October 7, 2010
ALDS, Game Two
Yankees Lead Series 1-0
Yankees: Derek Jeter (SS), Curtis Granderson (CF), Mark Teixeira (1B), Alex Rodriguez (3B), Robinson Cano (2B), Nick Swisher (RF), Jorge Posada (C), Lance Berkman (DH), Brett Gardner (LF), Andy Pettitte (P)
Twins: Denard Span (CF), Orlando Hudson (2B), Joe Mauer (C), Delmon Young (LF), Jim Thome (DH), Michael Cuddyer (1B), Jason Kubel (RF), Danny Valencia (3B), J.J. Hardy (SS), Carl Pavano (P)
It's hard to say how much Justin Morneau being healthy and available would have affected this series. Thome would be healthier because he wouldn't have had to play most days, but he or Kubel would have been on the bench in this one. But the Twins still managed to take the lead early in this game, with Danny Valencia's sac fly all Minnesota would get out of a bases loaded, one out situation.
Lance Berkman had been traded from his longtime Astros at the July deadline this season, but he hit just one home run in 37 games for the Yankees down the stretch. That didn't stop him from tagging Pavano for one to tie the game.
From there to the middle innings, Pavano came up big when he needed to and Pettitte, who had looked uneasy early on, settled down and eventually retired 12 Twins in a row. After Kubel's second inning walk, the next Minnesota player to reach safely was Orlando Hudson with one out in the sixth. Hudson jumped all over a Pettitte fastball and yanked it into the left field seats, tying the game once more at 2-2.
Berkman would strike again in the seventh, this time getting an extra opportunity thanks to homeplate umpire Hunter Wendelstedt's lack of a strike zone. Pavano wouldn't come back from that missed called third strike, and Berman bounced one off the wall and scoring Posada from first base. Jeter singled to score another run later in the inning, and in the top of the ninth Granderson added an insurance run to make the score 5-2.
Minnesota had their chances. They didn't capitalize early, and when Jon Rauch came on to get the last two outs of the sixth and did just that with a strikeout and a pop up, the Minnesota offense couldn't take that momentum or that energy from the crowd and turn it into offense. Instead, the Yankees retired the final ten Twins to come to the plate and secured their second win of the series.
The Twins were now on their way to New York, down two games to none.