New York Yankees pitcher CC Sabathia guided his side to a 10-1 victory over the Los Angeles Angels and a commanding 3-1 lead in the best-of-seven American League Championship Series.
AFP - CC Sabathia pitched eight innings on short rest and Alex Rodriguez continued his torrid postseason with his fifth homer as New York hammered the Los Angeles Angels 10-1 for a 3-1 series lead.
Ace lefthander Sabathia looked his dominant self, winning his third consecutive playoff game for the Yankees who need one more win to reach their 40th World Series in franchise history.
"I wanted to come out and command both sides of the plate," Sabathia said. "I knew it would be tough. It helped me that they were real aggressive at the beginning."
The teams have a day off before playing game five at Angels Stadium on Thursday when the Yankees can clinch the American League pennant.
Rodriguez smashed his two-run blast in the fifth inning and also scored three runs in the fourth game of the American League Championship Series. He has RBIs in eight consecutive playoff games to tie a Major League Baseball record.
"It feels really good," said Rodriguez, who homered for the third-straight contest. "I feel free and liberated. There is no profound answer. I am on a great team."
Rodriguez has five postseason home runs and is batting over .400 for the Yankees who are seeking their first World Series berth in six years when they lost in six games to Florida.
He went three-for-four at the plate and also had a stolen base Tuesday.
"The stolen base was a miracle," he joked. "This is the best I have felt all year."
Said Angeles manager Mike Scioscia of Rodriguez, "He's been as clutch as anybody could have hoped for on their side. He's a heck of a player. He's playing his game right now. We're obviously going to have to do a little better job of making some pitches on him."
Sabathia got the win, giving up just one run on five hits as he retired the final eight batters he faced. He had five strikeouts and walked two.
"We have got good chemistry and we got hall of fame players on our team," Sabathia said. "We got all the confidence in the world."
Melky Cabrera had three hits and knocked in four runs, and Johnny Damon belted a two-run homer for the Yankees.
The Angels halted a six-game league championship series losing streak with a dramatic 5-4 extra inning win Monday, but they couldn't find their bats in game four.
Pitcher Scott Kazmir gave up six hits and four runs over four-plus innings in the loss.
Yankees Mark Teixeira singled to lead off the fifth. Jason Bulger then relieved Kazmir, but Rodriguez smashed an 0-1 pitch over the outfield fence in left field. It gave the Yankees a 5-0 lead.
"The game slows down for you, no doubt about it," said Rodriguez. "You feel like you want to see the ball and hit it hard and not try to do too much. But the best way I can describe it is you feel like the game is slowing down for you a little bit."
Third base umpire Tim McClelland made a couple of controversial calls including a run down call in the fifth that benefitted New York. Yankees Jorge Posada walked and Robinson Cano hit a one-out double off Anaheim pitcher Darren Oliver to centre field.
Nick Swisher then hit a ball back to Oliver, who threw home to get Posada in a rundown. Angels catcher Mike Napoli chased Posada to third, where Cano was standing. Both players were off the base and Napoli tagged each of them, but McClelland ruled only Posada out, keeping the inning alive for the Yankees.
"I did not see that for whatever reason," said McClelland. "I'm just out there trying to do my job and do it the best I can. And unfortunately there was by instant replay, there were two missed calls."
Angels John Lackey will go against New York's A.J. Burnett in game five.
Date created : 2009-10-21