If close, it was Cliff Lee's game

NEW YORK – It didn’t take long for Ron Washington to decide that he’d keep riding his horse if the game was close.

“How do you feel?” Washington asked Cliff Lee after the ace fired his 122nd pitch of the inning, a 93-mph fastball that Brett Gardner took for a called strike three to end the eighth inning.

“I feel good,” Lee said.

“It’s your game,” Washington replied.

No need to make it complicated when the best playoff pitcher in baseball is cruising. At least, not when the Rangers are protecting a 2-0 lead against the defending World Series champions.

“That was it,” Lee recalled. “It was a five-second conversation.”

The Rangers’ bats allowed Washington to comfortably change his mind. They didn’t need Lee to push up his pitch count after six insurance runs crossed the plate.

But it was Lee’s game as long as it was close, only one question asked.