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Yankees Stage Eighth Inning Comeback, Beat Rangers 6-5

Dan Watson |
October 16, 2010 | 10:32 a.m. PDT

Staff Writer

New York Yankees vs. Texas Rangers

Game 1 recap: Before the fateful eighth inning, Texas — behind C.J. Wilson’s brilliant pitching — was cruising, looking as though it was going to turn back C.C. Sabathia and the Yanks in Game 1.

Four pitchers later, zero outs still showed on the scoreboard.

The Yankees furiously rallied for five runs in the eighth inning, stealing a 6-5 win from the Rangers in front of a stunned Rangers Ballpark crowd in Arlington.

Josh Hamilton’s homer to right scored three runs for the Rangers in the first inning, and Michael Young’s double tacked on another run in the fourth.

In the meantime, Wilson was nearly unhittable. On the other hand, Sabathia, the Yankees’ big ace, was forgettable at best. He went just four innings and failed to find the strike zone.

However, once the Yankees chased Wilson out of the game, the bats came alive against the Rangers’ suspect bullpen. Deter Jeter’s double scored the first of five runs in the eighth inning. A-Rod singled home two more before Cano plated the tying run.

It was Marcus Thames, the designated hitter, who turned out to be the hero with the game-winning single.

Key moment: It didn’t have the statistical effect felt by Jeter and A-Rod’s critical hits, but Brett Gardner’s headlong dive into first base was equally important. His hustle play, an infield single hit to the right side of the diamond, led off the Yankees' big eighth inning. He was called safe through a cloud of dust by the umpire. 

Game changer: It was Robinson Cano’s solo home run that finally tripped up Wilson in the seventh inning and got the Yanks on the board. The Rangers still led 5-1 at the start of the eighth, but the homer soon forced manager Ron Washington to go to the bullpen.

It imploded. Darren Oliver — yes he’s 40 and still fairly effective — pitched to two batters in the eighth. He gave up two runs without an out. Darren O’Day pitched to one. He too accomplished no outs, giving up another run before getting yanked. Clay Rapada also pitched to one batter, surrendering a hit.

Play of the game:
…comes courtesy of the backstop. Following Texas’ three-run first inning, the only thing that stopped the Rangers from piling on more runs was a fortunate bounce off the backstop. A wild pitch from Sabathia caromed straight to catcher Jorge Posada, who flipped the ball to Sabathia for the tag as Nelson Cruz tried to score.

Unsung hero: The Yankee relievers, who rescued Sabathia after a terrible start. Sabathia pitched in Friday’s game following a nine-day layoff. He allowed five runs in just four innings before giving way to the bullpen. That unit allowed just one hit and two walks over five scoreless innings. Joba Chamberlain, Dustin Moseley, Kerry Wood and Mariano Rivera did the work.

Quotes of game:

“During that inning, I was kind of incredulous. For all of us to have that kind of night, the same night, was an aberration.” – Darren O’Day on the disastrous eighth inning for the Rangers’ bullpen

“Like I said, I’m never really surprised. But I am thrilled sometimes.” – Joe Girardi, Yankees manager on the comeback win

To reach writer Daniel Watson, click here.

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