NEW YORK - Cliff Lee stumbled as he stepped up to his seat at the postgame podium.
"Booby trap right here," he said with a grin.
That was about his only slip-up all night.
The ace of October went through the New York Yankees like a buzzsaw again, striking out 13 and pitching the Texas Rangers to an 8-0 victory yesterday 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.
"I'm not satisfied with that," he said. "We still have some work to do here. A lot of fun to come into New York and get this first one. Hopefully we can come out here tomorrow and pick up where we left off."
It'll be a tough act to follow for Texas - Lee and the Rangers handed the Yankees the most lopsided shutout loss in their storied postseason history.
Pettitte, the ol' pro seeking his 20th postseason win, did his best to match Lee. But the longtime New York lefthander hung a first-inning cutter that Hamilton yanked over the short porch in right for his second homer of the series.
"It was just a bad pitch by me," Pettitte said. "At the time, you don't think that's going to win the ballgame."
Texas broke it open in the ninth against an ineffective David Robertson, getting RBI singles from Nelson Cruz and Bengie Molina, plus a two-run single by Mitch Moreland.
Rangers closer Neftali Feliz flung his 100 mph fastball in the ninth and finished the two-hitter in front of a nearly empty ballpark, adding two strikeouts to increase Texas' total to 15.