By Michael Tapia
Day two of the 2010 MLB Postseason proved to be a pitchers paradise with all three winning teams only giving up a total of two runs.
The biggest pitchers duel came out of San Francisco with the Giants defeating the Braves 1-0 off ace Tim Lincecum’s 14 strikeouts. The “freak,” which Bay Area fans have coined him, dominated on the mound overshadowing the solid outing opposing pitcher Derek Lowe threw for the Braves.
Once again, Lincecum proved why he is the two time defending CY Young winner with last night’s complete game shutout – in which he struck out 14 batters – and only gave up two hits. The “freak” looked invincible retiring nine of his first 10 batters in a row. He then retired 10 in a row after walking Jason Heyward in the top of the fourth.
For the Braves, Lowe continued his hot pitching since the beginning of September only giving up one run and four hits in 5 1/3 innings pitched. Lowe’s biggest mistake of the game was giving up a single to Buster Posey, who went on to steal second base on an erroneous call by umpire Paul Emmel. Two batters later, Cody Ross hit an RBI single to bring in Posey who scored the only run of the game. That was all Lincecum needed to bring the Giants a 1-0 lead in the series.
In the American League, the Texas Rangers cruised to a 6-0 victory over the Rays with a combination of timely hitting, solid pitching, and a controversial check-swing call that got Rays Manager Joe Maddon ejected from the game. For the second day in a row, Ron Washington’s team imposed their will over the AL East champions. Young lefty, C.J. Wilson, held the Rays to just two hits in 6 1/3 innings pitched. With homeruns from Ian Kinsler and Michael Young in the fourth and fifth innings, it was more than enough for Wilson and the Rangers to cruise to a 2-0 lead in the division series.
The series now shifts to Arlington where the Rays Matt Garza will hope that his bats wake up so they can extend the series to a fourth game. Evan Longoria, who is one of the Rays greatest offensive contributors, has been relegated to just one hit in this series. Texas Rangers Manager Ron Washington is hopeful, but not taking anything for granted saying that, “Being up 2-0 is huge, especially winning two on the road. But we still haven’t accomplished anything yet, our goal is to get as far as we possibly can, and we’re just going to take it back to Texas and come out and try to play as hard as we can again.”
In the other AL series, the New York Yankees won on the back of old reliable, Andy Pettitte, who only gave up two runs (through 7 innings) to the Minnesota Twins for a 5-2 final and his 19th post-season win. Pettite gave up five hits, while striking out four after being a question mark for the Yankees entering the playoffs.
In an unlikely turn of events, one of the newest Yankees emerged as a hero as former Astro, Lance Berkman, powered two of the five Yankee runs with a home run to center field in the fifth and an RBI double in the seventh that scored Jorge Posada. Later in the seventh, Derek Jeter singled to right-center field scoring Berkman who was on third base putting the Yankees on top 4-2 for good. Now, the series shifts to the South Bronx where the bombers will bring out Phill Hughes to face Brian Duensing.
The only teams with the day off yesterday were the Philadelphia Phillies and the Cincinnati Reds, whom play today in Game 2 with Bronson Arroyo facing off against one/third of the Phillies H20 (Halladay, Hamels, Oswalt), Roy Oswalt. Philadelphia leads that series 1-0 and will play Game 3 this Sunday in Cincinnati. The Giants and Braves will also play games 2 and 3, as will the Yankees/Twins and Rangers/Rays. By Monday, it’s a strong possibility that the ALCS match-ups will be set.
Check back with Newsone on Monday for a weekend recap of the baseball action.