AFP - Alex Rodriguez belted a game-tying home run in the 11th inning and the New York Yankees went on to beat the Los Angeles Angels 4-3 in 13 innings Saturday to stretch their lead in the American League Championship Series.
A throwing error by the Angels' Macier Izturis brought the game to an end after five hours and 10 minutes - the latter innings played in cold, steady rain.
The victory kept the Yankees unbeaten in this postseason and gave them a 2-0 lead in the best-of-seven series from which the winners advance to the World Series.
"Wow, what a game," Rodriguez said.
Pinch-hitter Jerry Hairston jnr had opened the bottom of the 13th with a single off losing pitcher Ervin Santana.
Brett Gardner sacrificed and Robinson Cano was intentionally walked to bring up Melky Cabrera.
Cabrera hit a bouncing grounder between first and second and Izturis made the dubious decision to throw back across his body to get the force out at second base.
The throw eluded shortstop Erick Aybar and trickled behind third base, where Chone Figgins fumbled it. Hairston raced home for the winning run, sending Yankees fans who held on through the rain home happy at 1:07 in the morning.
"Izzy just tried to do too much," Los Angeles manager Mike Scioscia said. "You're not going to turn two."
While sloppy defense doomed the Angels, it was Rodriguez who kept the Yankees alive long enough to capitalize.
He led off the bottom of the 11th with a homer against major league saves leader Brian Fuentes to tie it up again.
Figgins had given the Angels a brief 3-2 lead with an RBI single in the top of the frame off Alfredo Aceves. It was Figgins's first hit in 19 at-bats in these playoffs.
Fuentes came on to try and close it out, but Rodriguez smacked an 0-2 pitch into the front row of the right-field seats.
"As soon as he tied it, we knew we were going to win this game," Hairston said. "We don't give up. We really don't."
It was the third homer of this postseason for Rodriguez, who has struggled in past playoffs.
The three-time Most Valuable Player has at least one hit and one RBI in every playoff game this year.
The series now shifts to Anaheim for game three on Monday, where Jared Weaver is slated to start for the Angels against Andy Pettitte.
The expected balmy southern California weather will be a welcome change after two games in wintry New York.
For the second night in a row, players were muffled in ski masks and hoods under their caps, the chill emphasized on Saturday by the rain.
Although most of the 49,922-strong crowd stuck around, many left their seats to seek shelter under balconies.
"This game was exciting from start to finish," Hairston said. "The energy in the stadium was unbelievable. I just wanted to make sure I was ready in case my name was called."
New York took the lead in the second inning against Angels starter Joe Saunders. Nick Swisher drew a two-out walk and scored easily on Cano's triple.
In the third, Derek Jeter drove a 2-0 pitch to the opposite field for his second home run of this postseason and 19th of his playoff career. That broke a tie with Yankees Hall of Famers Mickey Mantle and Reggie Jackson for third place behind ex-teammate Bernie Williams (22) and Manny Ramirez (29).