas Rangers in the postseason continues to bring

out the best in the New York Yankees.

After rallying to win Game 1, the Yankees look to take a 2-0

lead in the AL championship series back to the Bronx with an 11th

straight postseason victory over the Rangers on Saturday.

Texas is 0-7 all-time at home in the postseason. The Yankees are

responsible for five of those defeats, including a stunning 6-5 win

Friday.

“At some point, we’ll finally get a win,” Rangers manager Ron

Washington said.

That might not come against New York, which has won 10 straight

playoff games against Texas since losing 6-2 in Game 1 of the 1996

AL division series.

Trailing 5-0 Friday, New York scored a run in the seventh inning

and five in the eighth for its fifth consecutive postseason

victory. Former Ranger Alex Rodriguez had a two-run single in the

eighth. Robinson Cano followed with a game-tying single before

Marcus Thames’ broken-bat hit gave the Yankees the lead.

“We just trust what we got,” said Cano, who went 3 for 4 with a

homer.

The Yankees are 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.

New York had 48 comeback wins during the regular season, and has

three in four playoff games.

“We have a veteran clubhouse that knows how to react to whatever

situation we are in,” manager Joe Girardi said. “We look forward to

Game 2.”

After totaling career highs with 29 homers and 109 RBIs this

season, Cano is 7 for 16 in the playoffs.

Rodriguez, who is still getting paid by the Rangers after

waiving his no-trade clause in 2004 to join the Yankees, hit .360

with eight RBIs against his former team in the regular season.

Josh Hamilton’s three-run, first-inning home run gave the

Rangers a 3-0 lead in their first-ever ALCS contest. Despite the

homer, Hamilton is 3 for 22 in six postseason games.

The three runs in the first were one more than Texas totaled in

the 1998 and 1999 division series against New York.

Though Friday’s loss certainly stings, Washington has faith his

team can rebound.

“They usually recover when things go bad,” he said. “We’ll come

back and fight just as hard. Hopefully we’ll get different

results.”

Rangers third baseman Michael Young had a two-run double Friday,

but is 5 for 25 in the postseason. He is 0 for 7 against scheduled

Game 2 starter Phil Hughes, who has not allowed a run while winning

his only two previous starts at Texas.

The right-hander didn’t allow a hit in 6 1-3 innings before

suffering a rib injury at Texas in his second career start May 1,

2007. He gave up three hits and struck out six in eight innings of

an 11-1 win on May 25, 2009 in Arlington.

“I feel pretty comfortable here,” Hughes said. “I’m not sure

what it is, the ballpark, or what it is. I’m looking forward to it,

and excited for the challenge.”

Hughes also is aware that facing the potent Rangers lineup in

the postseason has the potential to present a bigger challenge than

before.

“They have a lot of power and they are aggressive on the base

paths and you want to minimize that,” Hughes said. “For me, I just

try to execute my game plan and attack the zone early and throw

strikes.”

Hughes did that in his first postseason start, allowing four

hits and striking out six in seven scoreless innings of New York’s

6-1 ALDS clincher against Minnesota last Saturday.

Texas’ Colby Lewis looks to build on a strong effort from his

first postseason appearance when he takes the ball Saturday.

The right-hander, who spent the past two seasons pitching in

Japan, gave up two hits in five scoreless innings of a 6-3 loss to

Tampa Bay in Game 3 of the ALDS last Saturday.

“Get the first one out of the way and then we’re in the ALCS and

get another opportunity,” Lewis said. “Now I know what to expect my

second start.”

The Yankees, however, might not know what to expect from Lewis,

who has not faced them since his first stint with Texas in 2003. He

is 0-2 with a 6.89 ERA in three starts versus New York.

“You’re going to have to pick and choose your spots just like

any other start to be a little more aggressive at other times and

mainly just get ahead of guys and try to get them out,” Lewis said

of the Yankees’ lineup.

New York’s Mariano Rivera worked the ninth Friday for his 42nd

career postseason save, extending his major league record. 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.