NEW YORK -- There's only one way this should end now.
There's only one thing that would make this week any more complete for the Rangers, and any more lost for the Yankees. There's only one way to make the story of the past two days complete.
Things don't always work out the way they should, but right now the way this American League Championship Series should end is with the Texas Rangers dog-piling in the middle of the Yankee Stadium infield.
And you get the idea that the Rangers know it.
They're a win away from the first World Series in franchise history, a win away with three games remaining on the ALCS calendar, a win away with the safety blanket of another Cliff Lee start if this ever gets to Game 7.
They're a win away with three to play, but with only one chance to finish it off here.
"To do it here would be really cool," C.J. Wilson was saying late Tuesday night, after a 10-3 Rangers victory in Game 4. "Mostly because it would mean we did it in commanding fashion."
They got this far in commanding fashion. They became the first team ever to come to New York in a postseason series and score eight-plus runs in back-to-back games against the Yankees. They took two games that many thought they might win -- the Cliff Lee game on Monday and the A.J. Burnett game on Tuesday -- and made them much more one-sided than anyone could have expected.
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The team with all the championships looks lost. The team that had never won a postseason series until last week looks so comfortable you would think they had done this before.
"They don't seem too intimidated, do they?" said Chuck Greenberg, the owner who finally got control of this formerly bankrupt team only a couple of months back. "This team is fearless."
This team is better than it gets credit for. This team is a lot more than Cliff Lee and 24 other guys, a lot more than Cliff Lee and Josh Hamilton and 23 other guys.
It's a team that never seemed bothered by an eighth-inning collapse in Game 1, a team that certainly wasn't bothered by falling behind 1-0 on Tuesday, on a Robinson Cano home run that might have been helped by fan interference.
The Rangers just kept on playing the way they have for months, a style that led to those two guys scoring from second base on infield outs last week against the Rays, a style that included Nelson Cruz tagging up at first base on Ian Kinsler's one-out fly ball in the sixth inning Tuesday night.
"That's our style," third baseman/team leader Michael Young said. "We were all in the dugout as soon as the ball was hit, 20 guys were yelling, 'Tag up.' "
It's not as if Cruz needed to hear them.
"That's the way we play," he said.
The Cruz play was important, because with first base open and two outs in a game the Yankees led 3-2, Yankee manager Joe Girardi chose to intentionally walk left-handed hitting David Murphy to pitch to right-handed hitting Bengie Molina.
When Molina sent Burnett's first pitch into the left-field seats, the Rangers had the lead they would only add to as the night went on -- and those stands emptied.
|The past two days, Bengie Molina and the Rangers have played like they own Yankee Stadium. (US Presswire)|
And yet general manager Jon Daniels was able to make the deals that turned the Rangers into a team that could beat the Yankees. He was able to add Lee, and also to add Molina.
"All the things we talked about came true," Greenberg said. "I remember talking about Cliff Lee in April, when Seattle got off to a tough start. I remember talking about Bengie Molina in May, when we could see that the Giants wanted to make room for Buster Posey.
"Everything [Daniels] set out to do, he was able to do, without being affected by all the craziness."
The Rangers haven't yet been able to accomplish everything they set out to do, because this team believed awhile back it could get to the World Series and win it.
"It's been our goal for a while now," Young said. "We know what our ultimate goal is."
Until two weeks ago, Young was the guy with 11 seasons in the big leagues and not a single game in the playoffs. The Rangers were the franchise that had never won a postseason series, the only franchise in baseball that had never won one.
He was the guy who had been there before, the guy who tormented the Yankees before, when he was playing for Angels teams that beat them in division series in 2002 and 2005.
And yet, Molina was also something else.
"I'm the fat kid that everyone makes fun of, the guy who is so slow," he said.
The Rangers were the franchise people made fun of, all the way up to and including that eighth-inning collapse in Game 1.
It's hard to look back now and think how inevitable it seemed that the Yankees would win, and that the Rangers would lose because they always had lost.
It's a lot easier to look back at the past two days -- or the past three games, if you want to add in Game 2 on Saturday in Texas -- and say that the Rangers have totally dominated this series.
It's easy to look ahead to Wilson's start against CC Sabathia in Game 5 on Wednesday, and think that this is the day when the Rangers could finally make it to the World Series.
More than that, it's easy to look ahead and say this is the day the Rangers should make it to the World Series -- not because another Rangers victory is certain, but just because after the way this series has gone so far, a Rangers victory would feel appropriate.
In Wilson's words, it would be really cool.