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Yankees-Angels ALCS: Error in 13th Gives New York 4-3 Win in Game Two

Doug Rush@Doug_RushSenior Analyst IOctober 18, 2009

NEW YORK - OCTOBER 17:  The New York Yankees celebrate their 4-3 victory over the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim in Game Two of the ALCS during the 2009 MLB Playoffs at Yankee Stadium on October 17, 2009 in the Bronx borough of New York City.  (Photo by Al Bello/Getty Images)

Heavy rain was expected in the forecast for Saturday night. Most didn't even think Game Two would be played and expected it to be moved to Sunday at 4 p.m.

But Joe Girardi and Mike Scioscia opted to have Game Two be played on the scheduled night and it was a good thing, because baseball all around the world got a classic of a playoff game.

The Yankees had A.J. Burnett on the mound, making only his second career playoff start, while the Angels countered with Joe Saunders, who hadn't pitched in two weeks and was making his first start of the 2009 playoffs.

In the bottom of the second inning, with Nick Swisher on first, Robinson Cano drove the ball to deep right center for a triple and scored Swisher to put the Yankees ahead 1-0.

In the bottom of the third inning, Derek Jeter took a Saunders fastball and drilled it through the right-field winds and over Bobby Abreu's head for a solo home run and the Yankees were now ahead 2-0.

Burnett was pitching a solid game through the first four innings, but ran into some trouble in the fifth inning.

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With Maicer Izturis on from a lead-off double at second, Erick Aybar singled up the middle to score Izturis and the lead was now 2-1.

Burnett threw a wild pitch with Vladimir Guerrero up, which allowed Aybar to score to tie the game at 2-2. Guerrero ended up grounding out to keep the game tied.

With Burnett and Saunders, the game stayed at 2-2 and it became a battle of the bullpens.

Burnett went 6 1/3 innings, allowed three hits, two runs, walked two and struck out four in another fine performance.

Saunders went seven innings, allowed six hits, two runs, walked one and struck out five in a good performance.

Phil Coke and Joba Chamberlain each got an out in the seventh in relief of Burnett.

Phil Hughes came into the eighth inning and got the first two outs, and Mariano Rivera got the final out.

Kevin Jespen came in relief of Saunders and pitched two scoreless innings.

Rivera continued to dominate the Angels hitters, as he pitched 2 1/3 scoreless innings in 25 pitches.

In the bottom of the tenth, with Melky Cabrera on first, Jorge Posada hit a ground ball that was fielded by Erick Aybar and threw to first in what many thought was a double play.

But Cabrera ended up being called safe by the second base umpire because when the replays on FOX were shown, Aybar never touched second base to start the double play.

But the Yankees failed to capitalize on the break, so it didn't come back to hurt the Angels.

In the top of the 11th inning, with Alfredo Aceves pitching, Gary Matthews, Jr. walked and was sacrificed to second by Aybar.

Chone Figgins broke his hitless streak with a bloop single to left field and scored Matthews to give the Angels a 3-2 lead, their first of the ALCS.

The Angels brought in closer Brian Fuentes to get the job done for the Angels. It didn't work out like expected for the Angels and Fuentes.

In the bottom of the 11th inning, Alex Rodriguez drilled a Fuentes fastball and drills it into the right field seats over Abreu's head for a game-tying home run, making it 3-3. Yankee Stadium was electric and the Bronx was alive.

In the top of the 13th inning, with David Robertson pitching, Aybar hit a ground ball to second, but the ball went under Cano's glove and into the outfield for an error. Figgins sacrificed Aybar over to second with a bunt, giving the Angels two chances to score after they intentionally walked Abreu.

But Robertson bore down and got Torii Hunter to ground out to short and Guerrero to ground out to second to keep the game tied at 3-3. For the second time in the playoffs, Robertson came up huge in another tough spot.

In the bottom of the 13th inning, Jerry Hairston Jr. started it off with a lead-off single to center off Ervin Santana. Brett Gardner sacrificed Hairston over to second with a bunt and now the Yankees had two chances to win the game after they intentionally walked Cano.

Cabrera hit the ball weakly to second, and instead of getting the sure out at first, Izturis tried to turn a double play and the ball was thrown away nowhere near Aybar, which allowed Hairston to come around to score and gave the Yankees a 4-3 victory.

The Yankees won a wild one on a cold night that ended somewhere around 1:07 in the morning, but the remaining fans at Yankee Stadium were buzzing with celebration, because the Yankees were now ahead in the series 2-0.

Robertson picked up the win for the Yankees, while Santana took the loss.

After the game, Burnett was shown with the customary victory pie and found Hairston, who was doing a post-game interview, and planted it right in his face, which caused the crowd to cheer and Hairston to pump his fists in celebration.

The Yankees got key hits from Jeter and one huge home run from A-Rod, who continues to silence his critics with a monster October.

Johnny Damon, Swisher, Cano and Cabrera all seem to be having better series with key hits in both games, especially this one. Damon has risen his average from .083 to .217, which is a good step in the right direction.

This game had a lot of missed opportunities. The Yankees left 20 men on base and nearly lost the game in the 11th, but A-Rod made the save on this night, despite leaving five runners on, four of which came when he popped up with the bases loaded.

However for the Angels, they left 28 runners on base. Guerrero alone left eight runners on; Abreu left five runners on and Hunter left four on. The 2-3-4 hitters of the Angels left a total of 17 of the 28 total men on base, which is absolutely terrible.

When the game came down to it, the Yankees capitalized on opportunities with A-Rod's game-tying home run and the ball booted by Izturis to allow Hairston to score.

When you make enough bad plays against a good team like the Yankees, they will find a way to turn it around and score on you.

In the end, it was dramatic, exciting and a great game with a wild finish that favored the Yankees. This was playoff baseball at its best.

The ALCS will now move to Southern California where the weather is expected to be sunny and warm, the complete opposite of New York's cold and rain.

Game Three will be on Monday at 4 p.m. at Angels Stadium. The Yankees will send up Andy Pettitte, while the Angels will counter with Jered Weaver.

For Yankees Universe, five games down, six to go until World Series championship number 27.

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