NEW YORK — The upstart, under-respected Rangers, who started as baseball's laughingstock as the Washington Senators, are one victory away from their first World Series.
And they have three chances to do it, starting Wednesday at Yankee Stadium where they already have won Games 3 and 4 of the American League Championship Series.
Their latest triumph was dominant, 10-3, Tuesday night over a Yankees team that has been outpitched and outhit while going down three games to one.
Game 5 features a rematch of the first game with C.J. Wilson trying to eliminate the defending World Series champions and CC Sabathia trying to get the series back to Texas on Friday.
As always, the Yankees came into the postseason with high expectations from their fans, even though they were the wild card without home-field advantage.
"Win, just win a game," Yankees manager Joe Girardi said of the game plan going forward. "And then you go from there. It's a very tough-minded group. They've bounced back many times. We have great leadership and we'll find a away to get it done."
The Yankees came into Game 4 hitting just .194 but chased Rangers starter Tommy Hunter in the fourth inning when they took a 3-2 lead. Before he left Hunter hit a batter and committed a balk. The hit batter was Alex Rodriguez, who scored that third run.
The Yankee most responsible for the batting average was third batter Mark Teixeira, who was 0-for-14 when he left the game with a pulled right hamstring in the fifth inning. He had an MRI and most likely will not play Wednesday.
Yankees starter A. J. Burnett, who hadn't appeared in a game since Oct. 2 while being bypassed in the division series, kept the Rangers from scoring in the first inning for the first time this series.
But he showed effects of rust when allowing two third-inning runs. He walked the first batter and hit the second and both scored, although the Rangers never got the ball out of the infield.
Burnett put his team behind 5-3 in the sixth inning when he allowed a towering three-run homer to Bengie Molina. Burnett walked David Murphy right before Molina hit the next pitch into the left-field stands.
In the seventh, Josh Hamilton hit his third home run of the series and Ian Kinsler singled home a run for a 7-3 lead. Two innings later, Hamilton hit another homer, followed by Nelson Cruz's two-run homer to make it 10-3.
"We're not thinking about how we're going to close anyone out," Texas manager Ron Washington said. "We're thinking about playing baseball. . . . We come to the ballpark ready play baseball and react to whatever we have to."
The Yankees took a 1-0 lead in the second inning on a home run by Robinson Cano, one questioned by manager Ron Washington because of what he claimed was fan interference.
Two batters later, Lance Berkman skied a pitch from Hunter past the right-field foul pole. Umpire Jim Reynolds called it fair, but the call was overturned after the umpires reviewed it.