CC Sabathia has been battling all game long, as he clearly didn't have his best stuff. And in no inning did he battle harder than the top of the sixth.
Armed with a 6-1 lead, Sabathia was able to strike out Vladimir Guerrero to lead off. But that's when things got hairy. David Murphy - in for the injured Nelson Cruz - ripped a single to right. Ian Kinsler followed by grounding a single up the middle. Jeff Francoeur then drilled a single into right to load the bases with only one out.
The Rangers had life, and Matt Treanor stepped up. Treanor had already hit a solo homer to give the Rangers their only run of the game the inning before. Against Treanor, Sabathia quickly got ahead 0-2, but then the count went full before Sabathia got the catcher to hit a groundball to third. Alex Rodriguez threw to first for the second out of the inning, and Murphy came in to score.
The situation then was second and third with two outs for Mitch Moreland. And this at bat - almost certainly the last at bat of Sabathia's game - was a long one. Sabathia threw eight pitches, and Moreland fouled off four of them before Sabathia came in with a surprise inside slider for a called strikeout. That strikeout ended the frame and preserved the score at 6-2.
Sabathia's pitch count stands at 112, and with Kerry Wood warm in the bullpen, he's probably through. His game:
93 pitches (48 strikes)
This is the first playoff appearance of the rookie Kirkman's career.