This is really great. I lack words to describe how awesome this feels.
Cliff Lee...zarking Cliff Lee, man. He was a witch tonight.
One jam. One spot of problemness all night, when some weakly hit balls and a bad Josh Hamilton throw resulted in a 1-1 tie and runners on second and third with one out.
And Cliff gets a weak grounder back to the mound, Jason Bartlett broke on contact and was caught in a rundown, and all of a sudden, there are two outs and runners on first and second.
When Elvis Andrus scored from second on an infield groundout, I felt the Rangers were going to win.
But when Cliff Lee got that weak tapper, and retired Bartlett, without the runner at second being able to advance, I knew the Rangers were going to win.
Before the series, there was a lot of talk about the Rangers' baserunning, and their tendency to run themselves into runs and out of innings. And the first three runs of the game were typical of that, the Rangers scoring all three as a result of aggressive baserunning, of taking chances that could have backfired and had all of us screaming about giving away outs on the basepaths. Andrus and Vlad scoring from second on infield outs, Nelson Cruz stealing third (after Cadillacing out of the box on a monster blast that looked like it was going to be out, but which stayed in the park), and scoring when the throw went into the outfield.
Cliff Lee is the story, Cliff Lee pitched two masterful games and showed without a doubt why the Rangers traded for him. He did everything in this series you could have asked for.
But there are three other guys who deserve a lot of credit, who were instrumental in carrying this team to its first ever series win.
C.J. Wilson was dominant in game 2, pitching like a true ace and shutting down the Rays.
Nelson Cruz had a huge series at the plate, going 8 for 20 with 3 homers.
And Ian Kinsler was 8 for 18 with 3 homers, including what looked to be the series-winning homer in game 3, and today's dagger to the heart, the 2 run homer to give the Rangers a 5-1 lead.
Wilson, Cruz, and Kinsler are guys who have, for one reason or another, attracted an undue amount of criticism from fans the past couple of seasons, who I feel, anyway, haven't gotten their due.
Those three joined Cliff Lee in picking this team up, putting it on their backs, and getting them across the finish line against Tampa.
An outstanding series.
An outstanding game.
I can't wait for Friday night, and game 1 of the ALCS.