The Yankees Are Still Breathing

Early runs and CC Sabathia are enough to send the series back to Texas

By Josh Alper
|  Thursday, Oct 21, 2010  |  Updated 3:16 PM EDT
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<a title=Bruce Beck went inside the locker room after the Yankees staved off elimination, by beating the Texas Rangers in Game 5 of the American League Championship Series." />

Bruce Beck went inside the locker room after the Yankees staved off elimination, by beating the Texas Rangers in Game 5 of the American League Championship Series.

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There's an old cliche that moves across all sports that says you should act like you've been there before.

The Texas Rangers haven't been a win away from the World Series before and they acted like it in the hours before Wednesday's Game Five. They issued a press release inviting fans to meet the team's charter plane at Dallas-Fort Worth International Airport. It didn't expressly say that they should be ready to celebrate a victory over the Yankees, but what other reason would people hang around an airport in the middle of the night?

Karma can be a female dog sometimes and she's never angrier than when you count your chickens before they hatch. The Rangers didn't seal the deal on Wednesday and anyone hanging around DFW on Thursday morning has just as good a chance of running into CC Sabathia as they do Cliff Lee.

That's because Sabathia huffed, puffed and battled his way through six innings to help his team get a 7-2 victory in a game they could not afford to lose. Sabathia has had better games, but allowing just two runs on 11 hits is a testament to how hard he fought for the outs he absolutely had to have. The Rangers went 3-for-15 with runners in scoring position. None were bigger than the two he got in the top of the sixth while protecting a 6-1 lead.

The Rangers loaded the bases with one out, but Sabathia got Matt Treanor, who had homered earlier in the game, to ground out to Alex Rodriguez after a seven-pitch at-bat. He then struck out Mitch Moreland after an eight-pitch battle, using up every last bit of strength he had to get the ball to Kerry Wood and Mariano Rivera. It was exactly the kind of stuff that's been missing from Yankees pitchers not named Andy Pettitte all series.

Also making a rare appearance on Wednesday was the Yankee offense. They jumped out to an early lead for a change as C.J. Wilson flashed his wild side. A-Rod and Lance Berkman walked, Jorge Posada singled A-Rod home and then Curtis Granderson lashed a single to right that set off a comedy of errors that would make a Little League team blush. Going into all the mental and physical errors would fill a volume, so we'll just sum up by saying any play that allows Berkman and Posada to score from second and first should be in the running for worst defensive play of all time.

Nick Swisher broke out of his slump the next inning with a home run in the fourth, Robinson Cano followed with his ALCS-record-tying fourth home run of the series and absolutely no button pushing from Joe Girardi was necessary from that point forward. That was a nice change from the last few games, even if it was your typical unbearably long, occasionally sloppy Rangers-Yankees game from that point forward.

Well, there was one difference. The Yankees won and the guys that have been there before have made it known that they don't plan to simply roll over after three straight humiliating losses. We'll see how the newcomers respond on Friday night as they try again to get the surprisingly difficult fourth win of a postseason series for the first time.

Josh Alper is a writer living in New York City and is a contributor to FanHouse.com and ProFootballTalk.com in addition to his duties for NBCNewYork.com. You can follow him on Twitter.

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