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Hughes hit hard as Rangers tie ALCS, 7-2

New York Yankees' starting pitcher Phil Hughes

New York Yankees' starting pitcher Phil Hughes talking with catcher Jorge Posada and pitching coach Dave Eiland while playing the Texas Rangers in the bottom of the 3rd inning Saturday Oct. 16, during the ALCS at Rangers Ball Park in Arlington. Photo Credit: Newsday/J. Conrad Williams Jr.

ARLINGTON, Texas - This time there was no miracle comeback from five runs down.

And as a result, this American League Championship Series, tied at one game apiece, has become a best-of-five.

With Phil Hughes not missing many barrels and his teammates unable to do much against Colby Lewis and five relievers yesterday, the Yankees fell to the Rangers, 7-2, in front of another energetic crowd at Rangers Ballpark.

"I really didn't even give us a chance to win today," said Hughes, who put the Yankees in a 5-0 hole after three innings and gave up seven runs, 10 hits - seven for extra bases - and three walks in four innings-plus. "That's the most disappointing thing."

It was the Rangers' first home postseason victory in franchise history and ended the Yankees' winning streak against Texas in postseason play at 10 games. The home team won for only the second time in 10 American League postseason games this year.

In Game 3 Monday night at Yankee Stadium, Andy Pettitte, the career leader in postseason victories with 19, will face the Rangers' Cliff Lee, 6-0 with a 1.44 ERA in seven career postseason starts. "Just because Cliff is pitching, it's not a guaranteed win for anybody," said Derek Jeter, 3-for-9 in the first two games of the series. "You come out, you play the games for a reason. We'll see what happens. If you're going to win, you're going to have to beat good pitching."

The Yankees didn't get that the first two games of this series as neither Sabathia nor Hughes recorded an out in the fifth.

"Our starters pitched extremely well and everyone was giddy about them the last series," Joe Girardi said. "I don't ever get too involved in snapshot pictures because those can be dangerous. I believe in our guys and I believe that they will pitch well as we continue forward here."

Hughes did go a little further than Sabathia had, pitching to two batters in the fifth. He was relieved by Joba Chamberlain with a runner at third and none out after Ian Kinsler's RBI triple. After Chamberlain struck out David Murphy and Bengie Molina and got ahead of Mitch Moreland 1-and-2, Moreland singled home Kinsler for a 7-1 lead.

"We haven't gotten off to a great start pitching, but there's still a lot of baseball yet to be played," Sabathia said.

The Yankees again got good performances from the bullpen, as Chamberlain, David Robertson, Boone Logan and Sergio Mitre allowed no runs and two hits in four scoreless innings. In Game 1, Chamberlain, Dustin Moseley, Kerry Wood and Mariano Rivera allowed one hit in five scoreless innings.

Lewis, who had not faced the Yankees since 2003, allowed two runs and six hits in 52/3 innings. Robinson Cano doubled and scored on Lance Berkman's single in the fourth and homered halfway up the second deck in right in the sixth.

Otherwise, it was a frustrating afternoon for the Yankees, who went 1-for-11 with runners in scoring position and stranded 12. But they did wrest home-field advantage away from the Rangers.

"We faced two really good starting pitchers," said Mark Teixeira (0-for-8). "They were dominant. For us to split with the way those two guys pitched, you have to feel confident."

The Rangers, of course, feel that way with Lee on the mound.

"Cliff deserves everything that comes his way," Teixeira said. "He's a great pitcher. He's done some great things in the postseason. All the Texas Ranger fans believe he's going to go out there and shut us out, so we have to prove them wrong."

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