We got 'em right where we want 'em. Haha here they come! I text a friend right after the third out of the top half of the ninth fell into Nick Swisher's glove in right. Not that you'd want to be down 3-1 with your last ups and Joe Nathan staring you in the face, but again we've seen this movie play out before. This happened in the Game Four of the World Series eight years ago in similar fashion, but the Yankees and Twins only need go back to mid-May to know how this one would turn out.
Minnesota usually the team of solid fundamentals will look back at two things in this game aside from the homeruns, a base running gaffe by Carlos Gomez in the fourth when Gomez got tagged out rounding second on a hit to right by Matt Tolbert before Delmon Young could score and a blown call down the leftfield line on what should've been a ground-rule double for Joe Mauer in the eleventh.
Yet the Twins and Nick Blackburn still held the Yankees hitless through four and scored first once again in the sixth on an RBI triple to left by Brendan Harris which plated Young. But the Twins only got to enjoy that lead about as long as they had to celebrate winning the AL Central crown.
Derek Jeter much like in game one following an inning the Twins scored got the Yankees back on track with a ground-rule double to the Yanks bullpen. Johnny Damon drew a walk and Alex Rodriguez ripped a two-out game tying RBI single to left and Jeter came around to score.
In the eighth the Twins scrapped out two runs initiated by a two-out walk from Phil Hughes to Carlos Gomez. Harris picked up another hit and with two on Nick Punto hit one to center scoring Gomez to put the Twins back on top. Some may question why Mariano Rivera wasn't brought in a batter earlier, but the damage was done and Rivera gave up an RBI single to Denard Span scoring Harris and making the point moot.
So after Rivera held the Twins at bay in the ninth, that setup the dramatics for the bottom half of that frame.
With two outs Mark Teixeira ripped a single to right. And that's when Joe Nathan who hadn't surrendered a HR with anyone on base all season gave it up to A-Rod who parked a bomb to deep center, evening the contest at 3-3. Can you say bedlam in the Bronx?
Alfredo Aceves got out of the tenth stranding runners at the corners and getting Orlando Cabrera to fly out to right ending the threat.
In the bottom half, Jorge Posada sliced a broken bat single to center and was pinch run for by Brett Gardner. Gardner made life hell for Nathan, stealing second on Mauer and consequently reaching third after a Nathan pick-off attempt went into centerfield with the best throw this post-season this side of Mark DeRosa.
After Jeter was walked intentionally to setup the double-play, the Twins got one of the very un-conventional variety. With the lefty Jose Mijares on to match-up against Damon and one out, Gardner was off at the crack of the bat from Damon and got doubled off on the liner to short to retire the side.
Damaso Marte came on in the eleventh to face Mauer and Mauer sliced what looked like a ground-rule double to left. But apparently having six umpires including two down the lines isn't enough. Mauer did pick up a hit as did Jason Kubel who followed him and while one can play the fallacy of the pre-determined outcome as to how the Yankees would've pitched and played it in that spot, one would reason the Twins probably score at least one run in that situation.
David Robertson came on to relieve Marte and gave up a hit to Michael Cuddyer and the runners moved up station to station. With the bases loaded and no outs, Robertson earned his pinstripes and what would eventually be his first post-season win, much like another un-heralded Yankee reliever from their farm system at the time Mariano Rivera in another ALDS Game 2 in 1995 where another # 13 hit a walkoff HR against Tim Belcher and the Seattle Mariners to put the Yankees up 2-0 in that series.
Robertson got some nice glove work from Teixeira at first on a liner by Young. Then Gomez hit into a fielder's choice as Mauer was forced at home. Finally Robertson got Harris to do what Rivera and A.J. Burnett and his six strikeouts could not, fly out to end the inning.
Moving on to the bottom half of the inning, where A-Rod played the part of Tino Martinez in the ninth, Mark Teixeira played the role of Derek Jeter in the eleventh much like that night where October turned to November in Game four of the 2001 World Series.
Teixeira ripped a frozen rope down into the leftfield seats for the winner faster than John Sterling can say for the 15th time "this is one of the most dramatic games you will ever see!"
Once again this team proved much like the Super Bowl XLII Champion New York Giants, they tend to thrive and excel when their backs are up against the wall. Always believing that for all along they had 'em right where they want 'em.
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