Here was a game with lots to talk about
It was very long, of course, and with some dumb moments – Bobby Abreu’s Minnesota Twins-style baserunning, for starters -- but the Angels coming back to beat the Yankees 5-4 in 11 innings had a couple of moments of inside stuff that fans could love.
For instance, Angel manager Mike Scioscia, who had a much better game than the jittery looking Joe Girardi, didn’t even bother with trying to mess around with the now fearsome Alex Rodriguez at the plate against Brian Fuentes, two out and nobody on in the ninth inning of a 4-4 tie. He just held up four fingers, walking A-Rod and going after the next hitter, who was Jerry Hairston Jr. Fuentes struck him out easily.
Rodriguez, who is finally the playoff force the Yankees have always paid him to be – while the rest of the team completely stops hitting in the clutch, please note – had drilled that game-tying homer in Game No. 2 off Fuentes, on an 0-2 pitch, no less. So Scioscia didn’t even bother trying to get him out, although he said a repeat would need to be in the right situation.
“I don’t know exactly what situation would come up. I can’t give you a definitive answer. But two out in Yankee Stadium in the same situation, we would have walked him,’’ Scioscia said. “Leading off the inning? No, that was not on my mind (him) leading off an inning.’’
Abreu, to get back to him, roped a line drive to centre field leading off the eighth in a tie game, flew around second, then hit the brakes. Centrefielder Melky Cabrera, who was 0 for 5 and looked lost all game, badly overthrew the relay man, second baseman Robinson Cano. Shortstop Derek Jeter was the trailer and jumped high for the ball. Then he spun and tossed to first baseman Mark Teixeira, whose job it is to follow the runner to second for just such an eventuality as this. They got Abreu by several feet in whatr looked, at the time, like a deflating mistake, the kind the Twins made in running themselves out of the earlier series against the Yankees.
“I heard the crowd roaring, then I heard the crowd go, ‘Uuuuhhh.’ So I figured he (Abreu) had stopped,’’ Jeter said later. “Tex did a good job of following the runner.’’
“I think there was some great baseball on that field,’’ Scioscia said. “I think there was a lot of twists and turns and both teams played a terrific game. We just got it done in the end.’’
Yes, there was some excellent stuff and given the way this post-season has gone, it’s about time.