The Yankees entered last night’s game finding out that the Angels had swept the Red Sox, then proceed to do the same themselves.
This sets up a four-day rest for both teams before they face off in the ALCS on Friday night. This was thanks to a 4-1 victory over the hapless, bumbling Twins.
Alex Rodriguez and Jorge Posada hit seventh-inning home runs to spoil Carl Pavano’s opportunity to frustrate New Yorkers one more time.
But baseball’s highest-paid player returned with a more positive outlook, and New York surged to the top of the AL East.
Mariano Rivera got the last four outs in the final baseball game at the Metrodome, preserving Andy Pettitte’s record-tying 15th career postseason win.
This pitching duel between former teammates Pettitte and Pavano ended with another first-round playoff victory in Minnesota for the Yankees, who also eliminated the Twins here in 2003 and 2004.
The Yankees aren’t about to let an opponent get away with overrunning the bases, as Carlos Gomez did in Game 2 to cost the Twins a run. Nick Punto then wasted his leadoff double in the eighth by failing to see that Denard Span’s single didn’t get past shortstop Jeter, and he was thrown out trying to retreat to third base.
Posada gave Rivera more room with an RBI single in a two-run ninth.
Pettitte, who retired 17 of the first 18 batters he faced, left Joba Chamberlain a 2-1 lead with one out in the seventh. He matched John Smoltz for postseason victories.
Rivera came in to get Mauer on a bat-shattering groundout to end the eighth after the Twins blew their chance to score against Phil Hughes because of Punto’s blunder.
Notes: The Yankees need to be more balanced. Aside from the power from A-Rod, a lucky home run in the 11th inning from Tex, and a home run from Posada last night, as well as timely hitting from Jeter, the rest of the line-up needs to wake up. They cannot do this against the Angels. The Angels have a good line-up and their rotation is evenly matched. We’ll have position by position breakdown later this week.