2009 American League Championship Series
From BR Bullpen
|2009 American League Championship Series|
|New York Yankees
103 - 59 in the AL
|4 - 2
|Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim|
97 - 65 in the AL
|2009 MLB Postseason|
|AL||NYY - MIN||LAA - NYY||NYY - PHI|
|LAA - BOS|
|NL||LAD - STL||LAD - PHI|
|PHI - COL|
|<< 2008||2010 >>|
The American League Championship Series of 2009...
 The Teams
Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim
New York Yankees
 Series results
 ALCS: New York Yankees vs. Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim
|1||New York Yankees 4 Los Angeles Angels 1||October 16||C.C. Sabathia (1-0) John Lackey (0-1)||7:57 p.m.|
|2||New York Yankees 4 Los Angeles Angels 3||October 17||A.J. Burnett (0-0) Joe Saunders (0-0)||7:57 p.m.|
|3||Los Angeles Angels 5 New York Yankees 4||October 19||Jered Weaver (0-0) Andy Pettitte (0-0)||4:13 p.m.|
|4||Los Angeles Angels 1 New York Yankees 10||October 20||Scott Kazmir (0-1) CC Sabathia (2-0)||7:57 p.m.|
|5||Los Angeles Angels 7 New York Yankees 6||October 22||John Lackey (0-1) A.J. Burnett (0-0)||7:57 p.m.|
|6||New York Yankees 5 Los Angeles Angels 2||October 25||Andy Pettitte (1-0) Joe Saunders (0-1)||8:20 p.m.|
 Game 1 @ New Yankee Stadium
|WP: CC Sabathia (1-0), LP: John Lackey (0-1), SV: Mariano Rivera (1)|
|Home Runs: none|
- Attendance: 49,688
The Yankees took Game 1 of the ALCS thanks to solid pitching and to some sloppy defense by the Angels. The game opposed the two teams' top starters, 19-game winner CC Sabathia for New York, and John Lackey, coming off an excellent start against the Boston Red Sox in the ALDS, for the Angels. The weather was cold and drizzly in New York, although the feared rain did not come and playing conditions improved as the game progressed.
The Yankees got on the scoreboard first, in the bottom of the 1st. Derek Jeter led off the inning with a single. Johnny Damon followed with another single to left, which Juan Rivera fielded, but his throw back to the infield pulled Howie Kendrick off second base, allowing Damon to move there. After Mark Teixeira made an out on a shallow fly ball, Alex Rodriguez opened the scoring wih a sacrifice fly that brought Jeter home. Hideki Matsui then hit a high pop-up to the left side of the infield that should have ended the inning; 3B Chone Figgins and SS Erick Aybar both assumed the other was fielding the ball, and it fell untouched between them, allowing Damon to score all the way from second.
The Angels got one of the runs back in the 4th, when Vladimir Guerrero hit a double and came to score on a single by Kendry Morales. Apart from that, though, Sabathia was doing extremely well. In 8 innings of work, he gave up only 4 hits and a walk and struck out seven, handing over a 4-1 lead to Mariano Rivera in the 9th. The Yankees had increased their lead with single runs in the 5th and 6th innings. In the 5th, Damon led off with a double and Rodriguez walked after one out. Matsui doubled to left, scoring Damon, but Rodriguez was out at the plate, as C Jeff Mathis, holding the ball, blocked the plate, forcing A-Rod to roll over his back and fall on the other side of home without touching it. But the Angels failed to take advantage of this clutch play to even the score as Sabathia denied them in the 6th, and New York made it 4-1 with another run in the bottom of the inning. Melky Cabrera drew a two-out walk, then Lackey moved him to second with a wild pick-off throw. Jeter singled; CF Torii Hunter charged the ball, hoping to cut off Cabrera at the plate, but it bounced under his glove and Cabrera scored easily. Rivera came in to pitch the 9th for the Yankees, and after issuing a lead-off walk to Hunter, retired the next three Angel batters to pick up another postseason save.
 Game 2 @ New Yankee Stadium
|WP: David Robertson (1-0), LP: Ervin Santana (0-1)|
|Home Runs: - NYY: Derek Jeter (1), Alex Rodriguez (1)|
- Attendance: 49,922
The Yankees took a 2-0 lead in the Series with a win in Game 2, but it was nowhere near as easy as the opening game, as the game lasted into the small hours of the morning, ending in the 13th inning on an error after the Angels had wasted a large number of chances to tie the Series. Angels manager Mike Scioscia made something of a surprise choice by giving the ball to Joe Saunders, nominally his fourth starter, but still one of the top left-handed starters in all of MLB over the past two seasons and the winner of 17 games during the regular season; for the Yankees the choice of prize free agent signee A.J. Burnett was more obvious. He was teamed with catcher Jose Molina, as had been the case in his start in Game 2 of the ALDS against the Minnesota Twins, and in fact this game would be eerily similar to that earlier extra-inning Yankees' win over the Twins.
As was the case in Game 1, the Yankees took an early lead, scoring a run in the 2nd and another in the 3rd. In the second, Nick Swisher drew a walk and was driven in by Robinson Cano's triple, and in the 3rd, Derek Jeter hit a solo home run. However, Saunders settled down after those initial two runs, and began inducing a slew of ground balls, resulting in three double plays to bail him out of potential trouble in the 5th, 6th and 7th innings. He left after 7 innings of work, having given up just those two runs on 6 hits while striking out 5. In the meantime, the Angels had tied the score with two runs in the 5th inning. Maicer Izturis, starting at 2B in place of Howie Kendrick, opened the inning with a ground rule double and Erick Aybar singled him in after one out. Aybar stole second, Chone Figgins was hit by a pitch, Hunter walked to load the bases and Aybar came in to score when Burnett uncorked a wild pitch; however, the pitcher got Vladimir Guerrero to ground out to end the inning with no further damage. It would be a pattern for Guerrero on the night: in the 7th, he struck out against Joba Chamberlain with the bases loaded, and stranded a runner in the 1st and two more in the 13th to give him 8 wasted opportunities to strike a killing blow. The game stood at two-all, with the Angels wasting another good chance in the 8th, when Jeter fumbled an apparent double play grounder, but with two men on, pinch hitter Gary Matthews struck out against Philip Hughes and Mariano Rivera came in to force Aybar to hit an inning-ending ground ball. Rivera stayed on to pitch a scoreless 9th, and then, when the game went into extra innings as the Yankees failed to score off relievers Kevin Jepsen and Darren Oliver, pitched the 10th as well without giving up anything of consequence.
As the 11th inning started, the Angels appeared to be in the driver's seat. Joe Girardi had made a number of moves and had used his best four relievers - Chamberlain, Hughes, Rivera and Phil Coke, who got one out in the tense 7th - and had used three other substitutes, leaving him with few options on his bench for moves, while Scioscia still had his closer, Brian Fuentes, available. Facing Alfredo Aceves, the Angels' offense got going. Matthews walked and Aybar bunted him over to second. Figgins singled to give the Angels a 3-2 lead and took second on the throw from the outfield. Aceves walked Bobby Abreu intentionally, but with Los Angeles again on the verge of breaking the game open, Torii Hunter grounded into an inning-ending double play. Still, the Angels only needed three outs to even the series, and had Fuentes, the leading save-gatherer in the majors this year, on the mound. However, for all his 48 saves, Fuentes had been erratic during the regular season, and would have to face Alex Rodriguez first; as he had done to the Twins' Joe Nathan a week earlier, A-Rod unloaded another clutch home run to the opposite field, tying the game again. Fuentes got the next three outs, but the game continued. Girardi needed three pitchers to complete the 12th, but the Angels failed to score as Matthews struck out against David Robertson with two men on. Ervin Santana came in to pitch for the Angels, and he loaded the bases before forcing Rodriguez to fly out to Hunter in center to end the inning.
The game was finally decided in the 13th inning. For Los Angeles, Aybar led off the inning by reaching first on Cano's error. Figgins laid down a bunt to move him to second. Abreu was walked intentionally, to bring up Hunter, who grounded out to Mark Teixeira at first base, advancing both runners 90 feet. Up came Guerrero, but all he could do was tap the ball back to the pitcher Robertson to end the inning. The Yankees, though, would not be denied. Jerry Hairston, pinch-hitting for Freddy Guzman who had come in as a pinch runner earlier in the game, hit a lead-off single. Brett Gardner, another player who'd come in as a pinch runner, executed a sacrifice bunt. Cano was walked intentionally to set up the double play, and Melky Cabrera obliged by hitting a ground ball to Izturis at second. Rushing to try to turn the twin killing, Izturis threw the ball away from SS Aybar who was covering second base. 3B Figgins picked up the stray throw and tried to gun down Hairston who was going home, but his relay arrived late and the Yankees were winners of the marathon, 4-3, with the Angels left to reflect on what might have been.
 Game 3 @ Angel Stadium
|WP: Ervin Santana (1-1), LP: Alfredo Aceves (0-1)|
|Home Runs: - NYY: Derek Jeter (2), Alex Rodriguez (2), Johnny Damon (1), Jorge Posada (1); LAA: Howie Kendrick (1), Vladimir Guerrero (1)|
- Attendance: 44,911
For the second game in a row, the ALCS went into extra innings in Game 3, and for the second game in a row, the Angels wasted a number of chances to put the game away. However, this time, they did finally manage to capitalize on a scoring chance in the 11th inning and sent the Yankees to their first defeat of the 2009 postseason, 5-4, cutting New York's lead in the series to 2 games to 1. On the mound were veteran Andy Pettitte for the Yankees, who with 15 wins in the postseason in his career was trying to break a tie with John Smoltz for all-time postseason win leader, and young Jered Weaver for the Angels, who had been outstanding at home during the regular season. Both would be long gone by the time the game was settled.
New York's offense this afternoon was entirely focussed on the solo home run. In fact, they hit four of them, to stay even with the Angels through regulation innings: Derek Jeter went deep on the third pitch of the game in the 1st, Alex Rodriguez did so in the 4th and Johnny Damon in the 5th, all against Weaver, to build a 3-0 early lead. The Angels used the same weapon in the bottom of the 5th, as Howie Kendrick's blast made the score 3-1. Los Angeles demonstrated in the 6th that the home run could also be used with men on base when Vladimir Guerrero sent a ball behind the left field wall with Bobby Abreu on board, to tie the game at 3. The Angels then took a short-lived lead in the 7th when Kendrick hit a triple off Joba Chamberlain and pinch-hitter Maicer Izturis sent him home with a sacrifice fly. That lead lasted less than an inning; with Kevin Jepsen on the mound, Hideki Matsui walked and was replaced by speedy pinch-runner Brett Gardner. But Gardner was caught stealing, and the bases were empty when the next batter, Jorge Posada, connected for the Yankees' fourth homer of the day, which tied the game again.
It was now the Angels' turn to waste scoring opportunities. Abreu led off the 8th inning with a double against Phil Coke, but strayed too far away from second base; 1B Mark Teixeira sneaked in behind him and tagged him out on a relay from Derek Jeter to snuff an opportunity. In the top of the 9th, Mike Scioscia did some daredevil managing, ordering an intentional walk to Rodriguez with 2 out and the bases empty in order to face Gardner. Joe Girardi replied by sending in pinch hitter Jerry Hairston, who struck out against Brian Fuentes. The Angels went down in order in the bottom of the 9th, but floundered what seemed like a priceless opportunity after the Yankees failed to score in their half of the 10th. Back-up catcher Jeff Mathis led off the inning with a double off Philip Hughes. Girardi brought in Mariano Rivera to face Erick Aybar, who laid down a sacrifice bunt towards the mound; Rivera picked it up and tried to throw out Mathis at third base, but his relay went past Rodriguez, towards Damon in left. However, Mathis was held up at third base. With the situation critical, Rivera pulled off one of his sterling performances. He induced Chone Figgins to hit a ground ball to first. Teixeira retired him and held Mathis at third, putting Aybar on second. Girardi then ordered Abreu to be walked intentionally to load the bases, and inserted Hairston - nominally the DH - into the game in left field to have a better arm at that position. Rivera then induced two more weakly-hit ground balls to Teixeira from Torii Hunter and Guerrero that ended the inning without a score.
This failure to score the winning run could have completely deflated the Angels, especially after coming up short a number of times in Game 2, but they kept their focus. In the top of the 11th, Ervin Santana retired the Yankees in order, including striking out third-string catcher Francisco Cervelli sent in to pinch-hit for Rivera, whose name was now in the batting order following Hairston's insertion into the defensive alignment. David Robertson came in to pitch for New York and retired the first two men he faced. Then, for some reason, Girardi replaced him with Alfredo Aceves, the 8th Yankee pitcher of the game. Kendrick greeted him with a single, bringing Mathis to the plate. He hit a ball to the wall in left, scoring Kendrick all the way from first base with the winning run.
 Game 4 @ Angel Stadium
|WP: CC Sabathia (2-0), LP: Scott Kazmir (0-1)|
|Home Runs: - NYY: Johnny Damon (2), Alex Rodriguez (3); LAA: Kendry Morales (1)|
- Attendance: 45,160
The Yankees took a three games to one lead in the series with a convincing 10-1 victory in Game 4. CC Sabathia, pitching on short rest, demonstrated no ill effects, quite the contrary, as he gave the Yankees 8 efficient and dominant innings to win his second game of the series, and in the process gave a bullpen that had been overtaxed by two consecutive hard-fought extra-inning contests a much-needed rest. For the Angels, late-season acquisition Scott Kazmir, who had been obtained from the Tampa Bay Rays to provide another experienced starter for the postseason, failed in his mission to contain New York's offense. He did keep the Yankees off the scoreboard for 3 innings, but was gone before an out was recorded in the 5th.
The Yankees opened hostilities in the 4th when Alex Rodriguez hit a lead-off single and went to third on a double by Jorge Posada. After an out, Robinson Cano hit a ground ball to 2B Howie Kendrick, who tried unsuccessfully to cut off Rodriguez at the plate. A-Rod slid under the tag to score the game's first run. After Nick Swisher walked to load the bases, Melky Cabrera singled to drive in two runs, making the score 3-0. Kazmir then appeared to pick-off Swisher at second base, but in the first of three umpiring blunders in the game, he was called safe. The inning continued as Jeter walked to load the bases again. Johnny Damon hit a fly ball caught by Torii Hunter in center field, and Swisher appeared to score easily on the sacrifice fly but the Angels appealed at third base and Swisher was called out for leaving the base early. The televized replay indicated that third base umpire Tim McClelland had no grounds to make such a call.
New York was back at work in the 5th, as Mark Teixeira led off the inning with a single off Kazmir. Jason Bulger was brought in to face Rodriguez, but A-Rod deposited a pitch into the stands for a 5-0 lead; it was the 8th consecutive postseason game in which A-Rod had driven in a run, tying a record set by Lou Gehrig and tied only the day before by the Phillies' Ryan Howard in the NLCS. Posada drew a walk, and stole second as Hideki Matsui struck out against Darren Oliver, who had come in for the ineffective Bulger. Cano followed with a double to center, but Hunter made a great feint, pretending he was about to catch the ball; Posada scurried back to second base, and could only reach third when the ball hit the ground at the base of the fence. Swisher then hit a tapper back to Oliver and Posada was running on the play. He was only halfway to home when Oliver's throw was caught by catcher Mike Napoli, who ran him back to third. However, Cano was now already almost on third. Napoli tagged both Cano and Napoli, as neither was touching the third base bag, but McClelland made another umpiring mistake, only calling Posada out. The Angels were incensed, and when they came to bat in the bottom of the inning, seemed to have regained some life. The second hitter of the frame, Kendry Morales, drove a ball just behind the center field fence for a home run, cutting the lead to 5-1. Napoli and Erick Aybar followed with singles as Sabathia was apparently in the ropes. But he caught his breath and got Chone Figgins to ground out and Bobby Abreu to fly out to end the last Angels' threat of the evening.
The Yankees added 5 more runs in the late innings, including a two-run home run by Damon off Matt Palmer in the 8th, making the final score 10-1, but the game had already been decided in the 4th and 5th innings. The Angels were now in a deep hole, with a rest day coming up, meaning the Yankees could now start a well-rested A.J. Burnett in Game 5 against John Lackey.
 Game 5 @ Angel Stadium
|WP: Kevin Jepsen (1-0), LP: Philip Hughes (0-1), SV: Brian Fuentes (1)|
|Home Runs: none|
- Attendance: 45,113
The Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim staved off elimination with a tense 7-6 win at home in Game 5, in a game that featured a number of clear swings in momentum. A.J. Burnett, coming off two solid outings in his first two postseason starts, was on the mound for the Yankees, throwing to his preferred catcher, back-up backstop Jose Molina, while the Angels sent their ace, John Lackey, who had been shaky in the series' first game.
Lackey once again began the game on the wrong foot, issuing singles to Derek Jeter and Johnny Damon to open the game, but he regrouped himself by striking out Mark Teixeira, then retiring Alex Rodriguez on a pop-up and Hideki Matsui on a ground ball. The Angels then struck and struck hard. The first five batters that Burnett faced reached base, and before an out was recorded, Los Angeles was up 4-0. Chone Figgins drew a lead-off walk; Bobby Abreu doubled, moving Figgins to third; Torii Hunter singled, driving in both runners; Vladimir Guerrero doubled for another run and Kendry Morales drove him in with another single. All of the base hits were hit solidly, Burnett's curve ball had no bite and pitching coach Dave Eiland had already made a visit to the mound. In earlier days, Burnett would have been taken out of the game at that point, but the Yankees had not even started warming up anyone, knowing that such an early exit would amount to conceding the game to the Angels and, given their lack of a true long reliever, would significantly tax their bullpen for the next games. So Burnett stayed in, and found his groove. He got out of the inning with a fly out to the warning track and a double play grounder, got another double play grounder to escape potential trouble in the 2nd, and in the 3rd wiggled out of a jam when Torii Hunter was erased in a rundown while trying to score from third base with one out on a ground ball to shortstop.
In the meantime, Lackey was pitching superbly. After his hiccup in the opening frame, he had the Yankees completely mesmerized and unable to mount a significant threat. When the 7th inning opened, he still was nursing the 4-0 lead and was seemingly in complete control of the ballgame. He retired Nick Swisher to lead off the 7th, then things began to unravel. Melky Cabrera hit a double, Jorge Posada, who had pinch hit for Molina earlier in the game, drew a walk, as did Jeter to load the bases. Damon flew out to Juan Rivera in left, whose throw home was strong enough to send Cabrera scurrying back to third base, just ahead of a tag. Mike Scioscia then took a fateful decision with the left-handed hitting Teixeira coming up. Lackey clearly wanted to stay to end the inning, particularly as Teixeira was mired in a slump, but Scioscia decided otherwise. He asked left-hander Darren Oliver, impeccable so far in key situations in the postseason, to come in to pitch. Teixeira drove his first pitch to deep center for a base-clearing triple, and suddenly the Angels' lead was down to 4-3. Oliver intentionally walked the red-hot Rodriguez, but Matsui singled to tie the score. Kevin Jepsen came in to pitch, but he gave up a triple to Robinson Cano that scored two more runs, and the Yankees were now ahead 6-4.
It was now Joe Girardi's turn to make a fateful decision. Burnett had given him more than he had any right to expect after his terrible start to the game, and in fact had been so efficient in shutting down L.A. in the middle innings that his pitch count was still in the low 80s. So he came back to start the 7th, in spite of the long lay-off between innings. Jeff Mathis, the Game 3 hero, hit a single to start the inning, and Erick Aybar drew a walk. Girardi now brought in Damaso Marte, who had been awful both in the regular season and in the postseason, for one of the most important innings of the Yankees' season. To Marte's defense, he did as well as could be expected, allowing a sacrifice bunt by Figgins and a run-scoring ground out by Abreu. Philip Hughes, a pillar of the Yankees' bullpen since being given the role in May, was now brought in to pitch. He walked Hunter to load the bases again, and Guerrero followed with a game-tying single. Morales then hit another single, and the Angels were again in the lead, this time 7-6, having effected another huge swing in momentum.
Scioscia took no chances for the 8th inning. He asked Game 3 starter Jered Weaver to pitch, and the starter responded with a masterful 1-2-3 inning. Joba Chamberlain was now in for New York, and almost let the Angels put the game away. Rivera led off with a double and yielded to pinch runner Reggie Willits. After Mathis struck out, Aybar hit an infield single to place runners on the corners. Girardi now called on Mariano Rivera to get him out of the jam. Aybar immediately stole second base but Figgins lined out to right, not giving Willits an opportunity to tag up and score. Abreu flew out to center to end the threat.
The Yankees had one more chance, against closer Brian Fuentes, whom they had victimized in Game 2, with the heart of the order coming up. Fuentes started strong, retiring Damon and Teixeira on fly balls. Up came A-Rod, and, in a repeat of Game 3 strategy, he was walked intentionally. Freddy Guzman pinch ran for him and Hideki Matsui drew a walk. Brett Gardner ran for him. This was another unusual decision by Girardi, since it meant the strongest defender of his two pinch runners - Gardner - would only have been available to play the field, if the Yankees had scored, by relinquishing the use of the designated hitter for the remainder of the game, something which had already cost Girardi earlier in the series. And the possibility of the Yankees scoring increasing when Fuentes hit Cano with a pitch to load the bases. With the tension at its zenith, Fuentes reached a full count against the extremely disciplined Swisher. On the 7th pitch of the at-bat, the right fielder hit a pop-up to the infield, caught by shortstop Aybar, and the game was finally over. The two teams were headed back to New York, with a dreadful weather forecast in place for the next game.
 Game 6 @ New Yankee Stadium
|WP: Andy Pettitte (1-0), LP: Joe Saunders (0-1), SV: Mariano Rivera (2)|
|Home Runs: none|
- Attendance: 50,173
The Yankees secured their ticket to the World Series with a 5-2 win in Game 6. As had been feared at the conclusion of Game 5, the weather in New York proved uncooperative, and the game had to be pushed back by a day because of rain on October 24th. When the two teams finally took the field in New Yankee Stadium, the conditions were very good however, with none of the bitter cold that had affected the series' first two games. Two left-handers faced each other on the mound, veteran Andy Pettitte for New York, and Joe Saunders for Los Angeles.
The Angels scored the evening's first run in the 3rd, when Jeff Mathis, showing unexpected power in the series, led off the inning with a double and moved to third when Chone Figgins grounded to second for the second out. Torii Hunter followed with a single and the score was 1-0 for Los Angeles. Saunders kept the Yankees off the scoreboard over the first three innings, but allowed plenty of baserunners. In the 4th, he could no longer wiggle out of trouble. The inning's first batter, Robinson Cano, drew a walk. Nick Swisher singled and Melky Cabrera laid down a sacrifice bunt, advancing both runners. Derek Jeter drew another walk to load the bases and Johnny Damon lined a two-run single to center to give the Yankees the lead, 2-1. Mark Teixeira added another single to load the bases again, and Alex Rodriguez drew another walk for the inning's third run. Mike Scioscia decided to remove Saunders at this point; he had not been hit hard, but his control was very poor and he had been flirting with disaster all game. Darren Oliver came in and immediately coaxed a double pay grounder from Jorge Posada to end the threat. New York was ahead, 3-1, however.
Andy Pettitte was rolling along at that point, as was Oliver. Both teams placed men on base, but neither came particularly close to scoring until the 8th. By then, Pettitte had left the game, and Ervin Santana had succeeded Oliver on the mound for the Angels. Joe Girardi called on Mariano Rivera to pitch the game's last two innings in order to get the Yankees into the World Series. His assignment started with a bump, however. Figgins led off with a single and went to second on a ground out. Hunter grounded out as well, but Vladimir Guerrero got his third base hit of the night on a single to right, sending Figgins home to cut the lead to 3-2. Scioscia put in Reggie Willits to run for Vlad, but he was stranded when Kendry Morales grounded out.
The Yankees then sealed their victory in the bottom of the 8th inning. Santana walked Cano to start the inning and gave way to lefthander Scott Kazmir, the Game 4 starter. Swisher laid down a sacrifice bunt which Morales fielded, but 2B Howie Kendrick, who had moved over to cover first base, dropped his relay for an error and both runners were safe. Cabrera followed by also laying down a bunt, fielded by Kazmir, who threw a lob over Kendrick's head into short right field. Cano came in to score, Brett Gardner, who had come in for Swisher as a pinch-runner, stopped at third and Cabrera stood on second. The Angels were in deep trouble with no one out. Kazmir managed to force Jeter to hit a tapper back to him for the first out, with the runners unable to advance. Johnny Damon then walked to load the bases and Mark Teixeira hit a fly ball to center, scoring Gardner on the sacrifice fly for a 5-2 lead. Jered Weaver came in to pitch, and working carefully around Rodriguez, issued him a walk to load the bases again - it was A-Rod's fifth presence on the bases on the evening, courtesy of two singles and three walks. Weaver finally got out of the inning by striking out Posada. With a three-run lead, Rivera could now coast through the 9th. He retired the three batters he faced in order, getting pinch-hitter Gary Matthews to strike out to end the game.
The Yankees were returning to the World Series for the 40th time, the first since 2003, to meet the Philadelphia Phillies. CC Sabathia, author of two wins in his two starts, was named the series' Most Valuable Player, although Alex Rodriguez, whom the Angels never figured how to get out in the entire series, would also have been a fitting choice. For his part, Andy Pettitte recorded the 16th postseason win of his career, breaking the tie he held with John Smoltz as the career leader; it was also the fifth time he had clinched a postseason series with a win, another record.
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