ALDS, Game 1: Mark Teixeira, Mariano Rivera Key Yankees Comeback Win Over Twins

Mark Teixeira's two-run homer in the top of the seventh was the difference, as the Yankees rallied past the Twins and leaned on Mariano Rivera to close things out in Game 1 of their ALDS. Check out Twinkie Town and Pinstripe Alley for more coverage.

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Yankees Rally Past Twins In Game 1 Win Thanks To Curtis Granderson, Mark Teixeira

In the end, it was just how the Yankees drew it up. Build a lead, hold onto it, and hand it over to Mariano Rivera for the guaranteed save.

In the middle, it went anything but according to plan, as the Yankees were forced to rally past the Twins in picking up the Game 1 victory in their ALDS. It was the Twins who struck first against CC Sabathia, as Michael Cuddyer hit a two-run homer to straightaway center in the second, and Orlando Hudson scampered home on a passed ball in the third. Francisco Liriano was then able to protect that 3-0 lead into the sixth inning, nearing the point at which he could hand things over to the bullpen.

But the Yankees wouldn't have it. An RBI single by Robinson Cano, an RBI single by Jorge Posada, and a towering two-run triple by Curtis Granderson put New York on top 4-3 in a flash, and Liriano was pulled from the game having given away his cushion.

The Twins were not without life, as they battled back in the bottom half courtesy of an unusual Sabathia meltdown. Sabathia walked three batters in the sixth, including Danny Valencia with the bases loaded to knot things up at four. Momentum was back on the home team's side.

It just didn't last very long. Jesse Crain came out of the Minnesota bullpen and allowed a two-run homer to Mark Teixeira in the seventh that just managed to stay fair beyond the right field foul pole. At that point, the Yankees had their biggest lead of the game, and it became a matter of hanging on until Rivera could be summoned.

Rivera was summoned in relief of Kerry Wood in the bottom of the eighth, inheriting two on and two out. Rivera escaped the inning, and pitched the ninth without problem.

The Twins gave a strong effort, but came up short in the end, and will turn the ball over to Carl Pavano in Game 2 of the series. The Yankees will counter with Andy Pettitte.

(Sports Network event page)

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Twins Vs. Yankees, ALDS Game 1: Mariano Rivera Slams Door For Four-Out Save

Mariano Rivera was able to work out of Kerry Wood's jam in the eighth, getting Denard Span to ground out. And then the ninth inning went by with nary a whimper, although the Twins did briefly manage to catch a break. Orlando Hudson led off with a ground out. Joe Mauer followed with a weak line out. Delmon Young then hit a single on a sinking line drive that right fielder Greg Golson caught above the grass, but that the umpiring crew ruled a trap. Replays showed that it was a legitimate catch.

Nevertheless, Jim Thome subsequently hit a first-pitch pop out to wrap things up. One game in, and the Yankees have put themselves in a good position.

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Twins Vs. Yankees, ALDS Game 1: Mariano Rivera Inherits Jam, Two-Run Lead

The Twins didn't want to get here, and the Yankees didn't want to get here this early. After a scoreless bottom of the seventh and a scoreless top of the eighth, the Twins came into the bottom of the eighth down 6-4, but a Jason Kubel walk and a Danny Valencia infield single have given them a glimmer of hope. The good news for Minnesota? There are two men in scoring position and two out. The bad news? Joe Girardi called on Mariano Rivera for the four-out save. Denard Span has a glorious opportunity to tie this thing up, but he'll have to do it against the best postseason pitcher in the history of the game.

Boone Logan, David Robertson, and Kerry Wood combined to throw 1.2 innings of so-far scoreless relief for the Yankees, with two hits, two walks, and two strikeouts. Wood is responsible for the two runners on base.

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Twins Vs. Yankees, ALDS Game 1: Mark Teixeira Blast Has Yankees Back In Front

It wasn't long ago that it seemed like the pitching was in control of this game. Runs are now coming left and right, and after CC Sabathia issued a bases-loaded walk to Danny Valencia in the bottom of the sixth to knot things up at four, Mark Teixeira has come right back to put the Yankees in front once more.

His was a two-run blast off reliever Jesse Crain that scored Nick Swisher and that just sneaked around the right field foul pole. Momentum is back on New York's side, and if you're the Twins, you have two innings to keep the Yankees quiet and try to score off their setup relievers before they get to Mariano Rivera.

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Twins Vs. Yankees, ALDS Game 1: Danny Valencia's Bases-Loaded Walk Knots Things Up

It didn't take long for the Twins to respond to the Yankees' rally in the top of the sixth. Come the bottom half, everything unraveled for CC Sabathia when there were already two men out. First, Jim Thome drew a walk. Then Michael Cuddyer hit a low line drive to left-center that went in and out of the glove of a diving Brett Gardner. After that, Jason Kubel walked to load the bases, and rookie Danny Valencia drew another walk to push the tying run across the plate.

Sabathia was able to strike out J.J. Hardy to end the inning, but the lead is gone, courtesy of some uncharacteristic wildness from the Yankees' top ace. Much like Cano and Granderson's hits off Liriano, the walks drawn by the left-handed Thome and the left-handed Kubel stand out as things we wouldn't expect from the pitcher in question. Neither would we expect him to walk a hitter like Valencia. Sabathia appears to have worn down, and with a pitch count of 111, his night is probably finished.

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Twins Vs. Yankees, ALDS Game 1: Yankees Knock Francisco Liriano Out With Monster Sixth

What a dramatic turn of events we've just seen. The Yankees and Twins traded zeroes in the fourth and the fifth, with 12 combined batters making 12 combined outs, but the Yankees have stormed ahead and knocked Francisco Liriano out of the game in the top of the sixth with what has been, as of now, a four-run rally.

The frame began with a Nick Swisher strikeout, but Mark Teixeira followed with a double, and then Alex Rodriguez followed that with a walk, setting up Robinson Cano for an RBI single. Two batters later, Jorge Posada went the other way with a line drive just over Orlando Hudson's glove to score another run, and then Curtis Granderson got under an outside fastball and yanked it off the wall in right-center to score two more. Out came Ron Gardenhire and out came Liriano, with a 3-0 lead having been turned into a 4-3 deficit.

That key hits were delivered by Cano and Granderson is particularly notable since both are left-handed. Liriano was supposed to be able to shut these guys down, but he showed cracks in this inning, and the Yankees took advantage.

Liriano's evening:

5.2 innings
6 hits
4 runs
3 walks
7 strikeouts
106 pitches

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Twins Vs. Yankees, ALDS Game 1: Smallball Helps Twins Extend Lead

This is just how you draw innings up. Orlando Hudson led off with a groundball single. He then went first to third - first to third - on a Joe Mauer groundout to first, as Mark Teixeira had to dive for the bag to arrive before Mauer. Teixeira's slide took him out of the play for just long enough for Hudson to take advantage, and he slid into third without even drawing a throw.

On the very next pitch, the ball eluded the glove of Jorge Posada, and Hudson was able to sprint home on the catcher's mistake. Just like that, the Twins were able to add a run to their lead without hitting a single ball hard, and now the Yankees are up against it heading into the fourth.

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Twins Vs. Yankees, ALDS Game 1: Francisco Liriano Works Out Of Jam, Preserves Lead

After falling behind in the bottom of the second, the Yankees looked like they were going to strike back in the third, when Brett Gardner led off with a walk and Derek Jeter followed with a single to left. Nick Swisher and Mark Teixeira flew out, though - the latter on a 3-1 count - and when Liriano was able to get Alex Rodriguez with three straight swinging strikes on three straight sliders, the last of which wound up dead in the middle of the strike zone.

Liriano has now faced two jams in three innings and has a pitch count of 57, but the Twins have a deep enough bullpen that they can afford labor-intensive shutout innings from the starter.

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Twins Vs. Yankees, ALDS Game 1: Twins Jump Ahead On Michael Cuddyer Home Run

Wednesday's nightcap got off to a fairly quiet start, with CC Sabathia working a scoreless first and Francisco Liriano working a scoreless first two. Sabathia worked around a runner in scoring position in the first by striking out Joe Mauer and getting Delmon Young to ground out, and Liriano got Curtis Granderson to ground out in the second with two men on base.

So it was a 0-0 ballgame going into the bottom of the second, when suddenly the Twins came alive. Sabathia buzzed the left-handed Jim Thome way up and in, hitting him in the shoulder, and three pitches later Michael Cuddyer blasted a 2-0 fastball deep over the wall in straightaway center for a two-run homer. It wasn't a cheapy by any means - if Target Field even allows cheapies to take place - and all of a sudden, the Yankees are looking up at the team they've controlled in playoff series previous.

Liriano's thrown 33 pitches through his two innings, while Sabathia's at 35 through his.

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Twins Vs. Yankees, ALDS Game 1: Starting Lineups




W-L G GS CG SHO SV BS IP H R ER HR BB K ERA WHIP
2010 - CC Sabathia 21-7 34 34 2 0 0 0 237.2 209 92 84 20 74 197 3.18 1.19


W-L G GS CG SHO SV BS IP H R ER HR BB K ERA WHIP
2010 - Francisco Liriano 14-10 31 31 0 0 0 0 191.2 184 77 77 9 58 201 3.62 1.26


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