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Yankees Cheered by Their Victory

Giambi wins back crowd with key hit and New York evens series by beating Twins, 4-1.

October 03, 2003|From Associated Press

NEW YORK — Andy Pettitte pitched another gem under pressure, Jason Giambi turned the boos to cheers and the Yankees beat the Minnesota Twins, 4-1, Thursday night to even their best-of-five American League playoff series, 1-1.

After a sloppy loss in Game 1, the Yankees got their stadium rocking with a three-run seventh inning that broke a 1-1 tie. Alfonso Soriano had a go-ahead single off LaTroy Hawkins, and this time it was the Twins who made defensive errors that opened the door.

"Something about a night game at Yankee Stadium, I guess it comes alive out there," Pettitte said.

"I could sense it. I don't usually get too emotional, I was pretty emotional out there tonight. It was a fun game."

Yankee Manager Joe Torre took no chances, bringing in Mariano Rivera to pitch the final two innings for a save.

"When you take Andy Pettitte out with the kind of courage he showed tonight, it would have been tough to replace him with anybody other than Rivera," Torre said.

The victory came on the 25th anniversary of one of the Yankees' most famous wins -- the day Bucky Dent homered at Fenway Park to help beat Boston in a one-game playoff for the AL East title.

Thursday's win gave the Yankees the momentum entering Game 3, but Minnesota has its home-field magic -- the Twins are 13-3 in postseason games at the noisy Metrodome.

"Nobody in this clubhouse is disappointed. I think we're satisfied, very satisfied," Hawkins said.

Roger Clemens pitches Saturday for New York in what could be the final start of his career. Kyle Lohse goes for Minnesota.

Twin starter Brad Radke hit Nick Johnson -- hitless in 22 at-bats -- with a 1-and-2 pitch leading off the seventh.

"Do anything to get on toward the end of the game," Radke said. "Tip your hat to him, [he] took one for the team."

Juan Rivera's sacrifice moved Johnson up, and Hawkins, the winner in Game 1, entered to face Soriano. He singled sharply to left for a 2-1 lead.

Derek Jeter followed with a chopper back to Hawkins, who hurriedly threw high off first baseman Doug Mientkiewicz's glove for an error that left runners at second and third.

Up came Giambi, who struck out against Hawkins in Game 1 and was booed loudly throughout the series.

But he changed that in a New York minute, grounding a hard single up the middle through a drawn-in infield for a 4-1 lead that put the fans in a frenzy.

"I guess I went from zero to hero real quick," Giambi said. "That's the great thing about this game."

And that was all New York needed. A well-rested Rivera came out of the bullpen for his first two-inning postseason save since Game 3 of the 2001 World Series against Arizona.

Peering in at the plate between the web of his glove and bill of his cap, Pettitte used a tight slider to set a postseason career high with 10 strikeouts. He gave up four hits in seven innings, improving to 11-7 in 26 postseason starts.

Knocked out by the Angels in the first round last year, the Yankees are determined to avoid another postseason failure. Torre held a meeting before Wednesday's workout and told players to relax.

So far, it has worked.


(Begin Text of Infobox)

Moving Up

Most postseason victories:

*--* Player W IP John Smoltz 13 193 2/3 Tom Glavine 12 201 1/3 Greg Maddux 11 184 Andy Pettitte 11 159 1/3 Whitey Ford 10 146 Dave Stewart 10 133 Orlando Hernandez 9 97 Catfish Hunter 9 132 1/3 David Cone 8 111 1/3 Orel Hershiser 8 132 Jim Palmer 8 124 2/3 David Wells 8 90.0




FIRST INNING: Yankees 1, Twins 0--Soriano singled to left. Jeter singled to center, Soriano stopping at second. Giambi singled to right, loading the bases. Williams flied to center, Soriano scoring. Posada struck out. Jeter stole third. Matsui struck out. One run, three hits, two left.

FIFTH INNING: Yankees 1, Twins 1--Hunter homered to center, his first. Koskie struck out. Pierzynski grounded out, catcher to first. Guzman reached first on Jeter's throwing error. Stewart singled to center, Guzman taking third. Rivas grounded to third. One run, two hits, one error, two left.

SEVENTH INNING: Yankees 4, Twins 1--Johnson was hit by a pitch. J. Rivera sacrificed. Hawkins replaced Radke. Soriano singled to left, Johnson scoring. Jeter reached second and Soriano took third on Hawkins' throwing error. Giambi singled to center, Soriano and Jeter scoring. Romero replaced Hawkins. Williams singled to center, Giambi stopping at second. Posada grounded to the pitcher, Giambi taking third and Williams second. Matsui grounded to second. Three runs (one unearned), three hits, one error, two left.

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