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ALCS: Rangers halt Yankees momentum, even series at 1-1

Big League Stew

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The rumors that the Texas Rangers would close up shop and call it a season after Friday night's Game 1 disappointment appear to have been greatly exaggerated.

Less than 24 hours after allowing the New York Yankees to make the biggest comeback in franchise history, the Rangers showed no signs of a hangover in Saturday's Game 2. Their hitters roughed up a New York starter (Phil Hughes(notes)) for the second straight day and the bullpen actually got the job done this time after being handed the game by starter Colby Lewis(notes) in the sixth inning.

End result: A 7-2 victory that tied the series at a game apiece, gave the Rangers the first home playoff win in franchise history and made amends with a Texas fanbase that was battling with their shaken faith.

Saturday's contest at Rangers Ballpark lasted almost four hours and actually could have been a bigger blowout or a lot closer game. The Rangers stranded 17 runners on the basepaths — including a whopping eight by DH Vladimir Guerrero(notes) — but the Yankees abandoned 19 of their own. Credit a rebounding Rangers bullpen for not letting things get out of hand this time.

The series now goes back to New York for Monday's Game 3 and the Rangers have to be feeling good about their chances to take control of the series. Ace Cliff Lee(notes) faces Andy Pettitte(notes) at Yankee Stadium and there's a chance they could force the Yanks to use CC Sabathia(notes) in Game 4 if the Rangers are victorious on Monday.

In fact, the New York media is already starting in on Joe Girardi about it.

What a difference holding onto a lead can make.

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