"I'm not really a believer in momentum," Jeter said after the Yankees' workout Thursday afternoon at Rangers Ballpark. "If that's the case, you win one game in a series, the series is over because whoever won [Game 1] would take the so-called momentum and win the whole series."
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That, of course, wasn't the case this series, which started with the Yankees storming from behind with five runs in the eighth inning to win Game 1 before losing three straight by 7-2, 8-0 and 10-3 scores.
They stayed alive with Wednesday's 7-2 victory in Game 5 at the Stadium, bringing them back here for tonight's sixth game. It will be a Game 2 rematch: Phil Hughes, who took the loss in that game, faces Colby Lewis, who got the win.
Hughes allowed seven runs and 10 hits in four innings-plus. Lewis held the Yankees to two runs in 52/3 innings.
"That was the first time we faced him and he did a great job," said Nick Swisher, who snapped a 1-for-16 skid with a third-inning homer in Game 5. "The second time, we know what to expect."
Should the Yankees win, they'd only have to defeat Cliff Lee, unbeaten in eight postseason starts, in Game 7 to get back to the World Series. Lee held them to two hits and struck out 13 in eight innings in Game 3.
"You definitely have your work cut out for you," Swisher said. "But to be in this situation, backs against the wall, the way we played in Game 5, hopefully we come out and play like that again in Game 6."
It is a challenge the Yankees, favorites before the series and certainly after Game 1 but now in the unusual role of underdogs, are embracing.
"We have to win two in their house," Jorge Posada said. "It is a challenge and we know what we're in for. Hopefully, we can do what we're supposed to do."
Robinson Cano, who is 8-for-19 with four homers in the series, said winning two games isn't on anyone's mind. "We're going to go out there and try and win tomorrow," he said. "We need to win tomorrow to stay alive and take it from there."
Alex Rodriguez was excited to take the field. "It's great," he said. "Any time you're playing for your life, these are life-or- death, literally, games. I thought yesterday we showed what this team is capable of doing and hopefully tomorrow we'll show a little bit more."
Several Yankees, including Rodriguez, recalled the Red Sox returning to Yankee Stadium in the 2004 ALCS trailing three games to two and completing their historic comeback from a three-games-to-none deficit by winning Games 6 and 7.
"I've tried to put that out of my mind," Jeter said, smiling.
Rodriguez remembered the feeling in the clubhouse after going up 3-0 in that series and not wanting to let the Red Sox think a comeback was possible.
"For us, we never wanted it to get to a Game 6 or a Game 7," he said.
But Rodriguez said that series is a reminder of the cold math of the postseason.
"There's something to be said; you have to win four games," he said. "The last game is always the toughest."
And even though Jeter downplayed winning Game 5, that doesn't mean he isn't confident.
"You try to win one game, that's all you can do," he said. "We have a lot of confidence in ourselves, just like I'm pretty sure they have confidence in their team. We'll see what happens."