Friday, October 23, 2009

Angles Send ALCS Back to New York

Players of the Day for Thursday, October 22, 2009 LA Angels 7 NY Yankees 6 Down 3 games to 1 and facing elimination, the LA Angels put on a gutsy performance to take game 5 of the ALCS and send the series back to New York for game 6 and a possible game 7. John Lackey pitched admirably for the Angels, keeping the Yankees' powerful lineup in check through 6 2/3 innings of shutout ball. Leading 4-0 in the 6th with the bases loaded and 2 outs, manager Mike Scioscia nearly made the managerial gaffe of the playoff season, lifting Lackey for reliever Darren Oliver, who immediately - on his very first pitch - surrendered a bases-clearing double to Yankee first baseman Mark Teixeira, cutting the lead to 1 run. The Yankees were hardly through, however, scoring 3 more runs in the inning to take a 6-4 lead. LA battled back in the bottom half of the frame with three runs of their own, reclaiming the lead at 7-6, and keeping it with solid relief in the final two innings of Yankee at-bats. In the middle of both Angel scoring outbursts, was center fielder Torii Hunter (left). when the Angels jumped on Yankee starter A.J. Burnett for 4 runs in the first, it was Hunter's single which drove in the first two runs and Hunter who scored the third. In the fateful bottom of the 7th, Hunter worked a two-out walk off Phil Hughes with one run already in, to keep the rally alive. He later scored the final and go-ahead run on Kendry Morales' single to right. Hunter reached base every time he stepped to the plate, drawing two walks and singling twice. He scored two runs and drove in a pair. The series now shifts back to yankee Stadium, where the Yankees will try to wrap it up when Andy Pettitte starts against Angel hurler Joe Saunders. Game time is 8:07 pm EDT on Saturday.

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