MINNEAPOLIS - Indoors or outdoors, the New York Yankees still own the Minnesota Twins in the playoffs.
Mark Teixeira hit a tie-breaking, two-run homer in the seventh inning, and the Yankees rallied to a 6-4 victory Wednesday night in Game 1 of the American League Division Series, the Twins’ 10th straight postseason loss.
“Game-winning homers,” Teixeira said with a wide smile on his face, “there’s nothing better.”
Yankees ace CC Sabathia labored, but reliever David Robertson struck out Jim Thome in a key spot, and Mariano Rivera got the final four outs to close another win for the defending World Series champions. The Yankees rallied from a 3-0 deficit against Francisco Liriano and improved to 10-2 against the Twins in the playoffs since 2003.
Even a blown call by the umpires – shades of the last two postseasons – that went against the Yankees with two outs in the bottom of the ninth didn’t hurt them.
“It’s just bad luck for Minnesota. We just keep fighting. That’s a great team over there. We’ve played a lot of tough games against them,” Teixeira said.
Michael Cuddyer homered, doubled and drove in two runs for the Twins, who played their first outdoor postseason game in Minnesota since 1970. They were hoping a move from the shabby Metrodome outdoors to gorgeous Target Field would turn their fortunes around, but it was more of the same against the Yankees.
Game 2 is tonight. Carl Pavano will pitch for the Twins against Andy Pettitte.
Jorge Posada had two hits and an RBI, and Curtis Granderson added a two-run triple for New York, which has never won a postseason series as a wild card.
Rivera got his 40th career postseason save in 45 chances but had to work a little harder than he planned. Replays showed Yankees right fielder Greg Golson – inserted that inning for defensive purposes – caught Delmon Young’s sinking liner for what should’ve been the last out.
But right-field umpire Chris Guccione ruled that he trapped it and the call stood after the umpires huddled.