ARLINGTON, Texas — The Yankees are already making it look like the 1990s all over again for the Rangers.
Marcus Thames' single capped New York's five-run eighth, and it went on to win 6-5 Friday night and take a 1-0 lead in the American League Championship Series.
"We know we've got fighters," second baseman Robinson Cano said. "And you've got to play 27 outs against us."
New York has won 10 consecutive postseason games against the Rangers, who were knocked out of the playoffs by the Yankees in their only three previous playoffs appearances (1996, 1998 and 1999). Texas is 0-7 in home playoff games, five of those losses to the Yankees.
"I don't know if we gave it away. We just didn't execute," Rangers manager Ron Washington said. "It certainly was our ball game. We needed six outs. We just didn't get it."
Friday's loss came despite building a 5-0 lead against Yankees ace CC Sabathia.
Sabathia was so bad in the first inning, his best pitch might have been one that bounced off the backstop. It sure wasn't the one that Josh Hamilton put over the wall. Or the four in a row that walked the No. 8 hitter.
Pitching nine days after his last outing, Sabathia opened the game looking nothing like the ace who led New York to its World Series title last year.
He allowed five runs in four innings, his worst start in six postseason games since joining the Yankees.
He opened the game with a walk and a hard-hit single. Both scored on the homer by Hamilton, who had been 1-for-10 vs. Sabathia.
Two more hits and a walk loaded the bases with two outs. It seemed to get worse when Sabathia uncorked a pitch that went to the wall about 40 feet beyond home plate.
Instead, a perfect carom brought it back to catcher Jorge Posada. He made a perfect toss to Sabathia covering the plate. He tagged Nelson Cruz's left elbow just before his foot reached the plate.
Michael Young's two-run double in the fourth made it 5-0.
Meanwhile, C.J. Wilson was cruising, doing a nice imitation of his new buddy Cliff Lee.
The "other" lefty in Texas' rotation, Wilson retired his first seven batters. He didn't give up a hit until the fourth and had a shutout through six.
Cano led off the seventh with a homer, the first left-hander to do so off Wilson since June 3, 2008. But Wilson retired the next three.
Then it all fell apart.
Wilson allowed Brett Gardner's infield single and Derek Jeter's run-scoring double then left to a nice ovation. By the time the Rangers got an out, they were on their fourth reliever.
Darren Oliver walked Nick Swisher and Mark Teixeira to load the bases.
Up stepped Alex Rodriguez, and out came Washington to call in Darren O'Day. Rodriguez lashed the first pitch off Young's glove at third and into leftfield for a two-run single that made it 5-4.
Washington brought in left-hander Clay Rapada to face Cano, who lined his first pitch into center to tie it at 5. When Hamilton mishandled the ball, Rodriguez moved to third.
All still with none out.
Cue Washington, who called on lefty Derek Holland to face Thames, who singled to left to bring in Rodriguez for a 6-5 lead.
The Yankees became the first team to win a postseason game after trailing by at least four runs in the eighth since the 2005 Astros, according to STATS LLC.