Rangers, Yankees take 2-0 lead in ALDS; Giants win NLDS-opener
ST. PETERSBURG, Florida / MINNEAPOLIS, Minnesota / SAN FRANCISCO, California (USA) -
The Texas Rangers and New York Yankees both won their second game to take a 2-0 lead in the American League Division Series.
The Rangers won 6-0 vs. the Tampa Bay Rays and the Yankees beat the Minnesota Twins, 5-2.
In both games, there was a disputable umpiring call, resulting in two Managers being ejected.
There were also two disputable calls in the first games of the AL Division Series on Wednesday.
Later in the evening, the San Francisco Giants nipped the Atlanta Braves 1-0 in the opening game of their National League Division Series.
Tampa Bay Rays vs. Texas Rangers, 0-6 (game 2, ALDS)
At St. Petersburg, the Texas Rangers took a 2-0 lead in their best-of-five ALDS, winning 6-0 vs. the Tampa Bay Rays, who got only two basehits. The series now moves to Arlington (Texas) for the next two games. On Saturday, Game 3 will be played and if need, Game 4, will follow on Sunday.
Texas opened the score in the third inning. Lead-off hitter Matt Treanor was by a pitch by starter James Shields, then advanced on a grounder by Julio Borbon and a single by Elvis Andrus. Treanor then scored when Shields made a throwing error during a pick-off attempt at first base.
The second run was added in the fourth inning when Ian Kinsler homered with two outs.
The Rangers then decided the game with a 4-run rally in the fifth inning, which had a controversial umpiring decision.
Matt Treanor again led off with a hit by pitch, but then was forced out on second base on a bunt by Julio Borbon. Next, Elvis Andrus singled to put runners on first and second base. It meant the end for starter James Shields. He was relieved by Chad Qualls, who faced Michael Young. With a 2-2 count, Young fouled off a pitch. On the next delivery by Qualls, Young checked his swing, but appeared to be unsuccesfull (as TV-replays showed). However, when asked to check the call, 1B Umpire Jerry Meals judged it was 'no swing', so the count ran to 3-2, while it should have been the third strike and second out in the inning. The ruling was costly, as on the next pitch, Young hit a 3-run homerun to make it 5-0 in favor of the Rangers.
The call and the result of the following pitch angered Tampa Bay-Manager Joe Maddon, who argued with Home Plate Umpire Jim Wolf and was ejected. In Game 1, there was another call that went against the Rays and was disputed when Carlos Peña appeared to be hit by a pitch with the bases loaded, but that was ruled a foull ball and Peña struckout. And as the next batter also struckout, the bases were left loaded without scoring.
After Maddon was ejected today, the inning wasn't over yet, as next hitter Josh Hamilton singled, but was forced on a grounder by Vladimir Guerrero, who then advanced to third base on a single by Nelson Cruz and scored when Ian Kinsler also singled. It was the fourth hit allowed by Qualls, who was relieved by Randy Choate. A flyout then finally ended the at bat, but the Rangers had taken a 6-0 lead.
Tampa Bay hit only two basehits, both off starter C.J. Wilson, who struckout seven in 6 1/3 inning he pitched.
Minnesota Twins vs. New York Yankees, 2-5 (game 2, ALDS)
At Minneapolis, the New York Yankees also won their second game in their series against the Minnesota Twins. After trailing briefly, the Yankees got ahead, but then the Twins tied the score. Just as in Game 1, the Yankees struck in the seventh inning and went on to win 5-2. The Series now moves to New York, where the next game will be played on Saturday.
After both teams were retired in order in the first inning, both got on the bases in the next at bat. In the top of the second, Nick Swisher doubled for the Yankees with two outs, but stranded there. In the home of the second, Minnesota opened the score. Delmon Young and Jim Thome led off with singles, then both advanced on a grounder by Michael Cuddyer. Yankee-starter Andy Pettitte then walked Jason Kubel to load the bases. Moments later, Young scored the first run on a sacrifice fly by Danny Valencia, but two runners would be left behind as next hitter J.J. Hardy lined out to second baseman Robinson Cano.
In the third inning, both teams were retired in order again, but then the Yankees struck in the top of the fourth inning.
Curtis Granderson led off with a double and advanced on a single by Mark Teixeira, then scored the tying run on a sac-fly by Alex Rodriguez. The Yankees then got runners on first and third when Robinson Cano singled, but pitcher Carl Pavano got out of the inning when Nick Swisher grounded into an 1-6-3 double play.
The Yankees got on top in the fifth inning when Lance Berkman homered with one out. Berkman came to the Yankees on July 31 in a trade with the Houston Astros, where he had played his entire big league-career, being 11 1/2 seasons, including in 85 games this year. While being with the Astros, he hit 326 homeruns and in his 37 games with the Yankees in August and September, he hit only one. So tonight was his second homerun in a Yankee-uniform and it came at a good moment.
Andy Pettitte was in charge of the game from the second inning. Starting with the sacrifice fly that accounted for the second out in the second inning, Pettitte retired 12 batters in a row, but then the Twins got back on the board. With one out in the sixth inning, Orlando Hudson homered to deep leftfield to tie the score again. A grounder followed, but then Delmon Young tripled. Pettitte didn't gave up an additional run, as he fielded a comeback grounder by next hitter Jim Thome himself to end the inning.
In the seventh inning, the Yankees re-took the lead, but just as in the Tampa Bay vs. Texas game earlier today, a disputable call went ahead of that. First, Jorge Posada led off with a walk. Next batter Lance Berkman then got a 1 ball-2 strike count when pitcher Carl Pavano threw a sinker that was close enough to call, but wasn't called by Home Plate Umpire Hunter Wendelstedt and could have been a strikeout. Berkman then doubled on the next delivery by Pavano, enabling Posada to score the go-ahead run. Minnesota-Manager Ron Gardenhire then went out to talk to Pavano, just as Tampa Bay-Manager Joe Maddon did with his pitcher after he gave up a 3-run homerun after a missed checked swing. And just as Maddon, Gardenhire also got into an argument with the Home Plate Umpire and was ejected. The Yankees then broke open the game. Berkman advanced to third base on a bunt-single by Brett Gardner and Derek Jeter followed with an RBI-single to make it 4-2. Still with no outs and runners on first and second, Pavano was relieved by José Mijares. The runners advanced on a sacrifice bunt by Curtis Granderson, then the bases were loaded by walking Mark Teixeira intentionally. Jon Rauch became the new pitcher for the Twins and got two big outs when he struckout Alex Rodriguez and got Robinson Cano to pop-up.
In the eighth inning, Kerry Wood took over the pitching for Andy Pettitte and retired the side.
The Yankees added an insurance run in the ninth inning.
Brett Gardner led off with a single, moved on a grounder and stole third base, then scored on the third basehit in the game by Curtis Granderson.
Next, Mark Teixeira drove the ball into deep leftfield, but there Delmon Young made the catch just in front of the fence.
In the ninth inning, closer Mariano Rivera took over for the Yankees, gave up a lead-off single to Joe Mauer, but then saw next hitter Delmon Young hit into a double play.
The game then ended when next hitter Jim Thome flied out.
San Francisco Giants vs. Atlanta Braves, 1-0 (game one, NLDS)
At San Francisco, the San Francisco Giants took an 1-0 lead in the fourth inning vs. the Atlanta Braves and that was enough to win the opening game in their National League Division Series.
Giants-pitcher Tim Lincecum dominated, struckout a record 14 batters and gave up only two hits.
Omar Infante led off the game with a double for the Braves off San Francisco-starter Tim Lincecum, but would strand at second base, as a flyout and two strikeouts followed. For the Giants, Andres Torres led off with a single, but then Freddy Sanchez grounded into a double play. Aubrey Huff followed with a walk, but was forced out to end the first inning.
In the top of the second inning, Lincecum struckout the side, but the Giants also were retired in order. Lincecum got three outs again in the top of the third inning, while the Giants got runners on first and third base with one out. Cody Ross led off with a walk, then advanced on a sac-bunt by Tim Lincecum. Next, Andres Torres reached on an error to put runners on the corners. Moments later, Ross was eliminated in a rundown between third and home on a grounder by Freddy Sanchez. While the rundown was completed, the Giants got runners on second and third, but the two were left behind, as a strikeout followed.
In the fourth inning, the Giants opened the score. Buster Posey led off with a single. Next, Pat Burrell struckout, but on the third strike, Posey stole second base and was ruled safe on a close play. After next hitter Juan Uribe also struckout, Pablo Sandoval was walked intentionally to set up a force play, but then Cody Ross singled to bring in Posey and give the Giants the lead.
In the fifth, both teams were retired in order, then Lincecum added two strikeouts in the sixth. In the Giants-sixth, Buster Posey led off with a double and advanced on an outfield-error to third base, but would strand there, as a strikeout and double play ended the inning.
In the seventh, Lincecum started with his tenth strikeout, but then gave up a double to Brian McCann, which was only the second basehit for Atlanta. The Braves-catcher would be left behind as a groundout and flyout followed.
In the next at bat, Linecum struckout two more batters to lift his total to 12, which is a new Giants-record in a postseason.
In the ninth, Lincecum returned to the mound to complete the game.
Lincecum, who made his postseason-debut, started with a groundout by Omar Infante, then struckout Jason Heyward and Derrek Lee to finish the game.