David Waldstein, Tyler Kepner and Jack Curry provided updates and analysis during Game 6 of the Yankees-Angels American League Championship Series in the Bronx.
Update | 12:01 a.m. For the 40th time, the Yankees won the American League pennant, which they clinched with a 5-2 victory over the Angels in Game 6 of the American League Championship Series on Sunday night.
On Wednesday night the Yankees will play the Philadelphia Phillies at Yankee Stadium in Game 1 of the World Series, with C.C. Sabathia expected to start for the Yankees. It will be the Yankees first trip to the Series since 2003, when they lost to the Marlins in six games.
Andy Pettitte pitched six and a third stellar innings Sunday for a record 16th postseason victory, and will be going to the World Series for the seventh time as a Yankee, as will Derek Jeter, Jorge Posada and Mariano Rivera, who closed out the game with a two-inning save.
Alex Rodriguez, whose career and six-year tenure with the Yankees has been highlighted by tremendous success in the regular season but mixed results in the postseason, will be making his first appearance in the Fall Classic in his 16th major league season.
Also making its first appearance in the Series is the new $1.5 billion Yankee Stadium. Joe Girardi, who went to three Series as a player, will make his managerial debut there.
In the midst of a brilliant postseason, Rodriguez continued his assault on pitching in October with two hits and a run batted in. Rodriguez, who reached base in all five of his plate appearances, walked with the bases loaded in the fourth inning after Johnny Damon ripped a two-run single to wipe out the Angels early 1-0 lead.
The Angels ended the series as it began for them, making errors and base-running mistakes that all but precluded them from winning. After closing the deficit to 3-2 in the top of the eighth, the Angels committed two errors in the bottom of the eighth as the Yankees added two insurance runs. – D.W.
Update | 11:55 p.m. The Yankees score two unearned runs in the eighth inning, which is so appropriate because the Angels will bookend this series with their two sloppiest games. A total meltdown when it counted most. They might not admit it, but they looked like they were playing scared at Yankee Stadium.
Rivera is back on the mound with only three outs to go. – D.W.
Update | 11:48 p.m. Teixeira missed a grand slam by about five feet, but his long fly ball to the track in center was good enough to score a run on a sacrifice and the Yankees lead, 5-2. Jared Weaver is now in the game and the Yankees have runners at first and third with one out and Rodriguez up. – D.W.
Update | 11:38 p.m. The Angels are going out their way in making sloppy plays, and it is costing them. Yankees lead by 4-2 now.
The Yankees tried to hand the Angels two outs on sacrifices, but both times the Angels blew it. The first time Kendrick couldn’t hold on to the ball on first, and the second time Scott Kazmir sailed a the throw over Kendricks’s head to score Cano. Ouch. – D.W.
Update | 11:24 p.m. The Angels get a run against Rivera and cut the deficit to 3-2, prompting a visit from the pitching coach Dave Eiland.
Figgins finally got on base, reaching on a bloop single just out of the reach of Jeter in shallow left to lead off the inning. Two outs later Guerrero shot a single to the right side that scored Figgins. Reggie Willets came in to pinch run for Guerrero but Rivera got Morales to ground out to second to end the inning.
It was the first earned run by Rivera at home in the postseason since Game 2 against the Mets, Oct. 22, 2000. – D.W.
Update | 11:11 p.m. Santana got out of trouble in the seventh with a double-play ball from Posada and a long fly ball out to left by Matsui.
Here comes Rivera for the six-out save. – D.W.
Update | 11:07 p.m.
Ervin Santana is pitching for the Angels in the bottom of the seventh, and Rodriguez greets him by taking a 95-mile-per-hour fastball and turning it into a 125-m.p.h. line drive single up the middle. Wicked. Rodriguez now has reached base in all four plate appearances, with two walks and two hits. He now has 14 hits in 32 at-bats this postseason, with 12 runs batted in.
Rivera is warming up in the Yankees bullpen. He looks close to being ready. Scott Kazmir warming up in the Angels bullpen. – D.W.
Update | 11:05 p.m. Who’s your A.L.C.S. MVP if this holds up? A-Rod for hitting .429 with 3 homers, or C.C. for winning twice? – T.K. (via Twitter)
Update | 10:58 p.m. The Angels are down to their final six outs. Chamberlain got Izturis and Aybar to hit grounders to short — the first one a potential double-play ball bobbled by Jeter, which rolled right to Cano who got the force at second — and we go to the bottom of the seventh. The Angels will have the top of the order coming up in the eighth. Champagne cooling. – D.W.
Update | 10:52 p.m. That’s all for Pettitte. He’s getting a standing ovation and a huge cheer as he walks off and waves his cap. Pettitte deserves the win here if the bullpen can hold it for him. Chamberlain is coming on now with Rivera at first and one out. Who knows, it may have been Pettitte’s last appearance as a Yankee at Yankee Stadium.
Scioscia is lifting Mathis for the left-handed pinch hitter Maicer Izturis to face Chamberlain. He’s going with lefty-righty over the hot hand. – D.W.
Update | 10:46 p.m. That’s the first time Jeter has ever drawn 3 walks in a postseason game. Thanks, baseballreference.com! – T.K. (via Twitter)
Update | 10:45 p.m. The Angels are playing some good defense — they just can’t run the bases. With two on and one out Figgins made a nice scoop of Teixeira’s bouncer to third, stepped on the bag, and then threw across the diamond, where Morales made a nice scoop to get the second out and end the inning.
With one out Jeter walked for the third time tonight, and Damon reached on a bloop to center, his second hit.
Pettitte still on the hill for the seventh. – D.W.
Update | 10:33 p.m. The Yankees have nine outs to go, and you know Mariano Rivera is getting at least three of them, if not more.
Pettitte is battling here in the sixth. With two outs Hunter reached on an infield single and Guerrero went down to lift a two-strike pitch that was about three inches off the ground down the right-field line for a bloop double. The man can put the bat on almost any ball.
With Joba Chamberlain warming up in the bullpen, Morales hit a bouncer back to the box and Pettitte blocked it, picked it up and threw to first to escape trouble.
It seems that the Angels can’t get out of their own way at Yankee Stadium, really. Leading off the sixth Figgins laid down a bunt for a single and it hit him on the foot in fair territory, so he was out. He was so eager to get to the pitch that he jumped at it and both feet were almost in front of the plate when he made contact, then ball bounced on his left foot. – D.W.
Update | 10:13 p.m. Oliver should have started this game. He just set the Yankees down in order in the fifth, striking out Cano and Swisher along the way.
There are 50,173 fans here tonight. That’s the largest crowd at the new park. – D.W.
Update | 10:09 p.m. Pettitte gives the Yankees just what they wanted after a big inning. He set the Angels down quickly, despite a hit by Rivera leading off the inning. Mathis actually struck out, and then Erick Aybar hit into a double play.
The pitching line on Saunders, by the way, is not impressive. He threw 83 pitches over three and a third innings and walked five, and two of those scored. Yankees still lead, 3-1, and Oliver is still pitching for the Angels. – D.W.
Update | 10:04 p.m. Swisher’s hit was the weakest little 9,000-hop dribbler you ever saw, but it went through the infield on the left side, and the Yankees capitalized. Damon hit a two-run single and Rodriguez walked on five pitches with the bases loaded to make it 3-1. That prompted Scioscia to bring in Oliver, got Posada to hit into a double play.
It all started with the dreaded leadoff walk to Cano, and then Swisher got his single, his third hit of the series. Cabrera’s sacrifice moved the runners up a base and Saunders walked Jeter on a full count high fastball. Damon came up for the second time in the game with the bases loaded and notched his two-run single, scoring Cano and Swisher. Teixeira reached on an infield single to load the bases for Rodriguez, who walked on a 3-1 pitch that looked a lot like a strike.
Oliver then came in and got the double-play ball. Give Scioscia credit on this one. – D.W.
Update | 9:57 p.m. That was another Mark Langston-style ball right there. A-Rod walks on strike two to force in a run. And here’s Darren Oliver.– TK. (via Twitter)
Update | 9:52 p.m. Doesn’t Scioscia have to go to Jepsen here? Why else is he warming up? – T.K. (via Twitter)
Update | 9:41 p.m. With Swisher’s single off Saunders in the fourth inning, he is now 2 for 4 off the left-hander in the postseason. Swisher now has 25 at-bats against Saunders, too, which is more than any other Yankee. That was one of the reasons I never thought Manager Joe Girardi would bench him in this game. Swisher has seen more of Saunders than anyone else so Girardi didn’t want him watching from the dugout. – J.C.
Update | 9:34 p.m. Pettitte struck out Guerrero on a back door curve that caught the plate, but Guerrero didn’t like the call and let the home plate umpire Dale Scott hear about it. Morales grounded out to short and Pettitte stuck out Howie Kendrick with a pitch right over the plate. Angels look like they’re just waiting for Mathis to come to the plate again.
Pettitte is pitching better than Saunders, but Angels still lead by 1-0, heading to the bottom of the fourth. – D.W.
Update | 9:26 p.m. Saunders got Teixeira out, so he was able to “pitch” to Rodriguez with nobody on base. He worked against Rodriguez very carefully, walking him on five pitches, three of which were well inside. The Angels just don’t want to let Rodriguez extend those arms.
With Rodriguez on first Posada gave the crowd a little thrill by sending a fat breaking pitch that bisected the plate to the wall in right field. Abreu caught it at the wall. What wall? Abreu says.
Matsui grounded out to first and that’s the end of the third. – D.W.
Update | 9:16 p.m. Angels are on the board first. Jeff “You Can’t Get Me Out” Mathis led off with a double to the gap in right center and went to third on Figgins’s one-out grounder to second. With two outs, Abreu hit a Pettitte curveball that seemed to hang just long enough for Abreu to punish it, into right field to score Mathis.
Pettitte escaped more trouble by striking out Hunter looking, but it’s 1-0 Angels. – D.W.
Update | 9:07 p.m. But that’s Joe Saunders, not a hurting Javy Vazquez, on the mound. Still scoreless after two. – T.K. (via Twitter)
Update | 9:04 p.m. Swisher makes another out. The struggling right fielder came to the plate in the bottom of the second inning with Robinson Cano, who had singled to center, at first base. Saunders fell behind by 3-0 but threw a fastball for a strike, got Swisher to foul one off, and then got him to go down and pop one up to shallow left field. Swisher is now 3 for 30 in the postseason.
But Melky Cabrera singled on a ground ball to Figgins’s left, so Jeter gets to come to the plate with runners on first and second and two outs. If he reaches, Damon could come to the plate with a chance at another Yankee Stadium A.L.C.S. grand slam, only this time for the Yankees.
Jeter walks, and here comes Damon … and there goes a ground ball to first for the third out. The Yankees have now left five runners on in two innings. – D.W.
Update | 9:03 p.m. Hey look, it’s Johnny Damon with the bases loaded in the second inning of a potential A.L.C.S. clincher at Yankee Stadium.– T.K. (via Twitter)
Update | 8:50 p.m. Has anyone been more invisible than Juan Rivera this series? – T.K. (via Twitter)
Update | 8:45 p.m. If the Angels are going to just hand games to the Yankees, then we can move on to the World Series right now.
Vladimir Guerrero just got doubled off first base on a shallow pop-up to right field in the second. With Guerrero on first Kendry Morales hit a ball to right. Guerrero was not running on the play, he just drifted too far toward second and couldn’t get back in time as Nick Swisher’s throw to Teixeira easily beat him. It wasn’t even close.
Guerrero had led off with an infield single up the middle. Pettitte just walked Juan Rivera, so the Angels have a runner at first with two outs. – D.W.
Update | 8:39 p.m. Joe Saunders got in and out of a little threat in the first inning as the Yankees put two men on with two outs. Saunders got Derek Jeter and Johnny Damon without much trouble, but Mark Teixeira singled to center, and with nowhere to put him, Alex Rodriguez followed with a single to left. Saunders escaped the jam by inducing an easy fly ball from Jorge Posada.
With his single, Rodriguez has now hit in 11 consecutive postseason games. The Angels really need to get people out in front of him or Rodriguez is going to do some damage in this game. – D.W.
Update | 8:30 p.m. Great news for the Yankees as Andy Pettitte looks extremely sharp. He set the Angles down in order in the first inning after getting ahead 0-2 an all three of the batters he faced. Chone Figgins grounded out to third, Bobby Abreu struck out and Torii Hunter hit a soft liner to short.
It’s early, Pettitte is getting his breaking ball over for strikes, which is a good sign for him. Yankees about to bat. – D.W.
The weather is clear and almost balmy at 57 degrees without much of a breeze, and the field appears to be in perfect shape, despite all the rain Saturday.
So, it’s time to try again to get in Game 6 of the American League Championship Series. The Yankees are a victory away from clinching their first trip to the World Series since 2003, and the Angels, of course, are looking to force a decisive Game 7.
The former Yankee Bernie Williams will throw out the ceremonial first pitch, a reminder of the Yankees’ glory.
Both managers are sending out the same starting pitchers and lineups they had penciled in for Saturday, so it will be Andy Pettitte with all his postseason experience going against Joe Saunders, who pitched well enough to win Game 2 here at Yankee Stadium.
For the Angels, virtually every pitcher, including John Lackey, Jared Weaver and Scott Kazmir, is available to pitch out of the bullpen if need be.
“Starting a fresh inning,” Scioscia said, “Sure, I think you would have to consider some of the great arms that we have that are going to be in our bullpen tonight.”
Pettitte, meanwhile, already holds the record for most postseason starts (37) and innings pitched (231) and if he earns a victory tonight he will pass John Smoltz on the career list for postseason wins with 16.
If the Yankees win, they will be able to set up their pitching rotation for the World Series as they see fit, with C.C. Sabathia able to start game 1, A.J. Burnett ready for Game 2 and Pettitte for Game 3.
Joe Girardi said that after the game was called on Saturday evening he spent the rest of the night and Sunday morning relaxing with his family before returning to the Stadium.
“The interesting thing is you did your preparation for this the day before anyway,” he said before Sunday night’s game, “so I enjoyed my family.”
He’s hoping the next preparation work he does is for Game 1, not Game 7. – D.W.
David Waldstein has the lineups:
1. Chone Figgins, 3B
2. Bobby Abreu, RF
3. Torii Hunter, CF
4. Vladimir Guerrero, DH
5. Kendry Morales, 1B
6. Howie Kendrick, 2B
7. Juan Rivera, LF
8. Jeff Mathis, C
9. Erick Aybar, SS
Joe Saunders, LHP
1. Derek Jeter, SS
2. Johnny Damon, LF
3. Mark Teixeira, 1B
4. Alex Rodriguez, 3B
5. Jorge Posada, C
6. Hideki Matsui, DH
7. Robinson Cano, 2B
8. Nick Swisher, RF
9. Melky Cabrera, CF
Andy Pettitte, LHP