The 2010 American League Championship Series (ALCS) was the best-of-seven game series pitting the winners of the 2010 American League Division Series for the American League Championship. The American League wild card-winning New York Yankees faced the American League Western Division champions Texas Rangers. The Rangers won the 2010 ALCS and face the National League champion San Francisco Giants in the 2010 World Series, the franchise's first ever appearance in the World Series. The series, the 41st in league history, began October 15 and ended on October 22. The Rangers had home field advantage in the series, as the wild-card team defers home field advantage in the LDS and LCS regardless of regular-season record.
The Rangers and Yankees had met in the postseason in each of the Rangers' three previous postseason appearances; the Yankees had won all previous meetings, 3–1 in the 1996 ALDS, and 3–0 in the 1998 and 1999 ALDS.
Friday, October 15, 2010 – 8:00 p.m. (EDT) at Rangers Ballpark in Arlington in Arlington, Texas
|WP: Dustin Moseley (1–0) LP: Darren O'Day (0–1) Sv: Mariano Rivera (1)
NYY: Robinson Canó (1)
TEX: Josh Hamilton (1)
The Yankees quickly fell behind as the Rangers got to their ace, CC Sabathia. In the first inning Josh Hamilton cracked a three-run home run to put Texas out in front. Michael Young added two more runs in the fourth with a double. Rangers starter C. J. Wilson had gone for seven strong innings, allowing only a single earned run, a solo homer by Robinson Canó.
In the eighth inning, New York left fielder Brett Gardner reached base on an infield single to lead off the top of the inning and scored on a double by Derek Jeter. Darren Oliver relieved Wilson and allowed back-to-back walks to Nick Swisher and Mark Teixeira to load the bases with nobody out for Alex Rodriguez. Rodriguez hit a two-RBI single, reducing the deficit to 5–4. Robinson Canó tied the game with a single and Marcus Thames followed with a single of his own to give the Yankees a 6–5 lead.
That lead would be enough, as Kerry Wood shut down the Rangers in the eighth and in the ninth Mariano Rivera secured his 42nd postseason save.
Saturday, October 16, 2010 – 4:00 p.m. (EDT) at Rangers Ballpark in Arlington in Arlington, Texas.
|WP: Colby Lewis (1–0) LP: Phil Hughes (0–1)
NYY: Robinson Canó (2)
TEX: David Murphy (1)
Once again the Yankees starter, this time Phil Hughes, lasted only four innings. The Rangers' Elvis Andrus scored on a double steal in the bottom of the first inning. David Murphy's solo home run in the second and three straight two-out hits by Mitch Moreland, Elvis Andrus, and Michael Young made the score 3–0.
Nelson Cruz hit a lead-off double off the right field wall in the bottom of the third and advanced to third base on Ian Kinsler's sacrifice bunt. Murphy and Bengie Molina's consecutive doubles increased the lead to five.
Robinson Canó answered with a lead-off double off the center field wall in the top of the fourth. Canó advanced to third on a wild pitch. Colby Lewis struck out Nick Swisher and Jorge Posada, but surrendered an RBI single to Lance Berkman. Berkman's hard hit just passed first baseman Moreland's glove but Moreland recovered the ball and caught Berkman between first and second base.
Cruz hit another lead-off double in the bottom of the fifth and scored on Kinsler's RBI triple. Hughes was then relieved by Joba Chamberlain. Chamberlain struck out Murphy and Molina, but surrendered an RBI single to Moreland.
Canó hit a solo home run in the top of the sixth inning, but, despite having runners in scoring position the next three innings, the Yankees never scored again.
This was Rangers' first postseason home game win, and it also snapped a 10-game losing streak to the Yankees in postseason.
Monday, October 18, 2010 – 8:00 p.m. (EDT) at Yankee Stadium in the Bronx, New York
|WP: Cliff Lee (1–0) LP: Andy Pettitte (0–1)
TEX: Josh Hamilton (2)
Rangers ace Cliff Lee continued his postseason dominance as he pitched eight scoreless innings on 122 pitches, striking out thirteen while allowing only two hits and one walk. Josh Hamilton's two-run homer in the top of the first inning gave the Rangers an early lead which they never relinquished. After the Hamilton home run, Yankees starter Andy Pettitte and reliever Kerry Wood combined threw 7 2⁄3 scoreless innings.
The Rangers padded their lead in the top of the ninth inning, scoring six runs off three Yankees relievers. Rangers closer Neftali Feliz, entering the game in a non-save situation, pitched a perfect bottom of the ninth inning to preserve the shutout. The Yankees' offense was just 1-for-14 with RISP over the last two games. Derek Jeter's postseason streak of getting on base in 21 consecutive games was stopped, as he went 0 for 4 and was not walked. His first at-bat was a pop-fly; the second, third, and fourth at-bats were strike-outs.
Lee's shutout was the first time that the Yankees had failed to score a run in a post-season game since being shut out by the Detroit Tigers on October 6, 2006.
Tuesday, October 19, 2010 – 8:00 p.m. (EDT) at Yankee Stadium in the Bronx, New York.
|WP: Derek Holland (1–0) LP: A. J. Burnett (0–1) Sv: Darren Oliver (1)
TEX: Bengie Molina (1), Josh Hamilton 2 (4), Nelson Cruz (1)
NYY: Robinson Canó (3)
The Yankees jumped to an early lead in the bottom of the second on a controversial solo home run from Robinson Canó. Canó hit the ball over the right field wall and right-field umpire Jim Reynolds ruled the ball a home run, but Rangers right fielder Nelson Cruz argued that there was spectator interference. Television replays showed that the fans did not illegally interfere with the ball directly, but that a few fans did touch Cruz's glove while it was over the field of play. Instant replay review was not used and the home run call stood. Two batters later, Lance Berkman hit the ball deep to right field and was initially ruled a home run by Reynolds, but the umpires elected to use instant replay review and overturned the call to a foul ball; Berkman eventually struck out looking.
The Rangers took back the lead in the top of the third. David Murphy led off the inning with a walk and Bengie Molina was hit by a pitch. A sacrifice bunt by Mitch Moreland followed by a RBI grounder from Elvis Andrus scored Murphy from third. Michael Young followed Andrus with an infield hit that drove in Molina.
In the bottom half of the third, Derek Jeter tripled and scored on a Curtis Granderson RBI single to tie the game at 2–2.
In the bottom of the fourth inning Alex Rodriguez was hit by a pitch, and Canó and Berkman each singled to load the bases. Nick Swisher struck out, and Rangers starting pitcher Tommy Hunter was replaced by Derek Holland. Brett Gardner hit a hard RBI grounder to shortstop Elvis Andrus, who forced Canó out at third but allowed Rodriguez to score, giving the Yankees a one-run lead.
In the top of the sixth inning, Vladimir Guerrero singled, but was forced out at second on a Cruz grounder that resulted in Cruz safely reaching first. Cruz then tagged up to second on Ian Kinsler's fly out. David Murphy was then intentionally walked to get to Bengie Molina. On the first pitch of the at bat, Molina hit a three-run home run to left field, giving the Rangers a 5–3 lead.
The Rangers continued to pile onto their lead in the top of the seventh as Josh Hamilton hit a solo home run against Boone Logan. Guerrero then doubled, Cruz walked, and Kinsler hit a bloop single to right field to extend the lead to 7–3.
In the bottom of the eighth, Holland walked Granderson and was replaced with Darren O'Day. O'Day then walked Rodriguez and was replaced by Clay Rapada, who promptly walked Canó. Finally, Darren Oliver came in and got Swisher to pop up and Berkman to ground out.
In the top of the ninth, Hamilton hit another solo home run off Yankees reliever Sergio Mitre which tied the ALCS home run records. Guerrero followed up with an infield single. Cruz then homered to left to make the score 10–3.
In the bottom of the ninth, Gardner singled and took second base on defensive indifference. Posada grounded out allowing Gardner to advance to third base, Jeter flew out, and Granderson lined out to Moreland, stranding Gardner at third base, and ending the game with a 10–3 score.
The Canó home run has been compared to the Jeffrey Maier play, according to many analysts. When asked about the Canó controversy, Maier replied, "it was pretty funny."
Wednesday, October 20, 2010 – 4:00 p.m. (EDT) at Yankee Stadium in the Bronx, New York
|WP: CC Sabathia (1–0) LP: C. J. Wilson (0–1)
TEX: Matt Treanor (1)
NYY: Nick Swisher (1), Robinson Canó (4), Curtis Granderson (1)
The Yankees struck in the bottom of the second as Alex Rodriguez walked. Marcus Thames popped out, then Lance Berkman walked. Jorge Posada then hit a RBI single for the first run of the game. Curtis Granderson followed with a single of his own, driving in another. Jeff Francoeur's error scored another, making the score 3–0.
The Yankees got two more runs as Nick Swisher and Robinson Canó hit back-to-back solo homers, extending the lead to five. Canó's homer was his fourth in the series. The homer also tied the ALCS home run records.
Sabathia gave up his first run in the top of the fifth as Matt Treanor homered. The Yankees responded in the bottom of the inning as Swisher walked and Canó lined out. Rodriguez then hit a double, followed by Berkman's sacrifice fly that scored Swisher.
In the top of the sixth, Vladimir Guerrero struck out. David Murphy, Ian Kinsler, and Francoeur hit consecutive singles. Treanor's grounder to third brought in a run, but Sabathia struck out Moreland to end the inning with runners on second and third.
Although Sabathia allowed two runs and eleven hits, he gave the Yankees six innings. Kerry Wood pitched two scoreless innings, and Mariano Rivera pitched the ninth inning to seal the win for the Yankees.
Friday, October 22, 2010 – 8:00 p.m. (EDT) at Rangers Ballpark in Arlington in Arlington, Texas.
|WP: Colby Lewis (2–0) LP: Phil Hughes (0–2)
TEX: Nelson Cruz (2)
Elvis Andrus doubled to lead off the bottom of the first, advanced to third on a Josh Hamilton single and scored on an RBI groundout from Vladimir Guerrero. Texas starter Colby Lewis shut down the Yankees until the top of the fifth, when Alex Rodriguez doubled and later scored on a wild pitch that appeared to hit Nick Swisher.
In the bottom of that same inning, with Mitch Moreland on third and two outs, Yankees starter Phil Hughes intentionally walked Hamilton to face Guerrero. Guerrero doubled to score both Moreland and Hamilton. Hughes was then replaced by David Robertson, who promptly gave up a two-run home run to Nelson Cruz to give Texas a 5–1 lead. Ian Kinsler added a run on a sacrifice fly in the seventh inning.
In the ninth, Neftali Feliz closed out the series for Texas, striking out Alex Rodriguez looking to send the Rangers to the World Series for the first time in franchise history.