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AL DIVISION SERIES

Yankees show Twins the exit, 4-1

In the final game at the Metrodome, New York gets a strong outing from Andy Pettitte and finishes off Minnesota in three games.

October 12, 2009|Mark Gonzales

MINNEAPOLIS — In addition to possessing a plump payroll and plenty of power and pitching, the New York Yankees displayed more brains than the Minnesota Twins on Sunday night.

That made all the difference as the Yankees took another step toward their 27th World Series title by completing a three-game sweep in the American League division series in the final game at the Metrodome.

Energized by seventh-inning home runs by Alex Rodriguez and Jorge Posada, the Yankees overcame a strong pitching performance from former teammate Carl Pavano to seize a 4-1 victory.

The Yankees, who didn't make the playoffs last fall, will open the AL Championship Series against the Angels on Friday at Yankee Stadium.

"Last year was a terrible thing, going home so quickly," said Rodriguez, who batted .455 in the ALDS and hit his second score-tying homer in the seventh against Pavano. "It's something we're not used to. It feels good to not only make the playoffs but take care of the first round."

Meanwhile, the Twins will have plenty of time to assess their miscues before they move into Target Field in 2010. Their chance to extend this series was hindered when Nick Punto -- representing the tying run -- rounded third base too wide on Denard Span's infield hit and was tagged out for the first out of the eighth.

"It was one of those things where the crowd noise got me a little bit," Punto said of the 54,735 fans.

Andy Pettitte's 6 1/3 innings of one-run ball bettered Pavano, who distanced himself from four miserable years with the Yankees with nine strikeouts, a Twins single-game postseason record.

But CC Sabathia, A.J. Burnett and Pettitte limited the Twins to three runs in 19 innings.

"That's why I wanted to come back here, [because] I knew if we get those two horses, you could add me, and if I stay healthy, we could get to the postseason," said Pettitte, who became the career leader in postseason innings.

Shortly after the Yankees completed their on-field celebration, Twins reliever Joe Nathan picked up some dirt from the Metrodome mound as a memento.

"We're looking forward to it [moving to Target Field], but you can't simulate 55,000 fans screaming and cheering and almost bringing the house down," Punto said.

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mgonzales@tribune.com

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