New York Yankees-Minneosta Twins ALDS: Phil Hughes Guides Yankees Back To ALCS

Doug Rush@Doug_RushSenior Analyst IOctober 10, 2010

NEW YORK - OCTOBER 09:  Starting pitcher Phil Hughes #65 of the New York Yankees throws a pitch in the first inning against the Minnesota Twins during Game Three of the ALDS part of the 2010 MLB Playoffs at Yankee Stadium on October 9, 2010 in the Bronx borough of New York City.  (Photo by Andrew Burton/Getty Images)
Andrew Burton/Getty Images

Going into Saturday night's Game Three, the Yankees had to be feeling very confident of their chances to sweep the Twins.

They were up 2-0 on the Twins and they had history on their side since Minnesota had not won a playoff game against the Yankees since 2004.

Now back in the Bronx at the new Yankee Stadium, the Yankees were sending up Phil Hughes to pitch Game Three. This would be the first time Hughes was making a start in the postseason for the Yankees, although he has pitched in relief for them in the past. Going up for Minnesota was left-hander Brian Duensing, looking to keep the Twins' playoff hopes and season alive.

All it took was the second inning to realize Minnesota's season and their chances of staying alive were all but done, because the Yankees had total control of this game from start to finish.

In the bottom of the second, Robinson Cano led off the inning by hitting the ball over Denard Span's head in center and got a lead-off triple.

One batter later, Jorge Posada drove in Cano for an RBI single and the Yankees were quickly on the board 1-0.

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In the bottom of the third, Nick Swisher crushed a two-out double to right center and Mark Teixeira drove him in with an RBI single to make it 2-0.

In the bottom of the fourth inning, after Cano got an infield single, Marcus Thames crushed a Duensing fastball to right field for a two-run home run and the Yankees were now ahead 4-0.

As the Yankees were scoring runs, the Twins were being left off the scoreboard by Hughes as he was just mauling the hitters at the plate.

After Matt Guerrier relieved Duensing, the Yankees continued to add onto their lead.

Curtis Granderson walked, then stole second with Brett Gardner batting and then was able to get to third on Joe Mauer's error and Gardner drove him in with a sac fly to left and it was now 5-0.

Hughes finished his final inning of work in the seventh as he polished off Delmon Young, Jim Thome and Michael Cuddyer.

Hughes pitched seven great innings, allowed four hits, no runs, walked one and struck out six. In his first playoff performance, he pitched a gem, which is exactly what the Yankees needed.

In the bottom of the seventh, Nick Swisher hit a solo home run to right field to add onto the Yankee lead as it was 6-0 now.

After Hughes, Kerry Wood came in and did struggle in the eighth inning. Danny Valencia led off with a double and Denard Span hit a single, setting up first and third with only one out.

Orlando Hudson singled up the middle to make the game 6-1. After Joe Mauer walked to load the bases, Yankees manager Joe Girardi pulled Wood and put in Boone Logan.

Logan was able to get Kubel to pop out in the infield for the second out and Young flied out to center for the third out and the Yankees were able to shut down any attempt for a Twins rally.

In the top of the ninth, despite it not being a save situation, Mariano Rivera came into the ninth looking to close out the ALDS and end the Twins' season.

Rivera got Thome to strike out for the first out, Cuddyer to fly out to right for the second out and Valencia to fly out for the final third out and just like that, the Twins season was over.

The Yankees win Game 3 6-1 and sweep the Twins 3-0 right out of the ALDS.

Hughes picked up the win for the Yankees, while Duensing took the loss.

In the series, the Yankees hit better than the Twins, pitched better than the Twins and overall, were just a better team than Minnesota. The Twins looked lost, couldn't get big hits when needed and were over-matched.

Most of the Yankees lineup had a pretty good series. Granderson may have stood out the most as he hit .455 against the Twins.

The Yankees now advance to the American League Championship Series and will await the winner of the Rays-Rangers series, where currently, the Rangers have a 2-1 lead going into Sunday.

So far, so good for the Yankees.

Three down, eight to go until No. 28 for Yankees Universe.


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