Rodriguez homers, Yankees lead Angels through 6
ANAHEIM, Calif. – Alex Rodriguez hit a two-run homer, CC Sabathia held the Los Angeles Angels in check while pitching on short rest and the New York Yankees built a 5-1 lead through six innings Tuesday night in Game 4 of the AL championship series.
Trying to take a 3-1 lead in the best-of-seven series, the Yankees got another big hit from Rodriguez. He has driven in at least one run in eight consecutive postseason games, tying the record shared by Lou Gehrig and Ryan Howard, who will attempt to extend his streak Wednesday night when the Phillies host the Dodgers in Game 5 of the NLCS.
After consecutive extra-inning games that took a combined 9 hours, 31 minutes, the Yankees and Angels played the first six innings in 2 hours, 37 minutes. New York also got a two-run single from.
Kendry Morales homered for Los Angeles.
Angels left-hander Scott Kazmir threw 89 pitches in four-plus innings, allowing four runs, six hits and four walks. Two of his three strikeouts were against Mark Teixeira, who came in 7 for 11 lifetime against him.
Six players in the Yankees’ lineup came into the game with at least 24 at-bats and a career average under .200 against the left-hander — Rodriguez (.125), Derek Jeter (.111), Johnny Damon (.167), Hideki Matsui (.179), Robinson Cano (.154) and switch-hitting Nick Swisher (.185).
The Yankees, who were 30-0 in ALCS play when holding a lead of three or more runs prior to Monday’s 5-4 loss, finally broke through against Kazmir with three in the fourth after getting the leadoff man on in each of the first three innings without any success.
Rodriguez started the rally with a leadoff single, went to third on Jorge Posada‘s double inside third base and scored one out later when second baseman fielded Cano’s grounder and made a high throw to the plate that prevented from getting the tag down in time. Swisher walked and Cabrera followed with a two-run single.
The Angels got a break that inning when Swisher was called out for leaving third base too soon on Damon’s fly to center field. Swisher was called out on an appeal, resulting in an inning-ending double play — though replays appeared to show Swisher did not leave early.
But the Yankees made it 5-0 in the fifth, as Teixeira chased Kazmir with a leadoff single and Rodriguez drove Jason Bulger‘s second pitch to left field for his fifth home run of the postseason and third in three games.
The Angels were on the wrong end of two blown calls by the umpires that inning, one by Dale Scott at second base after Swisher was clearly tagged before he could get back to the bag on a pickoff throw by .
Moments later, Cabrera hit a comebacker to Oliver, who immediately threw to the plate and got Posada caught in a rundown. Napoli ran Posada back to the bag while Cano coasted into third, and the Angels’ catcher ended up tagging each runner standing off the bag — first Cano, then Posada. But crew chief Tim McClelland ruled that only Posada was out.
The Angels, who haven’t scored in the first three innings during this series, got on the board in the fifth when Morales homered with one out on Sabathia’s 45th pitch. It was one of three straight hits by the Angels, but Sabathia retired fielder’s choice grounder and Bobby Abreu on a fly after singles by Napoli and .on a
The Angels threatened again in the sixth, but Juan Rivera grounded into a double play with runners at first and second, and Kendrick lined out to first base.
Sabathia was pitching on three days’ rest for the first time since Oct. 2, 2008, when he gave up five runs in 3 2-3 innings for Milwaukee in a 5-2 loss at Philadelphia in Game 2 of the NL division series. Last Friday at Yankee Stadium in Game 1, the 2007 AL Cy Young Award winner allowed a run and four hits over eight innings — his longest outing in seven postseason starts.
Sabathia, who went 19-8 with a 3.37 ERA and 197 strikeouts during the regular season after signing a seven-year, $161 million contract with the Yankees in December, didn’t pitch with less than four days’ rest in any of his 34 starts. In 2008 with the Brewers, the 290-pound lefty pitched on three days’ rest in his last three outings before the postseason and was 2-1 with a 0.83 ERA.
Kazmir was 2-1 against the Yankees this season, both victories coming with Tampa Bay, and the loss after he was traded to the Angels on Aug. 28 for three minor leaguers. Lifetime against New York, he came in 6-5 with a 2.67 ERA in 14 starts and one relief appearance.
Kazmir got a no-decision at Boston on Oct. 11 in Game 3 of the division series. He allowed five runs over six innings before the Angels rallied with three runs in the ninth to complete the first postseason sweep in franchise history.
The series takes a day off Wednesday before Yankees Game 2 starter A.J. Burnett faces Game 1 loser John Lackey on Thursday night at Angel Stadium.
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