In the bottom of the eighth, Phil Hughes gave up a double to Nick Punto. Span singled up the middle to Jeter who fielded the ball and, seeing Punto rounding third, threw the ball home. Posada threw the ball to A-Rod who tagged out Punto. With the 2-1 score preserved, the Yankees added a couple insurance runs in the top of the ninth. A different Twins pitcher walked Teixeira, A-Rod and Matsui, loading the bases. Joe Nathan then took the mound and gave up a single to Jorge Posada, scoring Teix. Cano followed with a single that scored A-Rod and the Pinstripes had a 4-1 lead with Mo on the mound in the bottom of the ninth. Three outs later the Minnesota magic was over and the Yankees had a date with the Angels for the ALCS.
Damon: Johnny’s bat has continued to be quiet this postseason. He went 0-4, striking out all four times.
Swisher: The Yankees’ other corner outfielder also went 0-4, striking out three times and stranding three base runners.
Pettitte: The Bombers got another great outing by a starting pitcher, as Andy Pettitte held a perfect game through four. He went 6.1 innings and gave up one earned run on three hits while striking out seven.
A-Rod: There is no way anyone can say Alex Rodriguez cannot perform in clutch situations any more. In each of the three ALDS games A-Rod came through with a big hit when the Yankees needed it. Sunday night he went 1-3 with two runs scored and an RBI. So far A-Rod is 5-11, with three runs scored, two home runs and six RBIs for the postseason.
Posada: Jorge not only called a great game, but gave Pettitte all the run support he would need. He went 2-4 with two RBIs and a run scored.
Bullpen: Joba, Hughes and Mo combined to go 2.2 innings, giving up only four hits and holding the Twins scoreless.
Miscellaneous Notes from the 2009 ALDS:
- The Yankees stayed perfect against the Twins, winning all ten games against them this year.
- The Yankees will meet the Angels in the ALCS. The Halos also swept their opponent, as the Red Sox collapsed in epic fashion, failing to hold onto a 5-1 lead in the final innings yesterday afternoon.
- The last time the Yankees won an ALDS series was 2004.
- Pavano had 9 strikeouts, a postseason record for the Twins hurler.
- Gardenhire used six pitchers Sunday night. Four pitchers came off the bench for the Twins in the ninth inning alone. He appears to have no fear of emptying out his bullpen in do-or-die games as he used eight pitchers in Game 163.
- Despite the fact that he was the number nine batter and hit .228 on the season, Nick Punto owned the Bombers’ pitching during the ALDS. He hit .444 and had a RBI. His OPS was 1.139
- Pettitte is tied for first with 15 postseason wins. He is also first in starts (36) and innings (224.2). His 146 strikeouts in the postseason put him third.
In the On Deck Circle:
The Yankees will get a few days to rest and prepare for the Angels, who are on a mission of their own after quickly and decisively dispatching the Red Sox from the playoffs. The Red Sox put up no offense in the first two games of the series and proceeded to blow a 5-1 lead in the late innings of Game 3. The first game of the ALCS will be Friday at Yankee Stadium, however, as of now there are no official times for first pitch and no pitchers announced to start. I will update when we know more!