ARLINGTON, Texas — Rangers OF Josh Hamilton had spooked the Yankees so much by Game 6, they threw the ball to the backstop when trying to issue him an intentional walk.
That's the kind of impact an MVP makes.
Hamilton, the top pick of the Rays in 1999, was voted the most valuable player of the AL Championship Series on Friday after the Rangers beat the Yankees 6-1.
Hamilton hit four homers and had seven RBIs. He batted .350 (7-for-20) with eight walks and scored six runs.
"I love my teammates. … Any of these guys could have gotten this," Hamilton said. "I don't want to talk about myself. … This group is here because they don't know how to fail."
The tattooed slugger whose career was derailed early by alcohol and drug abuse was doused on the field by his teammates with ginger ale after Alex Rodriguez struck out to end it.
"I'll be honest, in the ninth A-Rod was up and I'm tearing up out there, holding back in case he hit the ball to me," he said. "I'm so excited, so blessed."
Hamilton hit a three-run homer in his first at-bat in Game 1 and just kept hurting the Yankees. New York gave him an intentional pass an ALCS-record five times, three on Friday night.
The No. 1 overall pick in the 1999 draft didn't make his big-league debut until 2007, with Cincinnati, which acquired him from the Rays via the Rule 5 draft in 2006. A year later, he was traded to Texas.
He is a leading regular-season MVP candidate after hitting .359 with 32 homers and 100 RBIs.
yanks' turn to feel sting: Big stars, a big payroll and lots of big comebacks. It all makes for one big disappointment that the Yankees won't be repeating as World Series champions.
"We didn't accomplish what we set out to," manager Joe Girardi said. "And as I told my guys, this hurts. I've been through it as a player. I've been through it as a coach and now I've been through it as a manager. It's not a lot of fun watching other teams celebrate."
The Yankees were expected to beat the upstart Rangers, just like they had in their three previous postseason series in the late 1990s.
"They outhit us, they outpitched us, outplayed us and they beat us," Girardi said. "You take away one inning and one game, and it was very one-sided."
2B Robinson Cano and CF Curtis Granderson were the only reliable hitters. Mark Teixeira was hitless in 14 at-bats before being lost to an injury. Rodriguez had just four hits, and SS Derek Jeter scored only two runs.
On deck, a possibly wild offseason. Jeter's contract is up, as are the deals for Girardi, closer Mariano Rivera and starter Andy Pettitte.