The Yankees will arrive deep in the heart of Texas with a pulse.
Faint, for sure, but enough of a beat that the ALCS stethoscope detected it. Can the pump tick long enough to get the Yankees to the World Series? That’s not the way to wager, but …
Thanks to their bats emerging from a deep funk, and without Mark Teixeira, the Yankees stayed alive Wednesday with a 7-2 victory over the Rangers in Game 5 that was witnessed by 49,832 at Yankee Stadium and included three homers.
The best-of-7 series led by the Rangers, 3-2, shifts to Arlington, Texas, on Friday night for Game 6.
Phil Hughes, awful in Game 2, will be opposed by right-hander Colby Lewis in a rematch of last Saturday, won by the Rangers.
If the Yankees even the deal, Cliff Lee awaits them in Game 7 Saturday when Andy Pettitte draws the talented lefty for the second time. Lee blanked the Yankees in eight Game 3 innings.
The Yankees started action hitting .198 (26-for-131) overall and .154 (6-for-39) with runners in scoring position in the first four games. And they were without Teixeira, whose season ended Tuesday night via a right hamstring injury running to first.
Curtis Granderson went 3-for-4 and homered in the eighth.
Three runs in the second and two in the third on back-to-back homers by Nick Swisher and Robinson Cano, who hit in Teixeira’s No. 3 slot, staked CC Sabathia to a 5-0 lead.
Sabathia was far from sharp, allowing 11 hits in six innings. But he gave up two runs (the Rangers were 1-for-8 with runners in scoring position) and induced double plays in the first and fifth innings.
He turned a 6-2 lead over to the bullpen that included Hughes if needed.
Sabathia, who was 11-2 at home during the regular season, didn’t have the comfort of a clean inning but stranded six. He gave up two runs, didn’t issue a walk and whiffed seven.
C.J. Wilson, who held the Yankees to three runs and six hits in seven Game 1 innings, gave up six runs (five earned), six hits and walked four (one intentional) in five innings.
Kerry Wood worked the seventh and executed a pickoff of Elvis Andrus at second base with Derek Jeter for the second out. Wood fanned Michael Young and Josh Hamilton for the first and third outs.
Wood returned at the beginning of the eighth with Mariano Rivera throwing in the bullpen and recorded a perfect frame that ended with third baseman Alex Rodriguez making a diving stop on Ian Kinsler’s grounder.
Armed with a five-run lead, Rivera recorded the final three outs.
A three-run second inning that was helped by Rangers right fielder Jeff Francouer’s throwing error staked the Yankees to a 3-0 lead and released some of the pressure that was building in the Stadium.
Jorge Posada and Granderson had RBI singles in the inning.
Sabathia didn’t give up a run until Matt Treanor opened the fifth with a towering homer to left field that cut the Yankees’ lead to 5-1.
Things got a little tight when Mitch Moreland and Michael Young singled, but Sabathia induced Hamilton to hit into an inning-ending 4-6-3 double play.
Andrus’ leadoff single in the first inning was erased when Sabathia fed Young a 6-4-3 double play ball. Hamilton singled, but Sabathia caught Vladimir Guerrero looking at a 1-2 pitch.
Kinsler singled with one out in the second but didn’t score. Andrus singled with one out in the third, went to second on a ground out, and stole second but was stranded when Hamilton’s soft liner found Jeter’s leather.
Nelson Cruz’s one-out double in the fourth was followed by Kinsler fanning and Francouer grounding to Jeter.
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