Brett Gardner scored the tiebreaking run on Alex Rodriguez’s sacrifice fly in the ninth, and the Yankees punched their ticket to the postseason last night with a 6-5 victory over the Los Angeles Angels.
Rodriguez homered and drove in three runs before Mariano Rivera earned his 41st save for the Yankees.
The win gave New York a six-game lead over Boston in the East and a 5½-game edge on the Angels for homefield advantage.
The Yankees blew a 5-0 lead before rallying to win for the first time in five games this season at Angel Stadium. Phil Hughes (8-3) allowed the Angels’ tying, unearned run in the eighth on Maicer Izturis’ RBI single.
In the fifth inning, Jeter set a major league record for shortstops with his seventh 200-hit season. He is one behind Lou Gehrig for the club record of 200-hit seasons.
Gardner led off the ninth with a single and stole second on a pitchout. After Matt Palmer (10-2) walked Jeter, and Damon put down a sacrifice bunt, Teixeira got an intentional walk from Darren Oliver to load the bases with one out — and Rodriguez’s drive to center was deep enough to get Gardner home.
One of the biggest hits of the night didn’t come from the lineup. It came from Phil Hughes. He struck out Vlad Guerrero and Torii Hunter in the 8th inning to earn the “W” for the Yankees. Hughes is providing to be a menace out of the bullpen.
Chad Gaudin started strong before fading in the fifth inning for the Yankees, who have won each of his five starts since he arrived last month in a trade with San Diego. While the Yankees have won these games, he has earned a no-decision in all of these games.
The Yankees have a 3:35pm ET date with AJ Burnett and Scott Kazmir. It would be nice to get the series from the Angels.