The Texas Rangers defeated the New York Yankees in a game that was a roller coaster of emotions 10-3. Considering his -0.1 WAR on the season, A.J. Burnett pitched masterfully for 5.2 innings before allowing a three-run home run to Bengie Molina. With the win, the Yanks are now one game away from being eliminated.

A picture worth a thousand words - Jim McIsaac / Getty Images

Final 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 R H E
Rangers 0 0 2 0 0 3 2 0 3 10 12 0
Yankees 0 1 1 1 0 0 0 0 0 3 7 0

After watching a very controversial second inning, I guess now there can officially be no argument against instant replay. Robinson Cano hit a towering shot to right field, which barely eluded the glove of Nelson Cruz for a solo shot. However, fans sitting in the front row touched Cruz’s glove as he went up to make the grab. However, right field umpire Jim Reynolds, now the most famous right field umpire since the Jeffery Maier affair in 1996, ruled that the ball was hit far enough for a home run, which is the umpire’s judgment. Two batters later, Lance “Fat Elvis” Berkman hit a no-doubt-about-it home run down the right field line for another solo home run. Again, Rangers’ manager Ron Washington came out to argue that it went foul, and this time, he was right. Instant replays showed the ball went foul by less than a foot. Love or hate the Yankees, technology, America, or freedom, this has been by far the best use of instant replay in Major League Baseball yet. Bud Selig needs to take enhancing instant replay in a larger capacity into further consideration for next year.

And now onto the real story of the game: the starting pitchers. A.J. Burnett looked like the man that the Yankees thought they got when they signed him last offseason for 5.2 innings. He retired the first six batters he faced, three via the strikeout. He allowed two runs in the third on only one hit and no balls left the infield. However, in the bottom of the sixth, with two outs and two runners on, Texas catcher Bengie Molina hit a three-run home run down the left field line that never hooked foul. This shot deflated the once boisterous crowd which lived and died with A.J. for the first half of the ballgame. Although he retired Mitch Moreland on the next pitch, the damage was clearly already done.

Tommy Hunter was neither efficient nor effective, but he limited potential damage from the Yankee offense. Despite the Yankees raking balls left and right, he still got the big outs when it really mattered. Even though he only went 3.1 innings, the Texas bullpen, which was considered inferior to the Yankee ‘pen prior to the series, out-dueled the Yankee lineup for a third straight game. Don’t believe me? In 5.2 innings of work, the Ranger bullpen allowed two hits and four walks while the Yankee bullpen allowed five runs, seven hits, and two walks in only three innings.

Starting Pitcher IP R H K BB HR
T. Hunter 3.1 3 5 5 0 1
A. Burnett 6 5 5 4 3 1

Adding injury to insult, Yankees first baseman Mark Teixeira went down trying to beat out a double play in the fifth inning. About ten feet from the bat, he pulled up limp and essentially collapsed, grasping his right hamstring. He had to be helped off the field and was replaced at first by Nick Swisher. He will undergo an MRI this evening. If he is unable to go, he will be able to be replaced on the ALCS roster, but that will make him ineligible for the World Series roster…

Update (12:33 AM) – Per the Yankees LoHud Blog, Mark Teixeira is out for the rest of the season with a bum hamstring. In a move that makes little to no roster sense, utility infielder Eduardo Nunez will be added, probably because Eduardo is currently with the team and Juan Miranda is not. Regardless, we’ll miss you tomorrow and however many games are after that, Mark.

Looking for something positive to hang your hat on? Derek Jeter and Robinson Cano have done nothing to diminish the Yankees’ chances of winning this series. Derek Jeter broke two postseason records tonight: he scored his 32nd career ALCS run and hit his 30th career playoff double, both breaking records held by Bernie Williams. Robinson Cano hit his third home run of the series in the second inning. His 2-3 day brings his 2010 playoff batting average up to .407.  If it weren’t for some guy on the Texas Rangers named Josh Hamilton who can’t do anything but hit home runs, Cano would be the only viable AL MVP candidate.

Game 5 will be played tomorrow afternoon at 4:07 PM and can be viewed on TBS. If the Yankees win, they will bring the series to Texas down 3-2. If the Yankees lose, the 2010 season will be done. Regardless, I’m looking forward to seeing CC Sabathia on the mound tomorrow.