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Saturday, October 30, 2010
Rapid Reax: Lewis, Moreland key win

By Richard Durrett

ARLINGTON, Texas -- The Texas Rangers had great starting pitching from Colby Lewis and some long balls from Mitch Moreland and Josh Hamilton to earn a 4-2 victory over the San Francisco Giants in Game 3 of the World Series. The Giants now lead the series, 2-1, but the home team has yet to lose in this edition of the Fall Classic.

* Colby Lewis is developing a reputation as a clutch playoff performer. He was sensational again on Saturday, just like his last start against the Yankees in Game 6 of the ALCS. Lewis had both his curve and slider going, which makes him particularly dangerous. He pitched 7 2/3 innings, critical for a Rangers bullpen that struggled in Games 1 and 2 in San Francisco. His night ended oddly as he hit Aubrey Huff in the foot on an 0-2 pitch with two outs. Lewis gave up two runs on five hits. Both runs scored on homers.

Colby Lewis
Colby Lewis continued to pound the strike zone, throwing first-pitch strikes to 25 of the 30 batters he faced.
* When he's had success in these playoffs, it's because he throws first-pitch strikes. He did that again on Saturday, throwing first-pitch strikes to 25 of the 30 batters he faced. Lewis, who was four strikeouts shy of 200 in 2010, had six Ks in Game 3. He had seven days' rest and just threw strikes. As manager Ron Washington preaches, Lewis "pounded the zone."

* Lewis made two mistakes, but did it with no one on base. He threw fastballs too close to the middle of the plate against Cody Ross (in the seventh) and Andres Torres (in the eighth) and both hit solo homers. Ross continues his torrid postseason with five homers now. It was Torres' first homer of the postseason.

* Mitch Moreland had perhaps the best at-bat of the postseason for the Rangers. He fouled off four 2-2 pitches -- all of them off-speed (two sliders and two changeups) -- in the second inning and then got a fastball in the low part of the strike zone and crushed it to right field to give the Rangers a 3-0 lead. Nelson Cruz, who had a double to lead off the inning, along with Bengie Molina, who walked, scored in front of Moreland.

* It sure appeared that Sanchez was pitching around Molina to get to Moreland in the second. In the regular season, lefties hit just .181 against Sanchez with just five homers in 138 at-bats. And Moreland hit just .200 in the regular season against lefties with no homers. In the postseason, he was 1-for-8 vs. lefties before the homer. But that homer also put him at 7-for-15 at home in the playoffs. It was his first homer against a lefty this season and came at a great time for the Rangers.

* Vladimir Guerrero gave a changeup from Sanchez a ride down the left field line, but it sure didn't carry as well as it looked like it might off the bat. Pat Burrell, who was playing deep and misjudged a Michael Young fly ball earlier in the inning, made a great play as he ran to the left field corner to make the catch against the wall to end the inning and keep the game scoreless.

* Sanchez didn't have his command, not unlike Game 6 of the NLCS. At times, the Rangers got too aggressive on first-pitch swings, but when the stayed patient, good things happened. Sanchez lasted just 4 2/3 innings and gave up four runs on six hits.

* The best illustration of Sanchez's command issues -- and he led MLB in walks this season, by the way -- was walking Molina twice and Guerrero once. Molina walked just 24 times for both San Francisco and Texas and Guerrero walked 35 times in 2010. Both are free swingers, but understood that Sanchez sometimes has trouble throwing strikes.

* Josh Hamilton was 1-for-10 in the World Series with no RBIs prior to his fifth-inning at-bat. But Hamilton turned on a 2-1 slider and hit it to the first row of the home run porch in right field. It was a solo shot, but it might just be the swing Hamilton needs to get going. He hit just .111 in the ALDS, but was the ALCS MVP with a .350 average and four homers. The Rangers sure could use the Hamilton that blistered the Yankees. The homer put Texas up 4-0.

* Darren O'Day came in with one on and two outs in the eighth inning and after getting ahead in the count 0-2 on Buster Posey, the count went to 3-2 before Posey hit a slider weakly to short to end the frame and keep the score 4-2. O'Day gave up a home run in Game 1 and another run in the bullpen meltdown in Game 2. So it was a good bounce back for him.

* Neftali Feliz showed no rust. He was firing 98 mph fastballs and get every hitter he faced, including two of them on strikeouts. It's his first save of the postseason. He's the second-youngest player with a save in the World Series (Bob Welsh in 1979 was the youngest). Before Feliz, Nolan Ryan was the second-youngest player with a World Series save, doing so with the Miracle Mets in Game 3 of the 1969 Series.

Texas Rangers celebrate
The Rangers clawed their way back into the World Series, touching off a celebration for the crowd of 52,419 -- an all-time record at Rangers Ballpark in Arlington.
* Cruz's double in the second inning was his seventh of the postseason, tying the all-time playoff record set by three players: Hideki Matsui (NYY, 2004), Mike Lowell (Boston, 2007) and Jayson Werth (Philadelphia, 2008).

* It was the largest crowd ever in the history of Rangers Ballpark in Arlington -- 52,419 -- and most of them were in their seats in plenty of time for the pregame introductions. They waved white towels and many wore antlers and had foam claws. It was a lively crowd that was clearly excited to be at the first World Series game in Arlington history.

* Former president (and Rangers general managing partner) George W. Bush was at the game with Laura Bush. He will throw out the ceremonial first pitch in Game 4 and will be joined at the game by his father, former president George H.W. Bush.

* Former Rangers catcher Pudge Rodriguez caught the ceremonial first pitch from Rangers president Nolan Ryan, who certainly had some velocity on it, with a full leg kick right in front of the rubber. The pitch was a little low and outside, but Rodriguez made a nice scoop on it. The sellout crowd, as you can imagine, went nuts. Interestingly, Ryan threw out the first pitch before Game 1 of the ALCS with Jim Sundberg behind the plate and didn't tell Sundberg he was going to really throw it in there. Sundberg was so surprised, he hustled into a crouch and ripped his pants. "They were unrepairable," Sundberg said when asked about it prior to Game 3.