Preview: ALCS Game 5
Winning on the road this postseason has come easy for the Texas Rangers. Another road triumph today will send the Rangers to the World Series for the first time in franchise history, as the pennant-starved club squares off with the New York Yankees again in Game 5 of the American League Championship Series from the Bronx.
Texas won three road games to oust Tampa Bay from the ALDS and has won two in a row at Yankee Stadium, including Tuesday’s 10-3 pounding of the hosts, to grab a 3-1 advantage in the best-of-seven series. The two clubs split the first two games in Arlington and the series will shift back to the Lone Star State if New York pulls off a win Wednesday afternoon.
Rangers All-Star outfielder Josh Hamilton has turned Yankee Stadium into his own personal launch pad, much like he did a few years ago at the old historic park during a home run derby. Hamilton cracked a pair of homers in last night’s win to match an LCS record and became just the second Texas player with a multi-homer game in the playoffs. Juan Gonzalez did it back in 1996 against the Yankees in the ALDS. Hamilton is hitting .333 with four home runs, seven RBI, five walks and three stolen bases in this series.
“I feel like my swing is getting better,” said Hamilton, who entered the playoffs a bit rusty due to balky ribs. “I’m starting to barrel more balls up and squaring the ball better. I put a couple good swings on the ball tonight.”
Bengie Molina got into the long-ball act with a three-run homer in the sixth inning and Nelson Cruz delivered a two-run shot in the ninth after Hamilton led off the frame with his second blast of the night. Vladimir Guerrero had four hits and a run scored for the AL West-champion Rangers, who have outscored the Yankees by a 25-5 margin after losing Game 1 by a 6-5 score. Tommy Hunter started for the Rangers and did not receive a decision after he allowed three runs and five hits through 3 1/3 innings.
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