ARLINGTON, Texas -- Is this late October or July? It's a beautiful night down South. Bright sunshine, temperatures in the 70s at Rangers Ballpark for Game Three of the World Series. I might get a sunburn in this auxiliary press box. What in the world was I thinking when I brought a jacket? Stupid Yank.
Prior to the game, Tommy Hunter did all the usual interviews the next day's starter always does in the media room. He's listed to go in Game Four. But seriously now, if the Rangers lose tonight and fall into a 3-0 hole, is there anyway they don't come back with Cliff Lee? Are you going to let Tommy Hunter decide your fate and possibly let Cliff Lee go into free agency without a second start in the World Series?
So that's something to keep in mind if this one starts heading in the Giants' direction. Maybe the Rangers reaffirm what I saw in the clubhouse yesterday and get energized from playing at home. We'll see.
By the way, the food in this place is being done by Sportservice, the Buffalo-based arm of Delaware North. You can go here to read the company's rundown of all their offerings and their estimates of how much people will be chowing down here this weekend. What a character-filled place. Huge, soaring ceilings, Lone Star designs all over the place. You have no question where you are. The concessions have great signage too (right).
A few miles from here, you and I might care a lot but no one down here does as the Sabres play their second straight game without Craig Rivet. Be sure to follow John Vogl's posts all evening at the Sabres Edge blog. Pretty seminal moment for LIndy Ruff in his coaching career to bench the captain, don't you think?
Enough hockey in this space. Here's tonight's lineup:
San Francisco: Torres, cf; Sanchez, 2b; Huff, 1b; Posey, c; Burrell, lf; Ross, rf; Uribe, 3b; Sandoval, dh; Renteria, ss. Pitcher: Sanchez
Texas: Andrus, ss; Young, 3b; Hamilton, cf; Guerrero, dh; Cruz, lf; Kinsler, 2b; Francoeur, rf; Molina, c; Moreland, 1b. Pitcher: Lewis
Live updates to come once Kelly Clarkson is finished.
Top-1st: After Nolan Ryan fired a ceremonial first pitch to Pudge Rodriguez (with both getting huge cheers, left) and Rangers Hall of Famer Rusty Greer delivered the game ball to the mound, we're underway at 6 p.m. Central with a real pitch, a called strike from Lewis to Torres. The temperature is 79 degrees. There's just a few glimmers of sun/shadow in the infield. Probably not much problem at all and will certainly be no problem in a few minutes as the sun continues to descend below the upper rim of the stadium behind the RF corner. Just as the Rangers took the field, they showed a brief montage of Ryan highlghts. What got the biggest cheer? His noggin-pounding of Robin Ventura when the poor White Sox infielder charged the mound in the early 90s.
Lewis gave up a single to Sanchez and a walk to Posey but fanned Burrell to get out of the threat. Wow, does the ball carry well here compared to San Francisco. Huff is retired on a lazy fly to right that just about made the warning track. That's routine by the Bay. The flags are blowing hard straight in from right and center here although we don't really feel any breeze at all in the middle level. One other point: They got the white rally towels going here but I'm underwhelmed by the noise level, considering what it seemed like in the ALCS. It was much, much louder in San Francisco.
End-1st: Zip-zip. Burrell short-hops a Young single but makes a great catch against the wall on a Guerrero liner. In between, Hamilton lofted a first-pitch popup to Uribe in short LF. Hamilton drops to 1 for 9 in the series. Big bust so far.
End-2nd: Rangers take a 3-0 lead as Mitch Moreland comes up with a clutch two-out, three-run homer (right). It was a no-doubter to right that he golfed out in about a second. Cruz led off with a first-pitch double off the wall in center. Cruz went to third on Kinsler's grounder to short (not the smartest move but he got away with it). But with one out and a man on third, Francoeur jumped at the first pitch and grounded weakly to Uribe at third. Molina walked and Moreland fouled off four 2-2 pitches before jumping on an 89-mph fastball. Remember, they were 0-9 RISP in Game Two and had 12 straight hitless ABs in that situation until the home run, which was their first of the series.
End-4th: The Rangers hold their 3-0 lead as Lewis has taken 53 pitches to get through four innings and has allowed just two hits. Vogl sends me a message from downtown prior to the start of the Sabres-Stars game that no one within a hundred miles of here cares about today. Be sure to go to the link to get your Sabres updates (and sorry dude, not trading my chair this evening even if American Airlines Arena is as big as a hangar and is one of the nicer places I've seen a game in. Not to mention the Giants have done nothing against Lewis since the first inning).
Mid-5th: Lewis in complete control and it remains 3-0. The white towels are waving and we're having a "Deep in the Heart of Texas" sing-a-long. Totally awesome.
Bot-5th: We have a Hamilton sighting. He pounds a hanging breaking ball to deep right-center for a solo shot to make it 4-0, Rangers. Second two-out homer Sanchez has given up. The theme from "The Natural" plays and the scoreboard high atop the right field deck says simply, "HAMBINO". Guerrero walks on four pitches and Bruce Bochy takes a walk to the mound to get Sanchez. Guillermo Mota coming in. Texas in control. Looks like Vogl doesn't have to worry about taking out a second mortgage to change his plane home and try to find a game ticket to potentially see the Giants go for a sweep tomorrow night (sorry, dude).
End-6th: Still 4-0. Lewis has shut down the Giants on three hits.
End-7th: It's 4-1 after I had an Internet outage. Cody Ross pounded a solo homer with one out in the seventh on a full-count pitch off Lewis.
Mid-8th: Make that 4-2. On Lewis' 99th pitch, Andres Torres took him deep to right for another solo shot. Sanchez flied to left, on a solid play moving toward the wall by Cruz. Lewis got ahead of Huff, 0 and 2, but hit him in the foot with a pitch and he's gone. Darren O'Day in for Texas to face Posey. He needs one out to get them to Feliz. And he does it on a full-count pitch, inducing a grounder to short.
End-8th, 3 outs to go for Texas: It remains 4-2 and Feliz is coming in.
It's over: Feliz throws a 1-2-3 ninth and Texas wins it 4-2 to get within 2-1 in the series.
Game photos: Associated Press