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NEW YORK (AP) — Pitching in the postseason is supposed to be stressful. Cliff Lee is making this all look so easy.
The ace of October overpowered the New York Yankees again, striking out 13 and sending the Texas Rangers to an 8-0 victory Monday night for a 2-1 lead in the best-of-seven AL championship series.
Josh Hamilton hit an early two-run homer off Andy Pettitte and started a six-run outburst in the ninth with a leadoff double. Lee allowed only two singles in eight innings and became the first pitcher to reach double digits in strikeouts three times in one postseason.
"It's tough to be better than that," Yankees slugger Mark Teixeira said.
Mr. Automatic improved to 7-0 with a 1.26 ERA in eight postseason starts. Three of those wins have come against the power-packed Yankees, including two in last year's World Series for Philadelphia.
New York won the other four games against the Phillies to take home its 27th championship, but now faces a tall task to repeat. The Yankees must win three straight against the resilient Rangers to advance without facing Lee in a decisive Game 7 at Texas.
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