The New York Yankees won the 2009 American League Championship Series in a 5-2 Game 6 victory against the Los Angeles Angels behind new all-time postseason victory leader Andy Pettitte.
The Angels drew first blood against Pettitte — who was phenomenal, and whose final line was 6.1 IP, 7H, 1ER, 1BB and 6K — in the 3rd inning on a Bobby Abreu RBI single.
Fortunately the Yankees — like so many other instances in the 2009 postseason — came roaring back shortly thereafter, tagging Angels’ starter Joe Saunders for three runs on a huge Johnny Damon bases loaded singles and an Alex Rodriguez bases loaded walk in the bottom of the 4th. The Yankees looked poised to break the game open even further until Mike Scioscia summoned Darren Oliver who subsequently continued his mastery of the Yankees (save Mark Teixeria’s bases-clearing double in Game 5) by eliciting a Jorge Posada double play and pitching 2 2/3 innings of shutout baseball.
Pettitte held the line, turning in a vintage Andy Pettitte performance that ultimately secured Andy his 16th — and all-time MLB record — postseason victory. Joba Chamberlain came on with one out in the 7th inning and retired both batters he faced, giving way to Mariano Rivera for a six-out save in the 8th inning.
The Angels made things interesting, plating a run off Rivera in the top of the 8th to cut the deficit to one, but the Yankees took advantage of two more Angels’ errors in the bottom half of the 8th to plate two huge insurance runs, which would ultimately prove to be more than enough as Mariano finished Los Angeles off without incident in the top of the 9th inning.
The offensive stars of the game for the Yankees included Derek Jeter, who didn’t collect a hit but drew three walks; Johnny Damon, whose 2-run single with the bases loaded in the 4th turned the tenor of the game in the Yankee’s favor; Mark Teixeria, who continued to battle his way out of his playoff slump with a 2-4 night and one RBI; and Alex Rodriguez, who continued his torrid October with a perfect night, reaching base in all five at-bats on two hits and three walks, bringing his nine-game postseason slash stat line to .438/.548/.969/1.516.
Offensive goats included Jorge Posada, who had several chances to knock in some key insurance runs but wound up going 0-5; and Hideku Matsui, who continued to look lost at the plate and turned in another 0-4 evening. Even the much-maligned Nick Swisher finally picked up a base hit in the game-turning 4th inning and scored a run.
So the Yankees now advance to the World Series for the first time since 2003, and the first time since the top Yankee blogs became a daily staple of my life. The Yankees meet the Philadelphia Phillies in the World Series for the first time since 1950 (the Yankees swept that series 4-0), in a set that starts Wednesday night. By most accounts, these were the two best teams in baseball this year, and so it seems fitting that they should meet each other in the World Series.
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