10/16/10 10:23 PM ET
Despite loss, Cano continues sweet swing
AL MVP candidate boasts .556 average after two ALCS games
By Ian Browne / MLB.com
With visions of the Game 1 meltdown still fresh in the Rangers' mind, Cano stepped up with two on and two outs in the ninth and drilled one to deep left.
But this time, left fielder Nelson Cruz flagged it down just in front of the wall and Texas hung on for a 7-2 victory over the Yankees in Game 2 to even the American League Championship Series.
"I hit that one pretty good," said Cano. "I thought it was going to be at least over his head."
It's understandable why Cano would think that. Through the first two games, he is hitting .556 (5-for-9), with three runs, one double, two homers, three RBIs and a 1.333 slugging percentage.
How is Cano feeling at the plate?
"Me? I think I feel good," said Cano. "But I would say what I did today doesn't mean anything because we lost."
Just like in Game 1, the Yankees fell into an early 5-0 hole. But Cano provided the first spark in the fourth, lining a double to center. He scored on a single by Lance Berkman.
By the sixth, the Texas lead had swelled to 7-1, but there was Cano again, hitting a mammoth solo shot to right that traveled an estimated 435 feet.
"He's done it all year," said Berkman. "I've seen him for two months and continue to be impressed with the way he's swinging. He's a great player."
Cano had another chance in the seventh, when the Yankees had two on and two outs against Chad Ogando. But Cano struck out on 96-mph heat.
"He wasn't tough," Cano said. "He threw some pitches right down the middle that I just fouled off. Sometimes you get your pitch and you miss it. He's got good stuff."
It was also an eventful day for Cano on defense. When the Rangers pulled off their double steal in the first, Cano stopped short of the bag to field the throw from Jorge Posada and quickly fired it back home to try to get Elvis Andrus. But his throw was too late, and Andrus successfully nabbed home. If Cano had tagged Josh Hamilton, the inning might have been over without the run scoring. It was a reaction play.
"I thought I had a chance at home, but he beat the throw. You don't want that run to score," Cano said. "If I realized I didn't have a chance at home, I would just tagged him and gotten the out."