Dodgers tie series, Yankees take early lead
The LA Dodgers came from behind to win the second game of the National League finals against the Philadelphia Phillies and tie the series. In the American League, the Yankees took the opener with a 4-1 win over the Angels.
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REUTERS - The New York Yankees used the strong pitching of CC Sabathia, some deft hitting and two gift runs to beat the Los Angeles Angels 4-1 in the American League Championship Series opener on Friday.
Sabathia gave up just four hits in eight innings and closer Mariano Rivera sealed the victory that gave the Yankees a 1-0 edge in the best-of-seven series.
Two of New York's runs were unearned as the usually sure-handed Angels made three errors and let what should have been an inning-ending infield pop up drop for a run-scoring single on a cold, blustery night in the Bronx.
The second game of the ALCS is on Saturday with A.J. Burnett scheduled to start for New York against the Angels' Joe Saunders, though a forecast of rain threatens to postpone the game.
Earlier, the Los Angeles Dodgers leveled their series for the National League pennant at 1-1 by beating the visiting Philadelphia Phillies 2-1.
The Yankees had 10 hits in the game, including two each from Derek Jeter, Johnny Damon and Hideki Matsui against Angels starter John Lackey.
They took the lead in the first inning when Jeter led off with a single to right and advanced to third base on Damon's bloop single to left. Damon moved to second base on left-fielder Juan Rivera's wild throw into the infield.
Alex Rodriguez brought Jeter home with a sacrifice fly, and Damon came around to score a gift run on Matsui's infield pop.
The pop-up fell untouched for a single between third baseman Chone Figgins and shortstop Erick Aybar, who each thought the other would make the simple catch.
Los Angeles cut the lead in the fourth when Vladimir Guerrero crushed a long double towards left-center and then scored on a single by Kendry Morales.
New York reclaimed a two-run lead in the fifth inning when Damon hit a double to left center and then was brought in by Matsui, who stroked the ball to the same part of the field.
In the sixth, the Angels gifted another run to the Yankees when Lackey issued a two-out walk to Melky Cabrera, then allowed him to reach second base when he threw wildly to first on a pick-off attempt.
Cabrera was then brought home by Jeter's single to center field to end the scoring.
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