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ALCS G3: Cliff Lee dominates Yankees; Rangers win 8-0

Shutting out the Yankees at home in the playoffs. Who would have thunk it?
For a game that had a final score of 8-0, it seemed really weird to say it was a totally well pitched game, that was rather close the whole time. But it was. Other than a single pitch mistake, this was an absolute pitcher’s duel gem up until the ninth inning.
I think we all expected a pretty good, pitching dominating game, but what we got was freakin’ fantastic. Here’s the overall starting pitcher lines:
Andy Pettite: 7IP, 110P, 5H, 2R, 0BB, 5K
Cliff Lee: 8IP, 122P, 2H, 0R, 1BB, 13K
The only mistake made by either of them was a ball to Josh Hamilton in the first. Which wasn’t much of a real mistake, actually. Josh reached out and batted at a ball and got it over the fence in right to give us a 2-0 lead in the first. Off the bat, it looked like a ball that would just get dumped into right field for a hit, but it went out for a home run. It was an early lead, one that made me feel better about facing Andy Pettite. But that’s about all the offense that happened for quite awhile.
Cliff Lee started mowing down batters, including a few against Derek Jeter that made Jeter look more stupid for swinging (rather hard) at a ball out of the strike zone. Not easy to make Jeter look silly. The first eleven Yankees were set down in order, seven of them by strikeout. Cliff Lee faced 27 batters total. Of those, only two of them got hits (Brett Gardner & Jorge Posada), and one walked. That’s it. Everyone else sat down. It’s pretty close to total domination. Even given his pitch count of 122 after eight innings, he was going to come back out, and most everyone who was online with me thought so too. But then the top of the ninth happened, and he sat down, as well he should.
What happened in the ninth? Well, it was PAYBACK FOR THE TOP OF THE EIGHTH IN GAME ONE! I mean wow. It was just like the other day. Runs and hits just kept coming. Here’s a tally of the top of the ninth:

  1. Double by Hamilton
  2. Single by Guerrero (lifted for Borbon as a pinch runner)
  3. Single by Cruz
  4. Strikeout by Kinsler (who if first wasn’t occupied, probably would have gotten there on a dropped strike three
  5. Murphy pinch hits for Franceour, and is intentionally walked.
  6. Molina immediately singles, screwing with that idea.
  7. Mitch Moreland singled.
  8. Elvis Andrus doubled
  9. Michael Young grounded to third
  10. Josh Hamilton flied to left

That was the top of the ninth, and it was beautiful. It was even sweeter that it was against the bloody stinkin’ NEW YORK YANKEES. Fan posturing aside, what did amaze me was the shots of people leaving the stadium when it got to 3-0. THREE – and you bail out? Come on. When it got to 6, and especially 8, I could understand it. But Yankee fans bailing after just three runs? That’s disgraceful. I’ve always thought and believed Yankee fans (though misguided) to be loyal to their team. They showed tonight that they were NOT. EPIC FAIL on the part of Yankee fans in the ninth.
What is interesting about this is that if we can jump on AJ Burnett tomorrow like most everyone except Joe Girardi things we will, we could go up 3-1. That raises the possibility of not NEEDING to pitch Cliff Lee again in the series, setting him up for Game 1 in the World Series against (I hope) Roy Halladay. Anyway, I’m getting a bit ahead of myself, but man was tonight fun for a Rangers fan. Enjoyed the heck out of it.
Major kudos to TBS for not bombing us with celebrity sightings. I know TBS takes a lot of grief over their baseball coverage (I mean Craig Sager NEEDS TO GO), but they have a lot of great camera angles which Fox Sports Southwest could learn a thing or three from. But tonight, if this was Fox, we’d have an inning’s worth of total combined time of celebrity sightings, with nice graphics on the bottom saying who they are, etc. Don’t care about that junk. Yes, we know they’re there. I’m sure Billy Crystal was there. Do we need to see that every game? NO! Thanks to TBS for not doing that. Would have liked to have seen the moron who ran on the field during the game though. Was probably just trying to disrupt Bengie Molina’s timing at the plate :)
I also did take my twitter notes again, but decided not to flood Twitter with these notes tonight (see Jake, I was doing you a favor). Here they are for my site. Looking for game 3 tomorrow night. Hopefully right after my Phillies go up 2-1 on the Giants.
Oh, P.S. Before the game started, MLB Network was interviewing Tom Grieve, and at the end, they asked him about the claw & antler stuff. They got Tom to do it on the air. Grabbed a few shots of that off the TV. Check ‘em out before my list of in game notes below.

  • Joe MacGrane from MLBN picks Rangers in G3. Dan Plesac picks Yankees. Barry Larkin picks Ramgers, & Al Leiter picks Yankees.
  • Tom Grieve just did the claw and antlers on mlbn. Hahahahahahahaha
  • Again, my wife comes through with proper themed food. Hot dogs, fries, and kraut. Bonus, the baby as dressed in Rangers stuff! :)
  • Awesome at bat in first by young. Fouling off a bunch off stuff before getting a 2 strike hit
  • Wheeee! Hamilton goes deep, on a ball that off the bat looked like a bloop to right field
  • Both Hamilton home runs in post season have come off of lefthanders. #Rangers
  • 25 pitches for Oettote in the first. 9 were to Young
  • 15 pitch 1-2-3 inning for Cliff Lee in the first.
  • Uneventful top of 2nd for Rangers
  • 15 pitch 1-2-3 inning for Cliff Lee in the second.
  • 58 pitches by Pettite through 2.2IP. 17 of them just to Michael Young!
  • Rangers appear to have gotten a break on the inning ending play in the third, Gardner looked safe to me. Especially on the replay.
  • 13 pitch 1-2-3 inning for Cliff Lee in the third.
  • Secondary angle shows Gardner missed the bag on the slide.
  • Uneventful top of 4th for Rangers
  • Lee just smoked Jeter in the bottom of the fourth. Just carved him up.
  • 11 pitch at bat ends in a k to Swisher. Nice perseverance by Lee.
  • Perfect game is gone. Walk to Teixeira in the fourth. First walk of postseason.
  • Moron on the field in the top of the fifth. I know why we don’t show that, but I want to see it!
  • Seem like an awful lot of broken bats tonight. More than usual.
  • Uneventful top of 5th for Rangers
  • I’ve got a hand it to TBS. If this was FOX, we would’ve had probably a full innings worth of celebrity sightings and point outs. We haven’t had any and it’s in the bottom of the fifth. Good job TBS!
  • Broken bat bloop single by Posada breaks up the no hitter.
  • Lees pitch count is creeping up a little. 80 after 5 innings. Not bad, but a minor concern.
  • Can we not go to Craig Sager? He takes the cake over Jim Knox barely, due to his horrible clothes. #Rangers #LesNessmanLives
  • DAMMIT! Off Josh’s bat, it looked like a home run, but it missed getting out by a couple of feet – was a noisy out to Swisher.
  • Pettite seems awfully concerned with Michael Young at first.
  • Bot 6: Gardner gets on with a leadoff single. First thought. “Uh-oh. Here it comes.”
  • Lee gassed Jeter on another strikeout after the steal by Gardner. Felt like an emotion swing.
  • Nice infield hit by Frenchie, just beating the throw by Arod.
  • That’s now 11k’s for Lee through 7. He’s had at least one in every inning.
  • The first 11 Yankees were set down by Cluff Lee, seven by strikeouts.
  • 13 k’s through 8 for Cliff Lee. He’s at 120 pitches, but looking like he’s smoking everyone. I bet he goes back out for 9th.
  • Hamiltons double in the 9th sounded like yet another broken bat.
  • Come on guys. We need the insurance big time.
  • Great ninth so far. Walk to Hamilton, then a two strike single by Guerrero, and an RBI by Cruz.
  • Yankees fans are leaving? WTF? It’s only 3-0
  • Pinch hit murph for Frenchy. Loads the bases. Girardi probably playing for the DP with an exceptionally slow runner, Molina.
  • Molina beats the strategy with a single to left. Scored just 1 though.
  • 6-0 now. The top of the 9th is Payback for the top of the 8th in game one, isn’t it?
  • 8-0 now. One out, man on third. Yankees plsying the infield in now is fairly comical.
  • Jeter k’s for the third time in the ninth, the 14th Rangers k overall.
  • Teixeira k’s to finish the game, going to 15 overall.