Yankees and Angels move one step closer to World Series
The New York Yankees beat the Minnesota Twins 4-1 to complete a three-game sweep of their divisions series and set up an American League Championship Series against the Los Angeles Angels.
Reuters - The New York Yankees beat the Minnesota Twins 4-1 Sunday to complete a three-game sweep of their division series and set up an AL Championship Series against the Los Angeles Angels.
The Angels rallied to beat the Red Sox 7-6 in Boston to complete a sweep of their own.
New York's Alex Rodriguez, who tied Friday's game with a home run in the bottom of the ninth, tied the score at 1-1 in the seventh with a long homer off Minnesota starter Carl Pavano.
Two batters later, Jorge Posada cleared the wall in left with another solo shot. The visiting Yankees added two more runs in the ninth to set up the clash with the Angels, the winner earning a spot in the World Series.
"We want to win a World Series," Yankees starter Andy Pettitte said. New York's last Fall Classic win came in 2000.
"We took a step here to move on. We're going to have a nasty series. It's going to be a war between us and the Angels."
In frigid Denver, the Philadelphia Phillies took a 2-1 lead over the Colorado Rockies in their NL division series with a 6-5 victory, snapping a 5-5 tie in the ninth.
Slugger Ryan Howard scored Jimmy Rollins with the winning run on a sacrifice fly off Rockies closer Huston Street, and Phillies reliever Brad Lidge pitched the ninth to finish the game, played in sub-freezing temperatures.
Their series resumes on Monday, as the Los Angeles Dodgers wait for their opponent in the NL Championship Series.
New York's seventh-inning surge broke up a pitchers' duel between Pavano and Yankees left-hander Pettitte.
Pettitte, who tied John Smoltz for most the post-season wins with 15, gave up three hits in 6 1/3 innings, walking one and striking out seven as New York improved to 10-0 against the Twins this season.
Pavano, a former Yankees pitcher, went seven innings and struck out nine without issuing a walk.
A base-running blunder ruined a Twins rally in the eighth after Nick Punto had led off with a double off Yankees reliever Phil Hughes.
Denard Span followed with a high bouncer up the middle and Punto charged around third base with an eye toward making dash to home, but shortstop Derek Jeter did not try to throw out Span at first base and instead threw to catcher Posada at home plate.
Punto slid to a halt and tried to scramble back to third, but Posada fired to third baseman Rodriguez, who tagged him out.Mariano Rivera came on to end the threat.
It was the last Twins game to be played at the Metrodome, and as the Yankees celebrated in the middle of the diamond, ground staff began digging up home plate to move it across the street to their new park.
Minnesota manager Ron Gardenhire saluted the Yankees.
"That's a great baseball team over there," he told reporters.
"You have to tip your hat to them, the best record in baseball. They just keep running great hitters up there.
"They deserve all he accolades. Great bullpen, bench, the whole deal. I hate it when we play against them because they kill us, but I enjoy watching Jeter and A-Rod and those guys play."