Jerry Hairston Jr. was the latest in what is seemingly an endless line of Yankees who have been pied after walkoff wins this season as the Yankees beat the Angels 4-3 in the 13th inning at home in the Bronx to go up 2-0 in the ALCS.
Hairston lead off the inning pinch hitting for pinch runner Freddy Guzman and slapped a single to center. After he was advanced to by a sacrifice bunt by Brett Gardner, Robinson Cano was intentionally walked to give the Yankees two base runners with just one out.
That’s when Melky Cabrera grounded into the hole at second base and Maicer Izturis threw to second to get the lead runner even though the throw should have gone to first base because it would have been nearly impossible for him to complete the double play.
The throw was off and the ball sailed behind third base as Hairston took off for home. It’s possible he could have been nailed at the plate but third baseman Chone Figgins bobbled the ball and the Yankee win was sealed.
AJ Burnett and Joe Saunders started for each team and both were very strong at times even though Saunders allowed two runs early and Burnett struggled at times. Through seven innings it became a battle of the bullpens though as the game was tied at two after five innings. The highlight of that battle was Mariano Rivera, who is still as good as ever, going 2.1 innings after entering the game in the 8th inning.
Alfredo Aceves gave up a run in the 11th, but Alex Rodriguez saved the day when he hit a home run off of Angels closer on an 0-2 pitch even though the on deck batter was Guzman. That tied the game at three and it stayed that way until the botched play in the bottom of the 13th that lead to Hairston winning the game.
Nobody can close out games against the Yankees these days. Angels fans have every right to be disappointed with their closer Brian Fuentes after he threw a fat meatball to A-Rod on an 0-2 pitch. A game like this also confirms that the Yankees bullpen has become a major advantage for them during the playoffs. The Angels got lucky getting scoreless innings from guys like 39-year-old Darren Oliver, but the performance the Yankees got has been one we’ve come to expect.
Line of the Night:
Rivera: 2.1 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 2 K. Vintage.
Game 3 is scheduled for Monday afternoon at 4:13 p.m. in California so we can finally expect some nice weather.