Tex powers Yanks to 2-0 series lead after A-Rod saves the day in the 9th


Thaaaaaaa Yankees win!

(What’s this?)

Two days after the Yankees and Twins kicked off their Division Series matchup, the clubs finally came together to give Game Two a go. Regular catcher Jorge Posada would ride the bench in favor of backup Jose Molina, who had demonstrated the ability to work well with starter AJ Burnett in recent starts. The Yanks were looking to take a commanding lead in the series while the Twinkies were hoping to keep their playoff heads above water. One team got their wish, but not before they rode the roller coaster you see above.

Starters Burnett and Nick Blackburn matched zeroes for the first five innings, but did so in very different ways. Burnett, with his personal catcher in tow, walked a tight rope all night. He put at least one runner on base in all six innings he pitched, and seven of the ten batters he let reach base didn’t even have to swing the bat. It’s not normally a recipe for success, but it did the trick tonight. Blackburn, on the other hand, kept the Yankees hitters off balance all night with a mix of sinkers and curveballs and changeups, taking a no-hitter into the fifth inning.

Minnesota drew first blood in the top of the sixth, when Burnett issued a walk to Delmon Young, who had drawn a grand total of 14 unintentional walks in 416 plate appearances this year. After Carlos Gomez struck out, predictably, pinch hitter Brendan Harris took Burnett’s 3-1 fastball and sent it deep into the left-centerfield. Teh bandbox managed to hold this one in, but the Twins were on the board thanks to a triple.

The Yankees would not be contained for long, answering back the very next inning. The Cap’n ground ruled a double into right center, and Johnny Damon followed that up with a walk to put runners at first and second with one out for the guys paid to drive in runs. Mark Teixeira, 0 for 6 in the series up to that point, flied out weakly to left, which brought last night’s hero – one Alex Rodriguez – to the plate. A-Rod spit on Blackburn’s first slider in the dirt, then send his next pitch through the 5.5 hole for an RBI single, knotting the game at one. Two games, three ribbies for the Yanks’ cleanup hitter, and he wasn’t done.

Burnett gave way to starter turned reliever turned starter turned reliever after an injury turned starter then turned reliever for the playoffs Joba Chamberlain, who got two quick ground ball outs before allowing a hit back up the middle to SuperMauer. Phil Coke came in and struck out Jason Kubel, who hits lefties like Jose Molina hits everyone. On came setup man Phil Hughes the next inning, who made quick work of Michael Cuddyer and Young. Carlos Gomez, a kid who has drawn just 47 unintentional walks in 963 plate appearances over the last two seasons, coaxed a free pass out of Hughes with two outs. Harris then laced his second hit of the night into the opposite field for a single, sending the speedy Gomez the third. Seven pitches later, #9 hitter Nick Punto looping a hanging curve in front of centerfield Melky Cabrera for a 2-1 lead.

Out went St. Phil and in came the Hammer of God, but Denard Span didn’t think much of the future Hall of Famer and singled to right to push the lead to two runs. Rivera escaped the inning without allowing any further damage, but the good guys were down two with ubercloser Joe Nathan looming in Minnesota’s pen.

An inning later, the Yanks were down those same two runs with just three outs to go against Nathan, and things looked bleak. Teixeira, now 0 for 7 in the series, took the first two pitches leading off the inning before lining a hard single down into the right field corner. With an RBI single already to his credit in the game, A-Rod came to plate needing to do anything besides make an out. He did that and then some.

The first pitch was a breaking ball in the dirt, the second a breaking ball off the plate, ditto the third. With a 3-0 count after three pitches well off the plate, it seemed like the Twins were pitching around the three time AL MVP, however it didn’t make sense to do so in that spot. The fourth pitch was a fastball down and in, called for a strike. Great pitch, no way any righthanded batter hits that ball with any authority. 3-1 is a classic fastball count and A-Rod certainly got his fastball, crushing it to deep into the Yankees bullpen to tie the game. In a Yankee career full of postseason disappointments, Rodriguez atoned for all past mistakes with that one swing. The game was tied, and the Yankees had new lease on life in the game.

The Bombers came up to the plate in the 10th looking to start a rally, and Jorge Posada did just that when he blooped a Nathan pitch in for a single. On came pinch runner extraordinaire Brett Gardner, who stole second before moving to third when Nathan tossed a pickoff throw into centerfield. Derek Jeter was intentionally walked to set up the double play, and the Yanks were in business with runners on the corners and just one out. Johnny Damon, mired in a month long slump, took the first four pitches from reliever Jose Mijares before fouling a pitch off for a full count. Mijares’ next offered was lined back up the middle, and it seemed like the Yanks were on their way to another walk-off win and a 2-0 series lead. Except Orlando Cabrera caught it, and Brett Gardner ventured too far off third. O-Cab made the quick flip over to double off Gardner, and the Yankee threat was squashed.

Damaso Marte march out the pen to take the rubber in the top of the 11th. Placed on the ALDS roster for two reasons and two reasons only, Marte allowed both of them to reach base. Joe Girardi turned to young David Robertson with SuperMauer and Jason Kubel standing at first and second with no outs, and K-Rob™ hung a curve to Michael Cuddyer, which he promptly dunked into the outfield to load the bases with zero outs.

Plate discipline is a wonderful thing. It’s not all about drawing walks and working deep counts, it’s about being selective and knowing what pitches to swing at. Luckily for the Yankees and Mr. Robertson, neither Delmon Young nor Carlos Gomez has much plate discipline. Young lined the first pitch he saw to Mark Teixeira for out number one, then Gomez grounded to Tex, who forced the runner at home for out number two. With two gift outs in his pocket, Robertson needed to coax an out anyway he could out of Brendan Harris, who up to that point had been a pretty big pain in the Yankees’ ass. The first pitch was a fastball strike, the second a fastball low for a 1-1 count. D-Rob’s third fastball was lifted in the air by Harris, but landed safely in the glove of new centerfielder Brett Gardner. Bases loaded, no outs, and the Yanks escaped unscathed.

Even though the Yanks staff had kept them in the game, the pitching tonight was downright dreadful for the pinstripers. The Twins 6-7-8-9 hitters reached base a combined ten times, and 15 of Minny’s 21 baserunners overall reached base with two outs in the inning. No Yankee pitcher managed to retire the side in order. The Yankees can’t count on the opposing team stranding 17 runners on base every night, but for tonight it was just what the doctor ordered.

After David Robertson pulled his Houdini act in the 11th, the Yanks were looking to their heart of their order to give them the win. Mark Teixeira led off the inning for his second straight plate appearance, and four pitches into his at-bat he sent Jose Mijares’ offering into the people beyond the leftfield wall. The Yankees won in walk-off and comeback fashion yet again, and declared to not just the Twins, but to all of baseball that WE WILL NOT BE STOPPED.

Categories : Game Stories, Playoffs


  1. Drew says:

    Is this the new “best game of the year,” Mike?

  2. JobaWockeeZ says:

    I don’t not believe what me eyes are looking at:

  3. Christos says:

    David Robertson for player of the game!

  4. Patrick T says:

    Nicely done, sir.

  5. Chris says:

    18% of the way to #27.

  6. BigBlueAL says:

    When the Yanks trailed 3-1 I admit I thought it was over and mustve stopped myself 10 times from adding a comment completely ripping the Yanks (maybe 1 or 2 slipped out but dont think so).

    When the Twins had the bases loaded in the 11th with 0 outs I was ready to write a comment talking about how I would have rather lost 3-1 then in 11 innings.

    If I learned anything tonight is think before you add comments ripping these Yankees (lesson learned because I dont think I let any crazy comments out and therefore get ripped for them) and always have fuckin faith in these Yankees!!!!!!!!

  7. Drew says:

    heh, oh yeah, I forgot the Twins got screwed on that Joe Mauer foul!

    • Mike Pop says:

      Ya, the ump really screwed the pooch on that one.

      You cannot miss that call when you’re that close. I’ll take the gift but I couldn’t believe he missed that.

    • Drew says:

      lol Tim Tschida says it’s tough to get that call right because they’re not used to it. I suppose it’s the same for the strike zone and tag plays.

      • Chris says:

        I’d like to hear the explanation. The only reasonable one is that he saw the ball hit Melky’s glove in foul territory. It wouldn’t be correct, but more understandable than missing a call that badly.

        • baba o'riley says:

          it’s somewhat understandable. umps spend the entire year working in a 4-ump system, one ump at every base. then for the most important games of the year, they switch to a 6-ump system. these guys never get to practice umping that “down-the-line” angle, except during the postseason. you’re talking about guys with thousands and thousands of major/minor league experience having to learn a new system in the most important games of the year.

          mlb should either use the 6-man system all year, and let these guys get experience working it, or keep the 4-man system for the postseason and go to foul line replay (maybe do this anyway.)

          • Buffalo Fil says:

            Yeah – its tough. Stand on the line and watch where the ball lands. And try to notice if it bounces off a fielder.

    • Chris says:

      The umps were beyond horrible tonight. I don’t even think it was biased, just bad.

    • mehmattski says:

      Yeah I’m not sure I can fully celebrate the Yankees’ win when it was so badly tarnished by the terrible non-double call. Clearly that inning would have gone a lot differently with Mauer on second and nobody out.

      • Christos says:

        You sure you werent jumping up and down screaming when they won???

      • Salty Buggah says:

        Ugh, fallacy of the predetermined outcome…

        • mehmattski says:

          I didn’t say that the outcome would have been the same. But in that little chart up there with Win Probability, Mauer on 2nd with no one out would have been better for the Twins than Mauer on 1st. That’s all I’m saying… I’m no Michael Kay.

          And yes I was happy when Tex smacked the homer. But I feel like it was stolen a bit.

          • rafael says:

            You said, “Clearly that inning would have gone a lot differently with Mauer on second and nobody out.”

            Nobody can say “clearly.”
            At best, one can say “likely.” No way to know what would’ve happened, so it wasn’t stolen in any way, just like blown strike calls don’t “steal” the game.

            You can’t say what would’ve happened if he had gotten the double.

            • mehmattski says:

              I’m sure no one’s going to read this, but I just want to point out that starting an inning with a runner on second is clearly different than starting it with a runner on first. Do the Twins score a run with those clearly different starting conditions? I don’t know, but they clearly have a better chance to, versus starting with a runner on first.

              • Pasqua says:

                I did read this, and I still think you’re assuming too much. With Mauer on second, the ground ball that Cuddyer hits (assuming he hits that same ground ball, which I shouldn’t even do) is probably right to Cano because the defensive alignment is different. That puts Mauer on third with one out, which is a worse situation than what the Twins eventually found themselves in. So…I don’t we “stole” anything. The Twins had the best opportunity to put a run across that you can have, and they failed.

        • Buffalo Fil says:

          Salty is wrong – mehmattski is correct. No one knows what would have happened but a lead off double is better than a lead off single. And Mauer led off with a ground rule double before his ultimate lead off single.

  8. Steve H says:

    A-Rod is teh suxor!!!

    Anyone else think Aceves should have been left in longer (along with Joba).

    Caveat, I love Girardi.

    • Mike Pop says:

      I didn’t mind bringing in Marte. Two tough lefties coming up, that’s what Marte is here for.

      Either way I would of been okay with.

      A-Rod’s homer though man, just absurd.

      • The Marte decision was the only one I quibbled with. Mauer, unlike Kubel, hits lefties well enough (.345/.413/.497) that it’s not worth lifting a superior righty for an inferior lefty to face him. I would have let Ace face Mauer, and if he retired him, I may have even let him face Kubel as well (but I probably would have went to Marte there.)

        But, small potatoes. It’s not a bad call either way.

        • Steve H says:

          I would have left Ace in because we were the home team, and if it had gone 12-15 innings, Ace could have given 3 of those, while we still had last AB.

          • That’s the tiebreaker for me that makes me eschew the normal lefty-lefty matchup (unlike how I supported it earlier in the 7th inning): The fact that it’s a tie game and we only had three pitchers left in the pen at that point, and two of them were situational relievers who couldn’t go long.

            I’d rather ride Ace a little more to stave off having to empty out the pen with Gaudin if the game goes into the 12th or 13th.

        • steve (different one) says:

          i’m with TSJC, that’s the ONLY decision i thought was shaky.

          to be honest, Giradi managed the f’ing hell out of that game tonight.

          knocked it out of the park.

    • vin says:

      Stacking SuperMauer and Kubel in the lineup back to back pretty much forces Giardi’s match-up-lovin’ hand… which may actually be a good thing for the Twinkies.

  9. The Iron Horse says:



  10. Greg G. says:

    Jeez, what a roller coaster ride.

    Heck, the game chart actually looks like a roller coaster.

  11. Salty Buggah says:

    I loved this game. So much drama but in the end it was a win, thanks to our 3-4 hitters (A-rod game-tying RBI single, A-rod HRs with Tex on in the 9th, then Tex hits a walk-off), just the way I like it.

    Simply awesome.

    BTW, I had a feeling that even Tex’s ball didn’t leave, A-rod would have made it a walk-off anyway. But I’ll take Tex’s first walk-off in Pinstripes too.

    I’m still pumped from this game and I dont think this is going down until Nov. 2 since if it starts to go down, it will gradually keep going back up.

  12. Christos says:

    I just knew that Big Tex was coming through with a homer, i called it in my head.

  13. mustang says:

    I know how sometime we eat each other up on here, but it’s games like tonight that make this site such a fun place to be.
    Thank you all for making tonight’s game that much more fun.

  14. Salty Buggah says:

    I wonder what Lombardi will have to say about Alex after tonight…

  15. pete says:

    i would also like to say god bless capitalism, and go to hell shitty untalented players who sometimes get big hits in the postseason, guys who make money can do it too

  16. Bob Stone says:

    Great game recap Mike. I enjoyed every second of reading it. Loved the graph too.

  17. Drew says:

    Oh man every time I see the replay of that 9th inning HR I love it!

    Man, how about Swish making the great play on defense, F offense.

  18. Steve H says:

    $180 million? Worth. Every. Penny.

  19. Bob Stone says:

    I can’t wait to see the Yankees blow Pavano off the field Sunday.

  20. Pasqua says:

    Why is all the media coverage so far ripping the Yanks apart, as if they “have SOME NERVE” winning this game?

    MLB is going with the thesis that the Twins “barely lost” (whatever the fuck that means) and how they will “single you to death” (conveniently ignoring the fact that they always fail to win).

    I swear, if you kept the score a secret and asked me to guess based on what I’m seeing and hearing, I would bet my house that the Yanks lost.

    Weird and infuriating.

    But an amazing night.

  21. Bob Stone says:

    MLB has to do something different with how it manages the umpiring next year. Tonight’s bad umping just highlights a year FULL of really bad umpire calls – in the field, behind the plate, everywhere. It’s by far the worst umpiring I have ever seen (and that’s over 55 years of watching baseball). And, I am not basing it solely on Yankee games. It’s been horrible across the board.

    Selig has allowed this to happen. It has to be changed for the good of the game. The umpires should not be part of the sports news almost every night.

  22. Bob Stone says:

    I’m watching LA vs. Bosox and want to root for the Sox so they can get beat up by the Yankees in the ALCS. But it is just too much fun to root agsint the Sox. I can’t bring myself to root for them even though I would much rather face them than the Angels. I also think they Yankees have a better chance(correction – make that easier time) beating Boston than LA.

    There’s something inherently wrong about that, but I don’t know the proper name for the disorder(as I root and cheer for two more runs driven in by Aybar against Beckett for LA in the 7th inning). Go Angels!

  23. Salty Buggah says:

    That lucky bastard Kabak got to witness all of this epic-ness in person.

  24. Jersey says:

    Meanwhile, Beckett owns October gets chased.

  25. mustang says:

    And The Red Sox losing….a perfect night.

  26. Chris says:

    If only there was a way the Sox and Halos could eliminate each other…

    I do enjoy the fact that Orsillo sounds like his cat was just run over, though.

  27. Bob Stone says:

    Kruk jinxed the BoSox by throwing out the first pitch in gmae 1 (or maybe it was game 2 – I forget).

  28. Salty Buggah says:

    A-rod is obviously all clutch because of Philippon

    /Correlation = Causation’d

  29. Bob Stone says:

    Great ads by BlackBerry.

  30. Salty Buggah says:

    About Delmon’s line drive: “When I threw it I thought, Oh God,” Robertson said. “And before you could snap your fingers, it’s in his glove.”

    Mo works his magic again.

  31. Dorian says:

    Did I see any twins fans complaining when Brandon Inge got hit?

  32. Andy in Sunny Daytona says:

    My DVR stopped recording the game in the ninth inning in order to record a Bo Bice video marathon. I guess the Yankees will have to win 2 in Minnesota.

  33. mustang says:

    I know I’m basis, but damn between Sportcenter and ESPNNEWS all I seen for the last 10 mins is WNBA and College football.
    If it were the Sox who won like the Yankees did you couldn’t get them off the fucking air.

  34. Salty Buggah says:

    Alex lookin sharp in his postgame conference


  35. Accent Shallow says:


  36. Bryan says:

    I was at the game tonight and while it was awesome, it took years off my life. The top of the 11th was just horrible.

  37. Bob Stone says:

    The icing on the cake of an Angels win tonight against the Sox would be to see Papelschmuck getting hammered.

  38. We just beat Joe Nathan. The Sox, meanwhile, are going down pathetically to a guy who once lost his closer’s job to Manny Corpas.

  39. Salty Buggah says:

    Seeing the A-rod HR again, it was great to see the guys in the bullpen jumping up and down like crazy.

    I think I am going to read EVERY article tonight on the Yanks win and A-rod’s clutchitude.

  40. Jersey says:

    Oh boy. Here comes the tying run in Anaheim or wherever the hell they are.

  41. Bob Stone says:

    Awright Angels! Sweep those bloody Red Sox1

  42. Voice Of Reason says:

    I was sitting with my father watching tonight’s game, or at least the last few innings. I started my first day of working in classrooms and was exhausted, so he woke me up because he’d knew I’d be pissed if I missed the game. My Dad isn’t a huge baseball fan, but this year’s team has magic that has got him watching with me. It’s really fun.

    When the Yankees went down 3-1 my Dad reminded me the Yankees walked off against this team three consecutive games earlier this year. I gave him props for remembering, and we watched A-Rod’s ball sail into the Yankees bullpen. My Dad has dubbed himself Michael Kay Jr., very much enjoying “SEE YA!”. We smirked, and knew the game would be ours.

    When Teixeira came to the plate, we almost knew he would put one out. A-Rod and Teixiera have complimented eachother perfectly all year; how fitting that they could win the game for us. We screamed, and knew this team has something else. Something magical.

    Of course we’re going to get slack. Too much money. Yankees Stadium is a bandbox. A-Rod did steroids. The list goes on. But ultimately, critics are missing out on experiencing a special team, something baseball hasn’t seen for some years, and something I know we’ll be talking about for years to come.

    I love being a Yankee fan.

  43. Photos and recap from tonight’s Yanks/Twins game http://bit.ly/iCPAw

    • dkidd says:

      great stuff

      nights like this are why i just don’t understand people who don’t enjoy sports. where do they go for unscripted drama?

  44. bonestock94 says:

    I’m still not convinced that I watched what I watched tonight. Maybe it will sink in tomorrow.

  45. Jon G says:

    These graphs are pretty amusing when i think about other things they could apply to.

    For example, I’d like to have seen one of those from a big night out in college — showing, as things happen in the bar or at the show I’m at, how I get closer and further to “winning” or “losing”.

    Winning the world series would be hooking up with the hottest chick in the bar…and her hot friend…at the same time! Losing (and dips in the graph toward losing) — well, that could have been a lot of (pretty funny) things…

    One could really have some fun with these graphs

    • Camilo Gerardo - your inception? fuck perception, go with what makes sense says:

      or competing with your mate for said hottest chick in the bar

  46. Salty Buggah says:

    BTW, This game keeps us undefeated in the Yankees Classics!

  47. Kiersten says:

    That game was so freaking amazing. Yankees up 2-0, Boston down 2-0, does it get any better than this??

    But seriously, I will never make it through October alive if we have more games like this. My heart can’t handle it.

    • JMK aka The Overshare says:

      I think it would be better to pummel the Sox in the ALCS, but those are just my thoughts. Also, regarding October: I realize you’re down in Miami and probably eating those weird Cuban sandwiches and plantains and shit, but you might want to look into the Jarvik heart. Bonus: the dude who invented it looks like a total pedophile.

      Wait, that’s not a bonus? Well then, carry on.

    • Drew says:

      Yeah, this was a tough one. I think I started going nuts in the seventh or the top of the eighth. My heart was racing since then.

    • The Artist says:

      Tell me about it. The Aceves inning was excruciating (as was most of AJs) and I even have enormous faith in Al. But that just looked like a game winning rally to me.

  48. JMK aka The Overshare says:

    I recently got back to the game and let me tell you, it was fucking awesome (as you all know). I was sure we were going to lose it with the Twins having bases loaded and zero outs, but somehow (Mosanna in the highest) we pulled it out. Also, I’m not sure if it was just my section, but half the people there were so busy facebooking on their cell phones that they couldn’t be distracted by an awesome game. Has anyone else found this to be true? It really bummed me out. Then again, the more involved fans managed to get into a fight and spilled a whole beer (a $9 beer at that) on my suit (I had just gotten out of work).

    • Drew says:

      Well worth a dry cleaning bill.

    • Nikhil R. says:

      I went to the game also and this was definitely not the case. My section went crazy after the A-Rod homerun tossing beer and soda all over the place. I’m honestly surprised I didn’t have a heart attack at some point late in this game. It was just fucking unbelievable.

  49. Rey22 says:

    I can’t remember being this excited for a game since the 2003 Aaron Boone HR game in the ALCS.

  50. Kiersten says:

    BTW, was the spillover thread record broken?

  51. Salty Buggah says:

    The Twins radio guys:
    -Groundball double play would take the wind out of this crowd.
    -Would it ever!
    -Ha ha ha ha


    - (In a deflated voice) High drive! Oh my! He got him. He got him. Tie game. (and this is kinda an angry way) He GOT HIM, John, HE GOT HIM! Oh my!


  52. Salty Buggah says:

    From ESPN: “HitTrackeronline.com, which actually chronicles such things, notes that Teixeira’s game-winning homer against Mijares left the bat at 110 mph and cleared the fence in 2.88 seconds. That made it the fastest homer to leave the park in a big league game this season, and earned Teixeira the obligatory shaving cream pie from Game 2 starter A.J. Burnett.”

    Dayum, what timing too!

  53. desus says:

    Anybody know who caught Tex’s Helmet?

  54. The Artist says:

    “The Yankees won in walk-off and comeback fashion yet again, and declared to not just the Twins, but to all of baseball that WE WILL NOT BE STOPPED.”


    Nice recap with a great finish, Mike.

  55. The Artist says:

    Two impressions from last night:

    -If Morneau is playing, we lose that game 6-2, if not 10-2. We didn’t get Justin out all year and AJ walked a tightrope all night. It would have forced the Yanks to pitch to Mauer, and in so many situations that would have been deadly. I was thinking about that all night, the way Moreau’s presence would have changed things.

    -Both sides of the Posada-Molina debate bolstered their arguments last night. AJ was teetering on the brink all night, so having Molina out there to calm him down and guide him through was essential. But the Yanks were no-hit for the first 5 innings, so Posada’s bat was clearly missed.

    If/when this situation comes up again in Game 5 or the ALCS/WS, I fully expect Molina to catch AJ again. Minimizing the damage with him is key.

    • whozat says:

      “-Both sides of the Posada-Molina debate bolstered their arguments last night. AJ was teetering on the brink all night, so having Molina out there to calm him down and guide him through was essential. But the Yanks were no-hit for the first 5 innings, so Posada’s bat was clearly missed.”

      I knew this would happen. Even though AJ pitched like crap, still it was a great idea to have Molina catching.

      The guy walked 5 and hit two batters. This was a terrible outing, and Posada should catch AJ next time because I think we’ve debunked the meme that AJ always has better command with Molina back there.

  56. pete says:

    I love when people hate us for winning

  57. crapulent aka I said good day sir says:

    Was at the Stadium last night for the game. Could you tell from TV how loud the place was? Def like old times at YSII. Amazing…

  58. bigpinklips says:

    We had such a great time at the game.
    Thank you, Yankees, for making memories that will last.

  59. [...] games all paled in comparison to last night. Game two of the 2009 of the American League Division Series was the best game I’ve ever [...]

  60. [...] AJ Burnett was shaky in game two, but A-Rod hit a megaclutch two-run homer off Joe Nathan to tie the game in the bottom of the ninth, setting up Mark Teixeira for the walk-off win in the 11th. [...]

  61. [...] October 9th, 2009: ALDS Game Two (box) (video) (RAB recap) [...]

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