BRONX, NY – Now it can be said that the New York Yankees have moved all of the magic from across the street to their new ballpark. Even the Minnesota Twins have to believe there is something of that magnitude when they boarded their plane and headed home, now facing a Sunday elimination game in game three of the ALDS after an 11th inning 4-3 loss to the Yankees in the Bronx.
Alex Rodriguez is having fun again, so is Mark Teixeira who finally got the shaving cream pie to his face from starting pitcher A.J. Burnett moments after his walk-off home run win. The left field umpire blew a call in the 11th in what was an obvious double by the Twins Joe Mauer that Melky Cabrera dropped on the line, and Yankees pitcher David Robertson got out of a bases loaded jam.
“We’ve had a lot of fun here, a lot of comebacks,” said the Yankee captain Derek Jeter when asked if the new Yankee Stadium has finally become what the old park was. “Seems like we had a lot of great moments here,” he was saying. It was the Yankees 21st postseason walk-off win all time and first since October 6 of 2004 in game 2 of the ALDS also against Minnesota.
And it may not be the last magical moment. Because the Yankees are one step closer to reaching another American League Championship Series and they can be home again in the Bronx as soon as next Friday or Saturday, “Hopefully a lot more,” said Jeter after this classic postseason game in the Bronx Friday evening.
Even those two runs in the eighth inning form the Twins did not deter the Yankees from taking a commanding 2-0 lead in the series. And the great Mariano Rivera gave up a run, both charged to Phil Hughes. So the bullpen failed but the one-two punch of Rodriguez and Teixeira are hard for any opposing pitcher to overtake in the postseason.
“We’ve had a lot of fun playing together,” said Teixeira about his batting before Rodriguez. “I’ve played with some great three and four hitters and being a part of some great combos, myself and Chipper Jones, myself and Michael Young in Texas, Vladimir Guerrero last year in Anaheim, And Alex, he’s fun to hit with..”
And fun the Yankees are having, because everything is working right in this season of magic that Jeter describes. Twins manager Ron Gardenhire could not be happier getting out of the Bronx. His team has seen the Yankees come from behind to win all six home games against Minnesota this season.
“I’ve been walked off enough times here,” said a disappointed Gardenhire who saw his starting pitcher Nick Blackburn retire the first 15 Yankees batters. “A lot of things could have went either way,” he said, “but didn’t go our way again tonight. You end up getting walked off again.”
Both games were come from behind wins, a variety that has been seen all season. Because of guys like Rodriguez who is having fun again. The monkey for sure in the postseason is off the back of Rodriguez. The two-run home run in the ninth off Minnesota closer Joe Nathan tied the score 3-3 and the 50,000 plus at the new stadium anticipated more magic.
But before that, it was A-Rod with a game tying single in the sixth inning that made it a 1-1 game. “The fun part is I was just thinking base hit,” said Rodriguez about the home run. He is now 3-for-4 with runners in scoring position in the first two games and a part of this Yankees magic that has continued in the postseason.
“Hit the ball hard somewhere and it went in the seats,” he said about the long drive that ended in the Yankees’ bullpen in left center. He came out for the ovation and Yankees fans now know that Rodriguez is made for the postseason. It was his first postseason home run since Game 4 of the 2004 division series against Cleveland.
Certainly another magical win for the Yankees in the postseason, in what has become a magical and special year especially when they play in the Bronx. “”It’s pretty unbelievable feeling as a manger when you get to put those two guys in your line up every day,” said Yankees manager Joe Girardi about Teixeira and Rodriguez.
“They’ve been huge for us all year,” he said as the Yankees once again got what they needed when it had to be done/ A huge win for the Yankees who look for the magic to continue out in Minnesota.
e-mail Rich Mancuso: [email protected]