Rangers relaxed at home

Texas can reach first World Series tonight

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ARLINGTON, Texas --- The Texas Rangers have returned to their clubhouse, where the only trophies are the two deer heads mounted on the wall courtesy of Josh Hamilton.

Texas relievers Frank Francisco (from left), Neftali Feliz and Alexi Ogando watch practice Thursday. The Rangers aren't worried about being 1-3 at home in the playoffs.  Associated Press
Associated Press
Texas relievers Frank Francisco (from left), Neftali Feliz and Alexi Ogando watch practice Thursday. The Rangers aren't worried about being 1-3 at home in the playoffs.

Back home, where they are 1-3 this postseason, needing one win to make it to their first World Series.

If the Rangers are going to make it to where they've never been before, they have to win the American League Championship Series against the New York Yankees at home. The first of their two chances is Game 6 tonight.

"Obviously, we wanted to finish what we started in Game 5. If there's a plus, we get a chance to finish the series in front of our fans. They deserve it," said outfielder David Murphy, who has scored a series-high six runs. "It's definitely more fun this way."

Texas clinched its first AL West title in 11 years on the road, in Oakland with a week to play in the regular season. Then, with a 2-0 series lead before losing both first-round games at home, the Rangers won the deciding Game 5 of the AL division series and celebrated at Tampa Bay.

They missed their first chance to end the ALCS, when the Yankees got an early lead and went on to a 7-2 victory Wednesday in Game 5 to force the best-of-seven series back to Texas. The Rangers have a 3-2 lead.

Even with the enormity of what they are trying to accomplish, and with a $200 million-plus team built to win another championship on the other side, Michael Young insists nothing has changed for the Rangers.

"This team does as good a job as I've seen at staying loose and being competitive and getting after it as any team I've ever seen," he said Thursday. "We'll come in (today), the music will be on, we'll be loose, we'll be ready to go."

So will the Yankees, who have won 27 World Series titles and 40 pennants, though they haven't overcome a 3-1 postseason deficit since 1958.

"You try to win one game, that's all you can do. We have a lot of confidence in ourselves, just like I'm sure they have confidence in their team," Yankees captain Derek Jeter said. "You have to take every game like it's a Game 5 or a Game 7. Then if you're in these kind of situations, nothing ever changes."

The Yankees won the ALCS opener in Arlington, overcoming a late 5-0 deficit for a 6-5 victory last Friday.

Texas responded by taking the next three -- winning a postseason game at home for the first time before consecutive victories in New York.

Tonight will feature a Game 2 pitching rematch of Rangers right-hander Colby Lewis and Phil Hughes, who gave up 10 hits (seven for extra bases) and seven runs in four innings. Hughes had allowed only three hits in 15Q scoreless innings during his previous three games at Texas.

"We have utmost confidence in Phil. He's done such a tremendous job and I know he's chomping at the bit to get back out there," Nick Swisher said. "He definitely has a chance to redeem himself, and we're right there behind him."

Lewis has a chance to deliver the biggest victory in Rangers history after re-signing with his original team last winter. He limited New York to two runs over 5w innings in Game 2 after throwing five scoreless innings in his postseason debut against Tampa Bay.

If Lewis can't get it done, the Rangers have Cliff Lee waiting to pitch Game 7 on Saturday night. Lee struck out 13 in eight innings in Game 3 and is 3-0 in three postseason starts against the Yankees.

Series: Rangers 3, Yankees 2

GAME 1: Yankees 6, Rangers 5

GAME 2: Rangers 7, Yankees 2

GAME 3: Rangers 8, Yankees 0

GAME 4: Rangers 10, Yankees 3

GAME 5: Yankees 7, Rangers 2

FRIDAY: Yankees (Hughes 18-8) at Rangers (Lewis 12-13), 8:07 p.m.

SATURDAY: Yankees (Pettitte 11-3) at Rangers (Lee 12-9), 8:07 p.m.*

* If necessary All games on TBS


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