Old Guard Pitchers Advance the Yankees Back to World Series.
The Yankees may have lost Game 3 of the series with Pettitte as their starter, but Dandy Andy presented himself in the mound in Game 6 with confidence and results that speak of his possible legend.
The 36-year old pitcher only allowed one walk, of which Howie Kendrick was the recipient. It was after Vladimir Guerrero hit an RBI, which he grounded off first in the second inning. Guerrero's move was considered to be a wrong move; obviously.
The Angels have committed a lot of mistakes during the series, some of which were not even part of their accumulated 8 error record in the ALCS. Some of those errors even helped the Yankees reach homeplate.
One easy and unwonted out happened during the sixth inning. Chone Figgins, after bunting Pettitte's 89 MPH fastball, grounded out to catcher Jorge Posada. He was out for tagging himself as he ran to first base. His left foot touched the ball.
In the same sixth inning, the Angels might've had a run when Vladimir Guerrero's double RBI advanced Torii Hunter to third base. The centre fielder's speed has been a concern to the Bombers. With two out, Mr. Iron Gaze saved the inning when Kendrick Morales hit the ball back to him for the third out.
With long time teammate Jorge Posada catching behind the plate, the left-handed pitcher struck out six Angels in 6.1 innings before Manager Joe Torre climbed to the hill. The man in the mound knew what was coming.
Pettitte may have wanted to stay longer, a lot of the fans wanted too, but he yielded to his former teammate's call and left his throne with 99 pitches and a 2.84 ERA.
The post-season veteran pitcher allowed seven hits and only had one run. The Yankee fans gave Pettitte a standing ovation while the Old Guard starting pitcher tipped his cap in recognition of the fans as he retired to the dugout.
Joba relieved for him, pitching against two Halos. He grounded out both to end the top of the seventh inning, but that was all for him. Joe Girardi already had plans for the eight and ninth inning.
The Sandman left the Yankee bullpen radiating assurance to the Yankees and at the same time threat to the Angels. "I knew I was going to be there for at least two," said Rivera who was called in the top of the eight.
Mariano Rivera is one of those pitchers you don't want to face when you're in the batter's box.
"Man, I don't even want to talk about Mariano Rivera right now," Torii Hunter said. "You don't want to face him. I don't plan on getting to him. If we do, the game is probably in the bag."
Chone Figgins was fortunate to hit an RBI on one ball - one strike count against Mariano Rivera. He was not the only blessed Angel of the night. With two outs, Figgins scored on Vladimir Guerrero's RBI giving the Angels their second and last run. It was the first post-season run given up by Mariano Rivera at home since Game 2 of the 2000 World Series against the Mets.
In the top of the ninth inning with two out, and just one more for the final one, Gary Matthews Jr. was pinch hitting for catcher Mike Napoli. It was an offensive move but obviously didn't work. Matthews, Jr. struckout swinging for the final out of the series. The pitch was not even a cutter.
The Bombers earned three runs in the fourth inning from Robinson Cano and Nick Swisher on Johnny Damon's RBI and from Derek Jeter who had to step on homeplate to give way for A-Rod who was walked with bases loaded.
They had another runs in the eight inning from Robinson Cano on Melky Cabrera's sacrifice bunt, which he earned as double on throwing error by Scott Kazmir, and from Brett Gardner on Mark Teixeira's sacrifice fly to centre field.
The New York Yankees defeated the Los Angeles Angels on 5-2 in Game 6 of the American League Championship Series. The Bronx Bombers will represent the American League in the World Series to face the defending champions Philadelphia Phillies of the National League on Wednesday night in Yankee Stadium.
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