Texas Rangers: Brian Gordon
NEW YORK -- Both teams squandered several chances and left a combined 23 men on base, but the Yankees got the hit they needed in the 12th for the extra-inning win and the sweep. The Rangers have lost 8 of 10 and are 1-6 on this road trip. Some quick thoughts (more to come later from the clubhouse):
* After having the winning run on base in all three extra innings, the Yankees got the win in the 12th off Michael Kirkman. Brett Gardner got a single to right to score Curtis Granderson for the win. Garnder got to hit after Robinson Cano was hit by an 0-2 pitch. Manager Ron Washington argued that it might have hit the knob of the bat, but to no avail.
* C.J. Wilson was a workhorse on Thursday, throwing a career-high 129 pitches (81 strikes) in eight innings. He allowed two runs on eight hits with 10 strikeouts and three walks and got out of various levels of trouble because he put the leadoff batter on base in four of those innings. Wilson induced plenty of ground balls and even managed to convince his manager to leave him in the game. Ron Washington went to the mound with two outs in the eighth and one on and Wilson persuaded him to walk back to the dugout without making a pitching change, a rarity for the manager. (I'll point out that he was open to Wilson's convincing by not making a change before he stepped on the mound.)
* Darren Oliver had a gritty ninth inning. He gave up a single and then had to intentionally walk pinch-hitter Alex Rodriguez to get to Nick Swisher with one out. But Oliver walked Swisher to loaded the bases with one out. He went 3-2 on Curtis Granderson and threw a pitch that was well outside of the zone, but Granderson chased it to strike out. Oliver then got Mark Teixeira to ground out.
* Kirkman got out of the 10th on a nice defensive play by Adrian Beltre at third. A liner by Jorge Posada went off Beltre's glove and straight up into the air. Beltre caught it and then threw to first base to get Jones on a double play.
* Wilson did fall behind hitters early, pushing up his pitch count. He threw first-pitch balls to six of the first nine batters he faced as the Yankees stayed patient and made him work. Alexi Ogando and Derek Holland had the same problem at Yankee Stadium the past few days. Wilson was better about first-pitch strikes the second time through the order.
* With the Rangers up 2-1, Wilson walked Robinson Cano to start the sixth. That hurt. With one out, Jorge Posada, who was 3-for-36 against left-handed pitchers this season, belted a double to center to tie the score. It was his first extra-base hit against a lefty this season.
* Wilson was able to bear down and get out of a big jam in the third. He hit Nick Swisher with a first-pitch breaking ball and gave up a single to Curtis Granderson to start the inning. Mark Teixeira's ground ball to third moved both runners up with one out. Wilson then got Robinson Cano and Andruw Jones on back-to-back strikeouts. He changed speeds well and painted both corners to both hitters.
* The Rangers' approach to Brian Gordon early on Thursday was to swing early in the count, figuring the newly-signed Yankee would want to throw fastball strikes. The Rangers did get on base on two hits in the second, but couldn't score. And the early swings allowed Gordon to pitch ahead in the count. Texas altered things midway through the game, trying to get more patient.
* Taylor Teagarden showed off his arm with a terrific throw to second base to get Curtis Granderson attempting to steal. Teagarden jumped up and threw a bullet to end the inning. He also had an opposite-field single in the sixth.
* Gordon, the outfielder-turned-pitcher who started for the Yankees, gave up two runs on seven hits in 5 1/3 innings in a no-decision. He got a huge hand from the Yankee Stadium crowd. He also made Rangers bench coach Jackie Moore a popular interview with the New York media. Moore coached Gordon in the minors when he switched from outfield to pitcher.
* Ian Kinsler appears to be finding his swing. And that would be a huge boost for the offense. Kinsler was 1-for-5 with an RBI double in the fifth to give the Rangers the lead. That performance came after he was 2-for-3 with a homer, two walks and two runs scored on Wednesday. For a guy who wasn't hitting at all on the road, it's progress.
* The Rangers wasted a great chance to score more in the fifth. They scored two, but the Yankees intentionally walked Josh Hamilton to get to Michael Young in the fifth. Young came into the game with 10 ground ball double plays, three behind the AL leader (Torii Hunter). But he's a hitting machine at Yankee Stadium. Young popped up to second. It appeared the Yankees would get out of the inning by allowing just one run, but Gordon hit Adrian Beltre on an 0-2 slow curve to put the Rangers up.
* Hamilton was intentionally walked for the second time in the seventh (he was intentionally walked five times in the ALCS). This time, Young hit the first pitch he saw and chopped it to third for an easy double play. That was his 11th of the season. It killed the Rangers' attempt to take the lead.
* Young's single in the fourth extended his hitting streak to 18 career games at (new) Yankee Stadium and 21 games dating back to the old stadium. He has an 18-game hitting streak in the regular season at the two parks, tied for the third-longest by any opponent against the Yankees at their home park. George Burns, Al Kaline and Wally Joyner also had 18-game hitting streaks.
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