Francisco Liriano was in total control through the first five innings of the first game of the 2010 ALDS, and the three runs the Twins scored for him on a Michael Cuddyer two-run home run and the heads-up baserunning of Orlando Hudson felt like plenty, as Liriano held the Yankees to a mere two hits up to that point.
Unfortunately for the Twins, things fell apart for Liriano with one out in the sixth, as a Mark Teixeira double, Alex Rodriguez walk, Robinson Cano RBI single, Jorge Posada RBI single and Curtis Granderson two-run triple brought the Yankees all the way back from three runs down, taking a 4-3 lead.
Unfortunately for the Yankees, CC Sabathia was far from crisp for much of the game, and after recording two quick outs in the bottom of the sixth, gave up a walk to Jim Thome, a double to Michael Cuddyer that was actually in Brett Gardner‘s glove but bounced out, a walk to Jason Kubel to load the bases, and a walk to Danny Valencia with the bases loaded to tie the game. Sabathia’s final line was 6 IP, 5H, 4R, 3ER, 3BB and 5K — all in all not terrible, but not quite the level of excellence Sabathia has spoiled us with so frequently.
Undeterred by the newly tied game, Nick Swisher hit a one-out single in the top of the seventh, followed by the biggest blast of the game: a majestic Mark Teixeira go-ahead bomb that put the Yankees ahead 6-4, and would end up representing the game-winning shot.
Boone Logan, David Robertson and Kerry Wood — who have been the Yankees’ go-to relievers all season — continued to get the job done, pitching 1 2/3 innings of shutout ball. Joe Girardi called on Mariano Rivera with two outs in the eighth, and Mo made like vintage postseason Mo in nailing down the four-out save. Well really it was actually five, but the umpires completely blew the call on what should’ve been the last out of the game on a Greg Golson catch that was ruled a trap. I’m sorry, but that is just inexcusable, and yet another nail in the coffin of so-called baseball purists who inexplicably think the game doesn’t need expanded replay. It absolutely does, and I shudder to think what would’ve happened had Jim Thome hit a game-tying two-run blast instead of popping out on the first pitch.
And so the Yankees were able to come away with a huge Game 1 win on the road on a night where their ace had a less-than-stellar evening and the team faced a 3-0 deficit through five innings against one of the best pitchers in the league. This was also the Yankees’ seventh straight come-from-behind win against the Twins in the postseason, going back to Game 2 of the 2004 ALDS. Also, as pointed out by Rebecca, every Yankee starter reached base in the game, which is pretty significant given how punchless the team looked through the first five innings. This was a huge win for all of the aforementioned reasons, but perhaps none moreso than the fact that they have to face Carl Pavano and his Brett Cecil-esque repertoire of Official Yankee-Slaying Off-Speed Slop™ in Game 2.
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