Thoughts: Texas on cusp of first series win

ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. -- The Rangers took a 2-0 lead in the best-of-five American League Division Series with a 6-0 win in Game 2 on Thursday. Only one team -- the 2001 Oakland A's, of which current Texas manager Ron Washington was a coach -- lost a five-game series after winning the first two on the road. Some quick thoughts (more to come):

* Michael Young's first postseason hit was a memorable one. After checking his swing on a 2-2 pitch -- and it sure looked like he went around on the replay -- Young blasted a 3-2 pitch 431 feet to center field, hitting the restaurant that acts as the hitters' background. The three-run homer turned a 2-0 game into a 5-0 Rangers lead. They added another run in the four-run fifth to take firm control of the game.

* C.J. Wilson pitched 6 1/3 scoreless innings Thursday. He gave up just two hits -- an effective way to slow down the Rays' running game -- and had seven strikeouts with two walks. Wilson wasn't afraid to throw any of his pitches and kept the ball down. He benefited from the low strike call by plate umpire Jim Wolf, but took advantage of that with his cutter and slider. His curve also was an effective pitch.

* Josh Hamilton put on a defensive clinic in the second inning, showing off his speed. He charged in to get to a line drive off Ben Zobrist's bat and then made a nice diving catch on a hit by Willy Aybar. Hamilton was in center field Thursday instead of left even with Julio Borbon in the lineup because Washington felt Hamilton's arm would be better in center with the quick turf. His glove wasn't too bad, either.

* Mitch Moreland's defense is underrated. While the club chose Moreland over Chris Davis for the postseason roster in part because he's more consistent at the plate, the Rangers also like how he's improved his defensive game. That showed in the first inning of Game 2 as Moreland made a diving catch near the Tampa Bay dugout to retire B.J. Upton with a runner on and no outs. Wilson then got out of the inning by getting Carl Crawford to fly out and Evan Longoria to chop one back to the mound.

* The Rangers manufactured a run after taking advantage of Rays mistakes. Shields hit Matt Treanor on a 2-2 pitch to put him at first base. He went to second on Julio Borbon's groundout and then got to third when Elvis Andrus had an infield single up the middle. Then, when Shields made a wide throw to first to try to pick off Andrus (I still think Ben Zobrist could have had that ball, but he didn't move his feet to get to it), Treanor was able to score from third with the game's first run. Treanor's back will be sore tomorrow. He was hit in the same place twice by Shields.

* The Rangers now have three two-out homers in this series. Ian Kinsler was ready for a 2-0 fastball in the fourth and turned on it, driving it out to left field about 20 rows up. It was a no-doubter. Kinsler hit just nine homers in 103 games but had two stints on the disabled list. He hit 31 homers in 2009, so he has power and he showed it in the fourth.

* Shields didn't pitch poorly, but he couldn't match Wilson and he got into trouble in the fifth, giving way to Qualls, who gave up the homer to Young. Shields ended up allowing four runs on four hits in 4 1/3 innings.

* After scoring just two runs in their previous two postseason series, the Rangers have 11 in just two games. They've also allowed just one.

* The Rangers' bullpen did its job again Thursday, not allowing a hit. After Wilson left, Washington went with Darren O'Day, and he got pinch hitter Matt Joyce.

* Darren Oliver then came in and, after walking pinch hitter Dan Johnson, got Jason Bartlett to end the inning. Oliver stayed in for the eighth, and retired B.J. Upton and Carl Crawford on ground balls and struck out Evan Longoria. Oliver went back out to the mound for the ninth and got all three batters he faced. So Oliver got the last seven outs of the game.

* Washington pushed the right buttons again. Treanor was the catcher for Molina and got on base three times, and did a nice job with Wilson and the relief corps.

* Elvis Andrus, who hit into six ground ball double plays all season, has hit into one in each of the first two games of this series. But he added two hits Thursday.