Some quick thoughts on the Yankees' 7-2 win over the Rangers in Game 5.
WHAT IT MEANS: The Yankees live to fight another day. If they go out in the American League Championship Series, they aren't going out lying down. They have forced this series back to Texas. Now, they want more.
Beginning with Joe Girardi's speech early Wednesday morning, the Yankees are taking a very simple approach: one game at a time. They have one more to go before they get to Cliff Lee. They badly want another shot at Lee.
One more win, and there will be a prime-time Saturday night showdown in Texas between Deer Park's Andy Pettitte and the man who by that point would be the Lone Ranger, Lee.
WHAT'S NEXT: CC Sabathia passes the baseball to Phil Hughes, who now will pitch the latest biggest game of his career. Hughes is going to be asked to do much better than he did in Game 2, in which he lasted only four innings. He has the demeanor to handle the circumstances, but the Rangers owned him the last time out.
The Yankees and Rangers have an off day Thursday before Friday night's Game 6. Mark Teixeira is done for the season, but the newest injury question is on the Rangers' side: Nelson Cruz left Game 5 with a hamstring injury. If he is seriously hurt, it could have a major impact on whether the Yankees can come back. Cruz is a true threat behind Josh Hamilton and Vladimir Guerrero. If he is out, the Rangers are a different team.
CURTAIN CALLS: Sabathia received the loudest ovation for Game 5. CC didn't have his Cy Young stuff, but he spread out 11 hits over six innings. To average allowing nearly two hits per inning and give up only two runs is pretty incredible. That is why CC is so great -- he can beat you with overwhelming talent and he can grind you down.
On offense, the Yankees started getting going. Nick Swisher and Robinson Cano had back-to-back homers in the third. Jorge Posada, perhaps a little peeved about being benched in Game 4, hit the ball well, starting the scoring off with an RBI single.
The Yankees made the most of their hits and C.J. Wilson's wildness to win even though they were severely outhit.
ANALYSIS: Sabathia still didn't have his best stuff Wednesday, but he pushed the Yankees to Game 6. He is a champion. He proved it last year. He reinforced it in Game 5 of the ALCS. The greats find a way to overcome, and Sabathia did that with support from his offense.
The Yankees can extend this thing to seven. They have to beat Colby Lewis. That is very doable.
COMING ATTRACTIONS: Ian O'Connor on CC Sabathia. Wally Matthews on the Yankees' resiliency. I'm going to delve deeper into the clubhouse meeting early Wednesday morning. Ian Begley and Adam Rubin will fill up the blog with the latest news and notes, so please check back. And on Thursday morning, Rob Parker will explain how the Yanks can win.
THE BIG QUESTION: On a scale of 1 to 10, what's your level of confidence in the Yankees' ability to come back? Why? (comment below)