Neftali Feliz just couldn’t wait. The rookie closer for the Texas Rangers propped open the bullpen door just a crack, peering onto the field to watch the action in the bottom of the eighth.

The Rangers’ bullpen struggled in Game 1, surrendering a five-run lead to the mighty Yankee offense. Feliz was ever so anxious to redeem the unit. Redemption was the theme of Game 2 against New York. And the Rangers, seeking their first-ever postseason win at home, were in prime position to get it.

Just as C.C. Sabathia was shelled in Game 1, Phil Hughes struggled for the Yankees in the American League Championship Series’ second game. Sabathia was all over the place, and Hughes was as well.

This contest was as déjà vu as possible over the first four innings. Texas jumped all over Hughes early and often, while Colby Lewis shut down the Yankees bats. The Rangers started their scoring in the first thanks to a terrible decision by New York catcher Jorge Posada and Elvis Andrus’ intelligence on the base paths.

Andrus singled, reached second base on a wild pitch, stole third and then sprinted home as Posada foolishly took no notice of him while Hamilton attempted to steal second. Robinson Cano received the throw, and may have been able to tag Hamilton for the inning’s final out before Andrus crossed the plate, but fired back to Posada instead. Andrus slid in safely, and a 1-0 lead was taken by Texas.

They would add to this advantage and, just as they did in Game 1, tacked on more than just a couple more runs. David Murphy tagged a 2-0 cutter left high in the zone by Hughes into the upper-deck in right then, after the second out was recorded, three straight hits were acquired to plate a third run.

A doubles parade followed in the third as Hughes completely lost his command. Nelson Cruz pulled into second for a two-bagger leading off, then Murphy and Bengie Molina followed with back-to-back doubles, giving the Rangers a five-run lead.

Five to zero: a familiar score. It was the same lead Texas held not 20 hours earlier. The same lead they lost in such shocking fashion. Therefore, it was to no one’s surprise that the atmosphere was tense despite the margin. And it was only more so after what transpired in the top of the fourth.

Cano ignited New York in Game 1, ending C.J. Wilson’s shutout bid with a solo-shot, and attempted to do the same. This time it was a lead-off double, but it served the same purpose as Lance Berkman plated him with a two-out single down the right-field line. The Yankees were on the board. Here we go again, the Rangers fans had to think.

What had happened up to this point was eerily similar. But what took place next broke the familiarity. Though it really did nothing to calm the fans’ nerves (as the atmosphere in the latter innings would suggest), Texas managed to take an even bigger lead. Hughes was remarkably sent out to the hill to begin the fifth by manager Joe Girardi, and the decision backfired.

Cruz ripped his second straight double that was no more than a foot from leaving the park, then Ian Kinsler roped a liner past a diving Nick Swisher for a triple, scoring a sixth run and sending Hughes to the showers. A seventh proceeded to come their way, as Mitch Moreland delivered in the clutch with a two-out single to score Kinsler from third.

Yet, this 7-1 lead was far from safe. The fans knew what the Yankees were capable of. There isn’t an easy out in their lineup and they have been one of the game’s best comeback teams over the past few seasons.

So, when Cano once again did his part, the fans were either literally or figuratively on the edge of their seats. The MVP candidate slugged a blast into the right-field’s upper deck. Luckily for the Rangers, it was only a solo-homer, but it was another Yankees run nonetheless. New York is only getting started, their fans must have thought.

Within five, during the latter innings: Again, a familiar site. But, though minor heart-attacks were spread throughout the Rangers’ Ballpark in Arlington when two reached with two out, this lone run would be all the Yankees could muster. Lewis remained composed, and the four relievers succeeded in washing away their nightmarish Game 1 appearances.

Clay Rapada was the first, outlasted Marcus Thames for the final out of the sixth, Alexi Ogando was next, then the Darrens (Oliver and O’Day) continued the bullpen’s effectiveness.

The quartet handed the ball to Feliz with the unchanged margin, and Feliz gave the Rangers the win-clinching inning they were looking for. He made life interesting, issuing back-to-back walks with one out in the ninth to get the crowd’s blood pumping, but both Alex Rodriguez and Cano were retired.

With that, it was a 7-2 victory. The Rangers coaching staff shook hands in the dugout, players celebrated, and the crowd cheered. A redeeming win, and now the tied series shifts to New York.

Cliff Lee awaits for the Yanks, as Texas will try to ride this momentum to an advantage in the ALCS, an advantage they know they should already have.

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