Rangers oust Yankees with 6-1 win in Game 6

The Yankee coaching staff reacts in the 5th

The Yankee coaching staff reacts in the 5th inning after Nelson Cruz knocked a 2-run home run. (Oct. 22, 2010) Photo Credit: Newsday/J. Conrad Williams Jr.

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ARLINGTON, Texas - All the elements that had put the Yankees in a three-games-to-one series hole materialized Friday night, ensuring they wouldn't be able to completely climb out of that hole.

It was another night of ragged starting pitching, ineffective relief pitching and next to nothing on offense from baseball's highest-scoring team.

And with that, the Rangers unseated the Yankees as American League champions. They earned their first trip to the World Series in the 39-year history of the franchise with a 6-1 victory in Game 6 of the ALCS in front of an ecstatic crowd of 51,404 at Rangers Ballpark.

The Yankees hit .201 in the series (38-for-189) and the Rangers hit .304 (63-for-207). In the Yankees' four losses, they hit .154 (19-for-123) and were outscored 31-6. They had two hits in Game 3 and three hits in Game 6.

"We just didn't do enough,'' Alex Rodriguez said. "We didn't hit enough, we didn't pitch enough and we didn't field enough. Bottom line, they outplayed us.''

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Said general manager Brian Cashman: "I just don't think we played our best and I think they were exceptionally good.''

In a statement, Yankees managing general partner Hal Steinbrenner said: "On behalf of the New York Yankees, I want to congratulate the Texas Rangers, Chuck Greenberg, Nolan Ryan and their entire ownership, staff and organization on winning their first American League pennant. They played like champions and we wish them the best of luck representing the American League in the World Series."

The Rangers will head to either San Francisco or Philadelphia for Game 1 of the World Series Wednesday night. The Giants hold a three-games-to-two lead in the National League Championship Series, with Game 6 on Saturday in Philadelphia.

The Yankees head for an uncertain offseason that will feature the negotiations of new contracts for Derek Jeter, Mariano Rivera and Joe Girardi and the pursuit of Rangers ace Cliff Lee, who can become a free agent.

Said Girardi, "We didn't accomplish what we set out to. And as I told my guys, this hurts. I've been through it as a player. I've been through it as a manager. It's not a lot of fun watching other teams celebrate.''

Cashman said of the Yankees' offense, "We're capable of anything at any time, but we just never, outside of that one inning [the five-run eighth inning in Game 1], we just were not able to consistently do anything. You waited on it. Now you'll have to wait until next year.''

Yankees Game 6 starter Phil Hughes was better than he had been in Game 2, but the man who beat him that night - righthander Colby Lewis - was even better than he had been.

Hughes, who allowed seven runs in four innings in Game 2, was charged with four runs in 42/3 innings in Game 6. Lewis, who allowed two runs in 52/3 innings in Game 2, allowed one run in eight innings in Game 6. He allowed three hits and three walks and fanned seven, striking out the side in the eighth.

The Yankees didn't get their first hit until Rodriguez doubled to lead off the fifth, which led to a run that tied the score at 1-1. That was only a momentary victory for the Yankees, however, as the Rangers blew it open in the bottom of the fifth with a four-run inning highlighted by Vladimir Guerrero's two-out, two-run double off Hughes and Nelson Cruz's two-run homer off David Robertson.

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Elvis Andrus, 8-for-22 through the first five games, lined a 2-and-2 pitch to left-center for a leadoff double in the first. Hughes struck out Michael Young, but ALCS MVP Josh Hamilton - who wound up 7-for-20 with four home runs and eight walks in the series - lined a single to left, putting runners at the corners and bringing pitching coach Dave Eiland out for a visit. Andrus scored on Guerrero's hit-and-run grounder to second.

After A-Rod's leadoff double in the fifth, he reached third with one out on Lance Berkman's long fly to center. Lewis' first pitch to Nick Swisher bounced, hit Swisher just below his left knee and skittered to the backstop. A-Rod trotted home and Bengie Molina immediately got in plate umpire Brian Gorman's face, protesting that the ball had hit Swisher and that Rodriguez had to go back to third. Rangers manager Ron Washington came out of the dugout to pull Molina away and pick up the argument. But the incorrect call stood, as did the run.

In the bottom of the fifth, Mitch Moreland reached on an infield single when Hughes was slow to cover first on a grounder fielded in the hole by Robinson Cano and Cano's throw past Hughes had to be backed up by Jorge Posada.

Two groundouts later, Hamilton drew the second of three intentional walks he picked up in the game, but Guerrero launched a two-run double to center. Cruz smashed Robertson's 1-and-2 pitch to center for a two-run homer and a 5-1 lead. Ian Kinsler's sacrifice fly off Kerry Wood in the seventh made it 6-1.

Lewis held the Yankees to no hits and two walks through four, pitching to the minimum 12 batters. The Yankees were 2-for-20 before Berkman tripled in the seventh. But Swisher flied to left to strand him.

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Neftali Feliz closed out the Yankees in the ninth, striking out former Ranger Rodriguez to end it.

Said Jeter, "They overall played better. They pitched better, they hit better, they overall just outplayed us. That's just the bottom line. They were a lot better than us these six games . . . It's always a disappointment any time you play a season and you fall short of your goal. It's tough to swallow.''

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