This one had instant classic written all over it.

It didn’t start good for the New York Yankees‘ Super Ace CC Sabathia. He walked the leadoff runner, then let up a single to put men on the corners.

Up came Josh Hamilton, who was supposed to have injury issues, hadn’t hit in the ALDS and was supposed to be a mild worry, not a serious threat.

Next thing you know, the ball was over the right field fence, and the Yankees’ best pitcher was down 3-0.

No matter what side you were on for this one, seeing Josh Hamilton run around the bases, with the music and the fireworks and a crowd full of Dallas Cowboys fans cheering for their team in the American League Championship Series for the first time EVER was pretty awesome.  

Great story for Hamilton. Great story for the franchise. Great story for every Rangers fan in attendance or watching the broadcast. No matter who you wanted to win, there was no denying this was pretty damn cool.

Unfortunately, this great story was coming against the defending champs, who had their own unbelievable ending in mind.

It all started in the top of the eighth, when Brett Gardner hit what first appeared to be an easy groundout. With a little hustle and a face-first dive, the Yankees had a leadoff runner.

By the end of the inning, Texas had used half of their bullpen, and more importantly, lost the lead.

When TBS interviewed Joe Girardi in the bottom of the fourth, he said being down three runs wasn’t an impossible deficit, because of the Yankees explosive offense.

Well, by the end of the inning (when the Rangers made it 5-0 off a two-run, two-out Michael Young double) we wanted Girardi gagged with a Taco Bell XXL Chalupa and sent to the Chicago Cubs.

Rangers starter CJ Wilson did a great Cliff Lee impression till the eighth, when Brett Gardner made the play of the game. Should Gardner really be sliding into first? I can’t remember ever thinking a player should slide into first until tonight. It looked like there truly was no way Brett gets there before Wilson if he legs it out. And hey, what works, works.

The runner became a run on the next at-bat, and by the end of the inning the Yankees had the lead. Good move Brett.


Some things To Remember

1. Hamilton got on base in his second at-bat, stole second, then went to third on a balk. Thankfully CC got out of it without letting Hamilton score, or the place might have imploded.

2. Joba went scoreless in the fifth, and Dustin Moseley did the same in the sixth and the seventh, keeping a game that felt like it was over close enough to steal.

3. Robinson Cano’s homer in the seventh was the first real sign of anything from the Yankees bats all night. We’ve previously questioned Cano’s postseason stats, depsite his beast regular season, so it’s good to see the second baseman be the first guy across home plate.

4. If you didn’t know anything about the Texas Rangers starter this morning, you did by the end of the seventh. CJ Wilson was ridiculously good, giving up two runs through 21 outs. All the Dallas Cowboys fans that filled the stadium will remember the heroic performance of their first starting pitcher, regardless of the conclusion.

5. Who had Curtis Granderson as the first Yankee hit of the ALCS? Anybody?

6. Who’s the biggest winner of the night? AJ Burnett. CC Sabathia getting hooked after just 93 pitches immediately opened the “Will he start in Game 4?” discussion. If the Yankees lose, Girardi may have gotten an itch for that panic button and played CC on short rest (just like the big fella did last year).  

7. AJ Burnett would likely have gotten bumped out of the rotation. Missing an opportunity to start a game in the ALCS would have been a big blow for Burnett, but what might have been an even bigger blow would have been that Yankees fans’ last memory of Burnett was his burnout at the end of the regular season.

8. Game 4 of the ALCS would have been Burnett’s last shot at redemption. Since the Bronx Bombers were able to overcome the weak performance of CC Sabathia, AJ Burnett will get his final chance. And we think he’ll be just fine.

9. What was the most shocking moment? Not CC’s collapse in the first, but Nolan Ryan’s honorary first pitch.  The guy looks like he should be the night watchman at a public museum, but he goes straight to the mound and throws a STRIKE! Are you kididng me? That sucker moved! You give me a 100 at-bats against that guy, and I wouldn’t hit a single one. Unbelievable.

That being said, does Nolan Ryan really have no one better to sit next to? Isn’t that awkward, since the guy to Ryan’s right used to own the Texas Rangers? Do you think that’s what they talked about? Do you think George W. Bush knows what a balk is?

And most importantly, recognize that Mariano Rivera did exactly what Mariano Rivera always does this time of year. The haters get real quiet, real quick, don’t they?

Next game’s tomorrow afternoon. Where are you gonna be watching?

This article originally appeared on The NY Sports Digest. If its off-beat and it’s about the Mets, Yankees, Knicks, Giants, Jets, Islanders, or Rangers, than The Digest is the spot to get it. Stop with the mega-sites and get a feel for the true pulse of New York at


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