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Live blog: Yankees-Rangers ALCS Game 2

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UPDATE: The Rangers have pulled even with the Yankees, taking Game 2 of the ALCS by the score of 7-2. It wasn’t easy, but Neftali Feliz pitched a scoreless ninth inning in a non-save situation to put a stamp on the victory. Perfect timing, really, as Game 1 of the NLCS between the Giants and Phillies is beginning…literally right now.

Stay tuned for the post-game recap from our very own Matthew Pouliot.

Thanks for reading and enjoy!

7:42 PM: And we’re headed to the ninth in Texas. The Rangers threatened in the bottom of the eighth, but were unable to add insurance, so the score remains 7-2. Josh Hamilton drew his fourth walk of the night and stole second base again, but Jorge Posada was smart enough to not throw through with a runner on third base this time.

And yes, Neftali Feliz is pitching.

7:24 PM: Ron Washington has some marbles — and maybe a dash of faith, too. He brought in Darren Oliver for the top of the eighth inning and the left-hander promptly issued a leadoff walk to Nick Swisher. It wasn’t a repeat of last night, though, as he got Jorge Posada to strike out and Lance Berkman to ground out on an excellent play by Ian Kinsler at second base. To complete tonight’s redemption arc, Darren O’ Day came on to get Marcus Thames to ground out to end the inning. You better believe that Neftali Feliz will be pitching the ninth.

7:13 PM: Jeff Francoeur — pinch-hitting for David Murphy — just came this close to hitting a home run off Boone Logan in the bottom of the seventh inning. Not surprised by the warning track power off a lefty so much, but it is worth noting that he actually took the first pitch.

7:00 PM: Feel free to exhale, Rangers fans. Alexi Ogando was able to get Robinson Cano to strike out with two runners on in the seventh, keeping the score at 7-2. It’s stretch time.

6:32 PM: Rapada went full with Thames, but struck him out swinging for the third out. It’s 7-2 in the middle of the sixth.

6:27 PM: Colby Lewis was just pulled from the game after throwing 102 pitches over 5 2/3 innings. He struck out Nick Swisher after the home run by Cano, but gave up a single to Jorge Posada and walked Lance Berkman. Clay Rapada is in with a chance to redeem himself against Marcus Thames, the man who delivered the go-ahead single last night. Thames is pinch-hitting for Brett Gardner.

6:20 PM: Well, Robinson Cano wasn’t going to be denied this time. After hitting the ball to the warning track in the second and just missing a homer in the fourth, he hit an absolute bomb to the upper deck in right field with one out in the sixth. Fortunately for the Rangers, it was just a solo home run, so the score is still  7-2.

6:10 PM: Chamberlain was able to strike out David Murphy and Bengie Molina, but Mitch Moreland went the other way and poked a two-out single to left, giving the Rangers a 7-1 lead through five innings.

6:00 PM: Phil Hughes is done after four-plus innings, allowing six runs (for now) on 10 hits. Joe Girardi brought the hook after Ian Kinsler knocked in Nelson Cruz with a triple. Kinsler went the other way with the pitch and Nick Swisher attempted an all-out dive to catch it, but came up empty-handed.  Cruz led off the inning with his second double — and near home run — of the game.

Joba Chamberlain is in the ballgame with Kinsler on third base and no outs.

5:35 PM: The Yankees are on the board in Arlington. Robinson Cano led off the top of the fourth with a long fly ball to center that narrowly missed going out for a home run. He settled for a double and move to third base on a wild pitch. Lance Berkman drove him in with a line drive drive that deflected off Mitch Moreland’s glove at first base and into shallow right field, but was caught in a run-down after making a wide turn around the first base bag.

5:23 PM: Unlike last night, the Rangers aren’t letting their scoring opportunities go to waste. David Murphy and Bengie Molina connected for back-to-back doubles, giving the Rangers a 5-0 lead through three innings. And to think, it could have been even more if Ron Washington didn’t have Ian Kinsler bunt Nelson Cruz over to third base with nobody out. Hate that play. Hate it. Sergio Mitre is already throwing in the bullpen for the Yankees.

5:13 PM: The Yankees got two runners on against Colby Lewis in the third, but couldn’t cash in. Derek Jeter reached on an infield single and Curtis Granderson was nicked on the lefty knee/shin area by a pitch. It was actually an amazingly good call by home plate umpire Tony Randazzo, because it took me until about the third replay to see that the ball actually hit him. Anyway, Alex Rodriguez grounded out to end the inning, so no damage done.

5:00 PM: I feel like we’ve been here before…

The Rangers tacked on another run on an RBI double by Michael Young and lead 3-0 after two innings. Phil Hughes was able to escape further damage by getting Vladimir Guerrero to ground out with the bases loaded. Hughes has already thrown 55 pitches over the first two innings of the ballgame. By contrast, CC Sabathia had 50 pitches through two innings last night.

4:52 PM: David Murphy just gave the Rangers a 2-0 lead with a solo home run off the second deck in right field. This is a very good sign for the Rangers. Murphy was limited a bit towards the end of the season due to a groin injury — and was held out of the first two games of the ALDS against the Rays — but is a real weapon against right-handed pitching.

4:43 PM: The Yankees threatened in the top of the second inning, getting two runners on, but failed to score against Lewis. Robinson Cano crushed a ball to right center field, but Nelson Cruz was able to calmly track it down and make a jumping catch on the warning track. Hopefully this series will be a chance for people to see how good Cruz really is, both offensively and defensively.

4:30 PM: Antler attack. Elvis Andrus just used his speed to get the Rangers on the board first against Phil Hughes and the Yankees. After reaching on an infield single to lead off the bottom of the first, Andrus advanced to second base on a wild pitch, stole third base and then swiped home when Jorge Posada tried to throw out Josh Hamilton at second base.

It was a real mental lapse for a veteran catcher like Posada, who should have looked a speedster such as Andrus back at third before throwing. Likewise, Robinson Cano could have just tagged Hamilton. That’s what speed will do to the opposition.

Hughes threw 28 pitches in the first inning.

4:12 PM: Lewis just retired the Yankees in order in the top of the first, including a swinging strikeout of Derek Jeter. He needed only nine pitches.

4:02 PM: The Rangers dropped Game 1 of the ALCS against the Yankees in painful fashion last night. They’ll have to bounce back quickly for Game 2, which is set to begin in just a few minutes.

Like last night, I’ll be dropping some of my random thoughts and observations here throughout the ballgame. Feel free to join the conversation in our comments section.

Game 2 starters:

Phil Hughes – The 24-year-old right-hander went 18-8 with a 4.19 ERA during the regular season. He didn’t make a start against the Rangers this season, but tossed a scoreless inning of relief in an extra-inning game back on September 10. Hughes hurled seven shutout innings in Game 3 of the ALDS against the Twins last Saturday.

Colby Lewis  – Signed after spending the last two years in Japan, Lewis went 12-13 with a 3.72 ERA during the regular season. He hasn’t faced the Yankees since August 5, 2003. Lewis hurled five shutout frames in Game 3 of the ALDS against the Rays last Saturday.

Looking for lineups? I have you covered right here.

Jason Kipnis could join Team Israel for 2017 World Baseball Classic

CLEVELAND, OH - NOVEMBER 02:  Jason Kipnis #22 of the Cleveland Indians throws during batting practice prior to Game Seven of the 2016 World Series against the Chicago Cubs at Progressive Field on November 2, 2016 in Cleveland, Ohio.  (Photo by Gregory Shamus/Getty Images)
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With the 2017 World Baseball Classic around the corner, Team Israel has reportedly reached out to Indians second baseman Jason Kipnis, per MLB Network’s Jon Morosi. Tournament rules stipulate that a player’s roster eligibility can be achieved in one of several ways: they were born in the country in question or hold citizenship/permanent legal residence there (or are simply capable of qualifying for citizenship), or one of their parents was born in the country or holds citizenship/permanent legal residence there.

For Kipnis, it’s the latter. Kipnis’ father, Mark Kipnis, is Jewish. That gives Kipnis the status he needs to suit up for Team Israel, despite the fact that he is a practicing Roman Catholic. He has yet to confirm or deny his participation in the competition.

Fifteen players have confirmed for Team Israel so far, including Mets’ infielder/outfielder Ty Kelly and free agents Sam Fuld, Nate Freiman, Jason Marquis and Jeremy Bleich. Per MLB.com’s Chad Thornburg, eight minor leaguers will also appear for the team. Like Kipnis, at least three other major leaguers are eligible for Team Israel’s roster but have yet to accept or decline involvement in the WBC: Dodgers center fielder Joc Pederson, Mariners infielder/outfielder Danny Valencia and free agent left-hander Craig Breslow.

Rangers to sign James Loney to minor league deal

SAN FRANCISCO, CA - AUGUST 21: James Loney #28 of the New York Mets tosses to first base against the San Francisco Giants during the second inning at AT&T Park on August 21, 2016 in San Francisco, California.  The New York Mets defeated the San Francisco Giants 2-0. (Photo by Jason O. Watson/Getty Images)
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Free agent first baseman James Loney has reportedly signed a minor league deal with the Rangers, per FanRag Sports’ Jon Heyman. The deal includes an invite to spring training and a $1 million salary if he makes the major league roster in 2017.

Loney picked up a one-year stint and starting role with the Mets in 2016, slashing .265/.307/.397 with nine home runs in 336 PA. While his numbers were down a hair from the .280/.322/.357 batting line he produced with the Rays in 2015, he provided the Mets with a necessary, if underwhelming upgrade over an injured Lucas Duda through most of the season.

The 32-year-old infielder is expected to have some competition at first base, with at least five other candidates in the mix: Jurickson Profar, Ronald Guzman, Ryan Rua, Joey Gallo and Josh Hamilton. Rumor has it that the team is planning on platooning Rua and Profar in 2017, barring any impressive breakouts or injuries during spring training, though Loney could still provide the club with some veteran depth and a decent left-handed bat off the bench.