Yanks come on late, complete sweep of Twins


Game 3 is often the most critical one in a five-game series. In any of the three possible scenarios, a win is important. When up 2-0, winning the third game gives the team the ability to line up their Game 1 starter to start Game 1 of the ALCS. When down 2-0, the season is on the line. When tied 1-1, a win gives the team a decided advantage heading into Game 4. The Yankees went with Andy Pettitte in Game 3 this time, hoping that his strong second half would carry over to the postseason.

The Yanks got everything they could have expected from Pettitte, and might have even left some in the tank. He threw 81 pitches over 6.1 innings, striking out seven and walking just one and limiting the Twins to just one run. That lone run came in the sixth after a bases empty, two outs situation. It was all the Twins would get all night. He exited after striking out Jason Kubel to lead off the seventh, though with his low pitch count and superb results on the night, perhaps he could have finished the inning.

Joba Chamberlain made that a moot point. He made a mistake to the first batter, Delmon Young, who drove one into the gap for a one-out double. But Chamberlain beared down, inducing a soft grounder from Matt Tolbert before striking out Jose Morales to end the inning. It set up the bullpen for Phil Hughes and Mariano Rivera in the eighth and ninth.

The Twins threatened in the eighth, and if not for a baserunning blunder would have been in position to tie the game. Nick Punto, who hit over .400 in the series, hit a 2-2 pitch between Melky Cabrera and Johnny Damon for a leadoff double. The next batter, Denard Span, slapped one up the middle, but Jeter cut it off before it could leave the infield. Seeing Punto take a wide turn around third, Jeter fired home. Punto had slipped on his way back, giving Jorge Posada enough time to throw him out at third.

A first and third, no outs situation turned into a runner on first, one out situation, and it seemingly deflated the Twins. Orlando Cabrera flied out to center for the second out. That brought Joe Mauer to the plate, and Girardi did not mess around. He went to Mariano Rivera to get the AL batting champ and presumptive MVP, and the at-bat followed the script. Mauer swung at the second pitch, a cutter in on the hands, breaking his bat and grounding weakly to first. Teixeira fielded, ending the minor threat.

Mo finished off the game in typical fashion, allowing just one hit while retiring the final three batters he faced. He hit his stride after allowing a leadoff single, striking out the next two hitters before inducing a grounder to end the game.

In his first season post-Yankees, Carl Pavano fared well against his former team in the regular season. He faced them twice, pitching 13.1 innings and allowing just four runs, splitting the match-ups. He started off Game 3 even better, striking out eight and allowing just three hits through six innings. It looked like he had control of the game, and when the Twins rallied for a run in the sixth it looked like the Yankees would have a tough road ahead.

The game changed in the seventh. After going down 0-2, Alex Rodriguez took three straight pitches outside the zone to work the count full. After fouling off a pitch, he got a fastball up and on the outside edge. It’s a pitch Alex handles well, and this time was no exception. He went with it, driving it high over the baggie in right for a game-tying home run. It was Rodriguez’s second home run and sixth RBI of the series, and the second time he tied the game with a homer.

With two outs and the bases empty, Jorge Posada stepped up. He took the first pitch, a changeup, well outside for ball one. Pavano then threw a good pitch, a sinker low and away, but Jorge timed it perfectly. Delmon Young gave the ball a chase, but it was just beyond his reach, in the stands for the go-ahead run. Fitting that the Yankees, who led the majors in homers (and homers on the road) this season took the lead on a pair of homers.

Even with Mariano Rivera to pitch the ninth, the Yankees knew insurance runs wouldn’t hurt. They picked up a few of those in the ninth. Ron Gardenhire used four pitchers in the inning, and none did the job satisfactorily. Ron Mahay recorded a strikeout and then walked Teixeira. Jon Rauch walked A-Rod. Jose Mijares walked Hideki Matsui. Joe Nathan then came on to face Jorge Posda, and surrendered and RBI single. Robinson Cano then blooped in a second insurance run.

Andy Pettitte’s contribution should not be understated. Over the past three postseasons, the Yankees couldn’t overcome their pitching problems. They rebuilt the rotation this season, and it’s a big reason why they had the best record in the regular season and then swept their way through the ALDS. Andy used two variations of what he calls his cutter — one a faster pitch that more resembles a fastball, and a slower one that more resembles a slider. That, mixed with his fastball, kept the Twins off-balance. Before their rally started with two outs in the sixth, Pettitte retired 17 of the first 18 batters he faced.

Both the Yankees and Angels will enjoy a four-day vacation before squaring off in Game 1 of the ALCS Friday in the Bronx. Both teams will realign their rotations, meaning we’ll get the best possible match-ups. We’ll have plenty to say over the next few days, but for now I’m just going to enjoy this one. It sure does feel good to have the Yanks past the first round of the playoffs.

Categories : Game Stories


  1. Tom Zig says:

    I want to see the postgame celebration! What channel would carry that? Apparently TBS cares more about the Rockies/Phillies than the Yanks pouring champagne.

  2. “before striking out Jose Mijares to end the inning.”

    Should that be Jose Morales?

  3. Mike Pop says:

    I can’t wait till Friday!


  4. It’s gonna be a long wait til Friday.

  5. Tatedoog says:

    Bring on those Angels!

  6. ARX says:

    One series down, two to go. I’m…pleased with the result. Not overjoyed, since I wanted them to beat the shit out him then bash his head against the ground once he was down, but I’ll take it :-)

  7. Awesome.

    Also, you write recaps really fucking fast.

  8. Mike Pop says:

    Celebrate boys, you’ve earned it.

  9. ShuutoHeat says:

    Great series. The type I like, where they just crush everyone.

    Congrats to Andy, I think he just tied Smoltz in the most post season wins at 15? Thing is, he’s going to have more chances at winning and surpassing Smoltz.

  10. bonestock94 says:

    I usually don’t mind the Twins, but those damn fans started pissing me off. Happy to win, but now I’m fucking ready to hammer the Angels. I wanna shit on that bandwagon once and for all!!

  11. Jersey says:

    This series ended up playing out just like the rest of the season series against the Twins, on the whole: relatively close games decided in the late innings. Kinda weird to say after going 10-0 for 2009, but the Twinkies played us tough.

    Not that this didn’t feel like an inevitability.

  12. Tank Foster says:

    I know of no way to prove this, but I honestly don’t think there is another infielder in MLB who makes the play Jeter did to nail Punto. We can say whatever we want about his range, but there is not a smarter, cooler infielder in baseball.

    Time to roll over Anaheim.

    • My respectful disagreement:

      Well, I love Jetes, but technically, he didn’t really make that play.

      Nick Punto made that play. Jeter just ate the ball and waited to see if someone would do something stupid, and someone did. Fell into our lap.


      There was nothing really particularly athletic about the play. It was heady, sure, but again, the headiness is confined merely to Jeter not just throwing the ball back to the pitcher or to first or something. He fielded the ball, and really had nowhere to go with it, so he just kinda sits there, and then, all of a sudden, Nick Punto runs through the stop sign, rounds third hard and totally doesn’t watch the play (and then falls on his ass), and Jeter had a golden opportunity unfold before his eyes.

      • CountryClub says:

        I disagree. 90% of the SS’s would have thrown the ball to 1st. Jeter didnt even look to 1st. He said that he caught Punto rounding 3rd out of the corner of his eye. That’s why he spun as soon as he fielded the ball. As Jeter said: “this time of year is all about attention to detail”.

  13. Jake H says:

    Great job Yanks. Celebrate today then plan on another sweep starting Friday.

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

    ESPNews shows twins pressers, as well

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

    Could span be the next Craw-daddy as he gets more in his prime?

  16. Dela G says:

    Great fucking win

    Memes taken care of in the postseason?

    A-rod chokes in the first round
    The Curse of Mark Teixeira
    The Yankees Can’t win in the first round
    The Red Sox Will beat the Yankees in the ALCS
    David Ortiz is a postseason factor in 2009
    The Red Sox Have no weaknesses (John Kruk’d)
    Andy Pettitte’s missed starts will affect the yankees in the postseason (kruk’d)
    Joe Girardi can’t manage in the postseason
    CC & AJ have no successful postseason experience

    Ones to complete this month

    A-rod Chokes in the ALCS
    A-Rod chokes in the WS
    Yankees can’t beat the angels
    Yankees Haven’t won a WS since 2000

    • The Artist says:

      One sign of how good this team is would be that they really don’t need to disprove anyone, or need extra motivation to play at their best. The only exception being Alex, and in this ALDS he’s done enough to keep them off his back for a while.

      But as a team, all they need to do is go out there and play their game, which is exactly what they’ve all been saying.

    • A.D. says:

      But zomg Papelbon is such a great closer in the post season!!!!!

  17. Mike Pop says:

    Heh, Mark has got his goggles on again.

  18. Alex S says:

    hahahaha Kim Jones just said “thank you nick swisher” i bet that wasn’t the first time…..lol


  20. Alex S says:

    wow alex seems really happy, Kate Hudson must be putting out

    • Mike Pop says:

      I laughed.

      • JackISBACK says:

        Where you at Kruk? Where you AT?????

        WHOOOOOOOOOO!!! The unbeatable team goes down, and the ones with flaws moving on.

        Man, this is the A-Rod that we’ve been waiting for all these years. Maybe they should just say 0-2 on the scoreboard whenever he comes up to bat, because he’s unstoppable after seeing that.

        On Hughes. He’s going away from his secondary pitches for some reason. He’s throwing mainly fastballs, which is good and all until the teams sit on that, like they did this series. After giving up that hit on the curve earlier in the series, Hughes has gone completely away from his secondary pitches. He needs to start throwing his secondary pitches again.

        But, right now I’m so HAPPY!! WHOOOOOOOO

        • whozat says:

          he throws the cutter too.

          But…yes. He does need to mix pitches more.

          • CountryClub says:

            Hughes has been throwing nothing but 4 seamers and cutters for weeks now. He’ll be fine.

            He threw 2 curves in this series (1 to Mauer and another to Punto) and they both went for singles. It almost looked like they were waiting for them. i wonder if he’s tipping them.

            • I think they got hit because he’s not throwing them and they’re not sharp. During every PA involving Hughes this season, I’ve been finding myself saying “Throw the curve!”

              I hope this lack of the curve as a reliever doesn’t come back to bite him in ’10.

  21. eazy says:

    wow kim jones looks so hot right now.

  22. Alex S says:

    wow you can arguably say they CC was the worst of the 3 starters in the ALDS…..

  23. Ivan says:

    Haven’t been to the ALCS since you know, im not gonna mention the year.

    Just chill, get ready for fri and lets roll.

    “We Play Today, We Win Today”

    Thats my motto.


  24. Kim: How bout the Angels?
    AJ: How bout the Yankees?


  25. Chris says:

    27% of the way to #27.

    Thank Mo we won’t have to suffer through any more of Chip Caray. Both his father and grandfather, in their current states, would be more tolerable in the booth.

  26. Ivan says:

    Kim Jomes look like she just did a bukkake video.

  27. BigBlueAL says:

    So, does CC pitch Game 4 on 3 days rest so he then can pitch Game 7 if needed on regular rest????

    Also I assume Marte will be out and Bruney maybe in for the ALCS??

    • Mike Pop says:

      Also I assume Marte will be out and Bruney maybe in for the ALCS??


      • BigBlueAL says:

        Well they both suck but the Angels only LHB is Abreu, even though they do have a few switch-hitters. Really who cares since they are basically the 11th pitchers on the staff.

      • Hello says:

        Yeah because his 9 ERA and his inability to even get out one of the lefties he faced in the ALDS screams ALCS roster spot…

    • The Artist says:

      I think they’ll wait until it happens to see what the situation is. If they’re up 3-0 or 2-1, then I think they’ll pitch Gaudin. If they’re down 2-1 or 3-0 then it’ll be CC.

  28. Salty Buggah says:

    YES/MLB.com better have those postgame interviews and party.

  29. Lanny says:

    Wonder what the stat geeks are going to say about Jeters SS play now.

  30. Accent Shallow says:

    Watching Pavano pitch so well really sucked — until the 7th, that is. :) I wouldn’t have it any other way.

    It’d be nice if the ALCS could start Tuesday, but so it goes.

  31. Jersey says:

    Apparently Caray is doing the NL for the Championship Series, not the AL. So that’s frigging amazing.

  32. ROBTEN says:

    According to BP


    Actual W-L: 97-65
    “First Order Wins”: 92.6-69.4 (+4.4)
    “Second Order Wins”: 85.3-76.7 (+11.7)
    “Third Order Wins” 86.8-75.2 (+10.2)

    Forget that sweep in Fenway, correction’s gonna be a bitch.

    “We Ain’t the Sox, Son!”

    • ARX says:

      So…what that basically says is that they were lucky to win as many as they did with their run differential…AND they were lucky to even have that differential given the actual batting statistics? Wow.

  33. gxpanos says:


    …I dont like that Hughes pitched poorly this series. Troubling, to say the least.

  34. Bob Stone says:

    Very classy comments by Gardenhire in the post game show. He’s a class act himself.

  35. Joey H says:

    CARL PAVANO for the #5 starter next year! Nah, what a game. Sure it was a sweep, but felt nothing like one. Can’t say this series was dominated, unless it was by nail biting.

  36. ARX says:

    So…with tonite’s HR, and the series he had, how many 0-4′s do you think A-Rod bought himself before “fans” start booing again (not that I think he will, he seems really locked in atm)

    • whozat says:


      If he DARES go hitless in his first two at-bats of the ALCS, he will be booed when he comes to the plate for the third time, and McCarver will talk about ARod’s postseason demons, and how he’s still looking to exorcise them.

  37. Klemy says:

    Now, for a week of nothing but Nick Adenhart references.

  38. handtius says:

    These games have been intense for a sweep. looking forward to a good series against the angels. 8 more wins boys!

  39. The Artist says:

    Anyone had a creeping feeling this year that we’re not just looking at a Championship team, but one that could roll off 2 of 3 over the next few years? I do. Even during the regular season I felt like this team had more in the tank, that if we enjoyed a good season health-wise and take the Joba Rules off next year, we could do even better than we did this year, and this team won 103 games.

    I know these things can change in a hurry, and many post season teams looks like that and go on to have disappointing years the very next season (09 Rays/06 ChiSox/04 Marlins) but so much of this team is still in its prime, and the only guys who are in serious danger of age related drop off IMO over the next few years are Mo and Posada. Neither are easily replaced, but I think this team and farm system is good enough to effectively plug two holes. Obviously some combo of Montero/Cervelli for Jorge, and we have so many capable arms I figure one of them will be able to do a solid job of closing. Not Mo-like, but good enough.

    • Sweet Dick Willie says:

      we’re not just looking at a Championship team, but one that could roll off 2 of 3 over the next few years?

      Let’s get this one. 2 or 3 are tough w/o the first one.

      And while I’m confident this is our year, I’m not thrilled about going up against the dead guy mojo.

    • MatyRuggz says:

      Catcher should be covered by one or more of the uber-prospects they have in the system. I can see 3 catchers making the roster in 2011, perhaps with Jorge and Montero splitting the starting C and DH positions and Cervelli purely as a back-up. But who knows with Romaine, Murphy, Sanchez, et. al. what the catcher position will truely look like in the future? Its an exciting quandry to think about.

  40. The Artist says:

    One other thing, Joba’s slider wasn’t sliding for the first few batters he faced. That’s why Delmon Young was able to serve that pitch into left centerfield. He kept getting them up, with little depth. I thought the best 2-3 sliders he threw were to the last batter he faced. Down and falling out of the zone.

    I’ll assume Girardi/Eiland noticed the same thing, since Eiland went out to the mound to talk to him. But facing a better lineup (like the Angels) some of those meatballs could have went 400+ feet. Just something to keep an eye on.

  41. Tank Foster says:

    My nephew was worried about facing Pavano, seeing as how he’d shut the Yankees down earlier this season. I told him “he may pitch well, but he can’t shut them down the whole game. There is no way any team is holding the Yankees to less than 3 runs. It will come down to how well Pettitte and the bullpen do.”

    Thank you, thank you.

  42. hal says:

    Let’s hope the Yankee OF brings their bats to the ALCS.

  43. Bill says:

    I’m amazed at how many people are missing the whole essence of the Punto play. He didn’t take a wide turn; he tried to score. It was clear from the replay, and his postgame comments confirm that he heard the crowd noise, put his head down and assumed it was into center field. When the ball went home, he was half way in between. It’s kind of amazing the play at third was as close as it was.

    And to the people saying no one but Jeter would have made that play; that’s funny. If a shortstop has to eat an infield base hit with a guy going from second to third, the very first thing ANY of them will do is look and see where that runner is. It (like turning around and tagging out Gomez in the OTHER unforgivably stupid baserunning move of the series) was the dictionary definition of a routine play from the shortstop’s perspective.

    • Let’s be fair here, Bill. When you’re trying to score from second, you’re going to take a wide turn around third. Obviously he was trying to score — I don’t think anyone thought otherwise. As I said in the recap, he took the wide turn because he thought the ball got past Jeter.

      I do agree on your second point. I think most shortstops throw home there. They all know who’s running, so unless you have a shortstop whose head is completely out of the game, chances are he would have seen Punto’s turn.

  44. YankeeScribe says:

    I’m amazed that the team with no weaknesses, the Red Sox, got swept

  45. aj says:

    I fear Chad Gaudin in game four.

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