Lance Berkman Keys Yankees Charge As Twins Fall Behind 2-0 In Series

In the first game of the series, the Twins took an early lead, only to watch it evaporate during a late Yankees rally. In the second game of the series, the exact same pattern played out, as the Yankees stormed ahead in the seventh inning and took a commanding 2-0 lead in their ALDS.

The Twins were able to get ahead in the second inning, when Danny Valencia lifted a sac fly to right field to score Delmon Young. The score held that way into the fourth, when Alex Rodriguez tied things up with a sac fly of his own, scoring Jason Kubel.

Twins starter Carl Pavano was able to escape a jam and limit the damage in that inning, but the Yankees would strike again in the next frame, when Lance Berkman lifted a one-out fly deep to left-center field for a go-ahead solo home run. Berkman, who sat out Game 1 against Francisco Liriano, was inserted as the Yankees' DH for Game 2 against the righty Pavano, and that decision paid dividends for Joe Girardi.

The Yankees continued to take good swings against Pavano, but the score held at 2-1 into the bottom of the sixth, when Orlando Hudson tied it up with a solo home run to left field of Andy Pettitte. That snapped a streak of 12 consecutive retired batters, and Target Field came alive.

But all momentum and energy disappeared in the top of the seventh, when the Yankees struck once more. Lance Berkman delivered an RBI double off the center field wall in a controversial at bat that got Ron Gardenhire ejected for arguing, and two batters later, Derek Jeter dropped an RBI single into right field to make it a 4-2 game and send Pavano to the showers. Jon Rauch was able to work his way out of a bases loaded threat, but the damage had already been done.

From that point, it was up to the Twins to try to come back before Mariano Rivera could be summoned from the Yankee bullpen, but they went down in order in both the seventh - against Pettitte - and the eighth - against Kerry Wood. That took them straight into a Rivera situation, and when the Yankees added an insurance run in the top of the ninth on a Curtis Granderson base hit, hope was lost. Rivera made quick work of the Twins, and fans left Target Field, not knowing if they'd becoming back again in 2010.

The win went to Pettitte, who spun seven terrific innings. The loss went to Pavano, who succeeded early on but struggled to make an adjustment once the Yankees started swinging aggressively early in the count.

The series now shifts to New York, with Game 3 scheduled for 8:30pm ET on Saturday, October 9. Phil Hughes will get the ball for the Yankees, while the Twins will hand it over to Brian Duensing.

(Sports Network event page)

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