Sunday, October 18, 2009

Yankees Win One for the Ages, Take 2-0 Lead in ALCS

Players of the Day for Saturday, October 17, 2009 NY Yankees 4 LA Angels 3, 13 innings At the center of the storm again was Alex Rodriguez. When the Angels scored the go-ahead run in the top of the 11th inning, Rodriguez delivered the blow that may have turned this series from a close call into a rout - maybe even a sweep - for the Yankees when he homered to lead off the bottom half of the inning. The Angels had called on their closer, Brian Fuentes, to get the final three outs and steal away home-field advantage by taking game 2 of the seven-game ALCS. An Angels win would have tied the series at 1-1 with three games in LA upcoming. Alex Rodriguez, however, had other plans. He belted an 0-2 pitch just over the wall in right field for an opposite-field, game-tying, series-changing home run. The Yankees were back in the game. After Fuentes retired the three batters after Rodriguez, the teams traded missed opportunities in the 12th inning. Rodriguez came up again in the bottom of the 12th with 2 outs and the bases loaded, but this time flied harmlessly to center to end the inning. The Yankees won the game in the bottom of the 13th when Jerry Hairston Jr. bolted home on a throwing error by Maicer Izturis, who tried to go to second after ranging far towards first base to field Melky Cabrera's ground ball. The throw was inside the bag and out of the reach of shortstop Erick Aybar and skipped into short left field. Hairston, who had singled and taken second on Brett Gardner's sacrifice bunt, was already bolting toward third base on contact, and scored easily as the Angels had no chance of getting him at the plate. Isturis' error was an attempt to force Robinson Cano at second. Cano had been intentionally walked with one out to set up the force situation. It was the second error of the game and 5th of the series by the Angels, and they have proven costly. The series heads to Los Angeles, where the weather will assuredly be much better than it was for the two games in New York. Scheduled starters for the 4:13 pm EDT Monday get-together are Andy Pettitte for the Yankees and Jered Weaver for the Angels. Pettitte needs one more win to surpass John Smoltz for career post-season wins. Pettitte won for the 15th time - tying him with Smoltz - with a 6 2/3 inning effort in the Yankees' ALDS clincher over the Twins last week. Weaver is 2-1 with a 1.88 ERA in 3 post-season starts, all of them in divisional series play. This will be his first championship series start.

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