Cliff Lee threw a wrinkle into “baseball experts” plans for a Rays vs Yankees American League Championship Series on Wednesday afternoon.
Lee returned to the dominant form of his Cy Young season, recording 10 strikeouts in seven innings. Lee allowed only five hits and one earned run, finishing Game 1 with a 1.29 ERA.
Meanwhile, the Rangers’ offense excelled across the board, highlighted by a 3-for-4 performance from Bengie Molina, who recorded a home run and two RBIs.
Concerns about outfielder Josh Hamilton were put to rest as he contributed a hit, stolen base, and scored a run in the fifth inning.
Rays’ starter David Price did not miss by much with his pitches, he was simply outplayed by an outstanding Texas offense. The Rangers scored five runs on 10 hits and plated runs in four of the first five innings.
Tampa Bay’s offense failed to string together any meaningful hits after being unable to score with the bases loaded in the first inning. The Rays did not reach base in third, fourth, and fifth innings, while Texas built a five run lead.
The Rays’ only run came on a Ben Zobrist home run in the bottom of the seventh inning off of Cliff Lee.
Tampa Bay attempted to rally in the ninth as the first two batters reached base on walks by Rangers’ closer Neftali Feliz. After a fly out, Feliz responded with two strikeouts to seal the 5-1 victory for Texas.
The series resumes Thursday at 2:30 pm Eastern in St. Petersburg. C. J. Wilson will take the mound for the Rangers while James Shields earns the start for the Rays.
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