Rangers Ride Cliff Lee To First Ever Playoff Series Win
Tampa Bay Rays vs. Texas Rangers
Game 5 recap: Another dominant performance from Cliff Lee led the Rangers to a 5-1 victory over the Rays in the only Game 5 in the first round of the playoffs. The 3-2 postseason series win was the first in Rangers’ franchise history.
Lee had 11 strikeouts and no walks in his third postseason complete game. He had 21 strikeouts in his two starts against the Rays and is now 6-0 with a 1.44 ERA in seven postseason starts.
Tampa Bay’s David Price allowed three earned runs and had six strikeouts in six innings.
The Rays committed two errors in the game and the Rangers scored three of their five runs off of ground balls or throwing errors by the Rays’ defense.
Sean Rodriguez scored Tampa Bay’s only run off of a Ben Zobrist single to center field in the third inning.
Ian Kinsler hit a two-run home run in the ninth inning to seal the game.
Texas won all three games in Tampa Bay, while the Rays won their two games in Texas. It was the first time in MLB history that the road team won every game.
The Rangers play Game 1 of the ALCS against the Yankees on Friday. The two teams split the eight games they played during the regular season.
Key moment: Elvis Andrus scored the Rangers’ first run in the first inning from second base on an infield groundout. David Price covered first base and didn’t make a throw to home plate. The play got the Rangers on the board, set the tone for the game and led to a number of other defensive miscues by the Rays. It was also the first time the Rays had ever let a runner score from second on an infield out.
Game changer: Off of a double play ground ball in the sixth inning, David Price broke late to first base and missed the tag. Vladimir Guerrero scored from second base, giving Texas a 3-1 lead; the third run the Rays gave up off of fielding mistakes.
Play of the game: Nelson Cruz hit a wall-ball double with two outs in the fourth. With Ian Kinsler at the plate, Cruz stole third base, then scored after the throw to third went into the outfield to give Texas a 2-1 lead.
Unsung hero: Cruz went 3-4 with a double and two runs. His heads-up baserunning earned the Rangers an extra run in a tie game and put them ahead 2-1.
Quotes of the game: “I got this.” – Cliff Lee to Ron Washington when Washington asked if Lee wanted to be taken out of the game
“It's unbelievable. Something we're proud of because it's never happened in Texas before." – Josh Hamilton on Texas winning its first playoff series in team history
"You've got to knock the champ off the mountain, and we're excited about the opportunity.” – Michael Young on playing the Yankees in the ALCS
To reach writer Kamille Simmons, click here.
Sign up for Neon Tommy's weekly e-mail newsletter.