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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.

30 years ago, Dave Kingman sent a live rat to a female reporter

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Someone on Reddit’s /r/baseball page linked to this New York Times article from June 1986.

Dave Kingman, then with the Athletics, was 37 years old and playing in what would be his final season. He was fined $3,500, which is a little over $7,600 in 2016 dollars, for sending a live rat in a pink box to a female reporter, Susan Fornoff of The Sacramento Bee. The rat wore a tag that said “my name is Sue.”

Kingman refused to apologize, saying, “I’ve pulled practical jokes on other people and I didn’t apologize to them.”

According to Fornoff, Kingman had said to her that women don’t belong in the clubhouse, and Kingman had been harassing her since she began covering the team in ’85. The Athletics didn’t keep Kingman around after the season, and he ended up hanging up the spikes.

Pete Dexter wrote in more detail about the incident at Deadspin a few years ago. It’s a good read.

I wasn’t familiar with this story as I was still more than two years from being born when it happened. Sports media has made strides towards being more inclusive of non-white cisgender straight men, especially compared to 30 years ago. But, of course, we’re still a long ways away from an ideal world in which everyone is treated equally and everyone has equal access. Some of the best baseball reporting and analysis these days is being done by women and it’s nice to see sites, especially FanGraphs recently, make a concerted effort towards diversification.

D-Backs mulling optioning Shelby Miller to the minors

PITTSBURGH, PA - MAY 24:  Shelby Miller #26 of the Arizona Diamondbacks pitches in the first inning during the game against the Pittsburgh Pirates at PNC Park on May 24, 2016 in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.  (Photo by Justin K. Aller/Getty Images)
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Diamondbacks starter Shelby Miller continued to struggle on Tuesday, serving up six runs on eight hits and four walks with three strikeouts over five innings against the Pirates. His ERA, in 10 starts this season, stands at an unsightly 7.09 with 30 strikeouts and 29 walks in 45 2/3 innings.

The D-Backs acquired him from the Braves over the winter, sending 2015 first overall pick Dansby Swanson to Atlanta along with pitching prospect Aaron Blair and outfielder Ender Inciarte. It’s a trade they’d most likely take back if they had the luxury.

Instead, GM Dave Stewart is considering optioning the right-hander to Triple-A Reno to figure things out, Jack Magruder reports for Today’s Knuckleball. Stewart said, “We want to get him on track the best way we can. We will figure it out and do what’s needed.”

Miller is currently slated to start against the Padres on Sunday, so the club has a few more days to consider what to do. Josh Collmenter will likely be activated over the weekend, which would create a convenient way to put him back on the roster and deal with Miller.

Jackie Bradley, Jr. and Xander Bogaerts both extend their hitting streaks

BOSTON, MA - MAY 24:  Jackie Bradley Jr. #25 of the Boston Red Sox returns to the dugout after scoring in the second inning during the game against the Colorado Rockies at Fenway Park on May 24, 2016 in Boston, Massachusetts. Extending his hitting streak to 28 games.  (Photo by Adam Glanzman/Getty Images)
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Red Sox outfielder Jackie Bradley, Jr. and shortstop Xander Bogaerts both extended their hitting streaks on Wednesday night against the Rockies, and both did it in the bottom of the fourth inning.

Bogaerts led off the inning with a solo home run to left-center off of Chad Bettis. After David Ortiz walked and Hanley Ramirez grounded into a fielder’s choice, Bradley laced a single to left field. Bogaerts’ streak now stands at 18 games and Bradley’s is at 29. Bradley is tied with Johnny Damon for the fourth-longest streak in Red Sox history. He trails Tris Speaker and Nomar Garciaparra at 30 and Dom DiMaggio at 34.

The Red Sox entered Wednesday’s action averaging 5.87 runs per game, the best mark in baseball. The major league average is 4.28. Bogaerts and Bradley, unsurprisingly, have been a big part of the offense’s success thus far.

Nick Castellanos upset at being quick-pitched by Hector Neris

DETROIT, MI - MAY 25: Nick Castellanos #9 of the Detroit Tigers argues with home plate umpire Brian Gorman after a called third strike to end the seventh inning of the inter-league game against the Philadelphia Phillies on May 25, 2016 at Comerica Park in Detroit, Michigan. (Photo by Leon Halip/Getty Images)
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Tigers third baseman Nick Castellanos struck out in a big spot for the Tigers during Wednesday afternoon’s game against the Phillies. Trailing 7-5 with two outs in the bottom of the seventh, Castellanos had a full count with runners on first and second base facing reliever Hector Neris.

Castellanos had just gotten set in the batter’s box when he watched Neris sneak in an 87 MPH splitter for strike three to end the inning. Castellanos wanted home plate umpire Brian Gorman to intervene because of the quick-pitch, but he didn’t.

Here’s what Castellanos said after the game, via Catherine Slonksnis of Bless You Boys:

“He did. That’s the first time I’ve been quick-pitched, probably since A ball,” Castellanos said, visibly frustrated after the game. “It is what it is. I was frustrated that it happened. Usually, it’s been attempted, but it’s always been stopped. Usually (the umpires) give the hitter that courtesy, but just, learn, and move on.”

And here’s the MLB.com video.

The Tigers also took issue with Gorman for what they feel was unequal treatment in giving batters time out. The Phillies were granted time — some late, as Slonksnis notes — but the Tigers weren’t afforded the same luxury. Mike Aviles also believes he was quick-pitched in the fifth inning.

The Tigers lost the game 8-5 but won the series, taking two out of three from the Phillies. Manager Brad Ausmus missed the game due to his mother’s death, so bench coach Gene Lamont took the role on Wednesday afternoon. Ausmus is also expected to miss Friday’s game for his daughter’s graduation.