(10:35,Game over, Yankees win 4-1, sweep ALDS) The Twins, known for their strong fundamentals, did not exhibit them on the basepaths in the series with Carlos Gomez getting thrown out in Game 2 when he overran second base in the fourth inning of that game. This wasn’t Twins baseball by any stretch of the imagination and they proved to be little competition for the Yankees, who earlier in the day watched the Angels’ dramatic comeback over the Red Sox before they set foot on the field. Nick Punto had that Bill Buckner look in his eyes, as in ‘What did I just do?’ the same one that haunts players for years after their playing career. Punto, the entire Twins and manager Ron Gardenhire seemed stunned when he was thrown out after over-running third and going through a stop sign by third base coach Scott Ullger after Denard Span’s single. Punto had led off the eighth with a double. The camera shots of the crowd had many with their face buried in their hands. From the thrill of the potential rally to the agony of the inevitable loss. What a myriad of emotion in such a short time. After Joe Nathan, who blew the save in Game 2, allowed two more runs to score in the ninth, the Twins had their last ups against Mariano Rivera. Michael Cuddyer blooped a single to right to lead off the ninth, but there were no happy endings as the Yankees held on.
(9:09, bottom 7th, Yankees 2, Twins 1)The red-hot Alex Rodriguez, who had gone hitless in his first two at-bats, put a nice easy swing on a 3-2 fastball to right field with one out in the seventh to tie. Pavano looked as if he was starting to show fatigue after he retired Mark Teixeira with a groundout to third base. He was very careful with Rodriguez and went to 3-2 before A-Rod, who has turned into the new Mr. October, did his thing. After he struck out Hideki Matsui, Jorge Posada put the Yankees ahead with a home run to left field on a 1-0 fastball. Just like that, this very fine pitchers duel turned into a Yankee lead.
(8:52, top 7th, Twins 1, Yankees 0) With two outs in the sixth, the Twins broke the ice. They mounted a two-out rally off the effective Pettitte when Denard Span singled up the middle. With Orlando Cabrera at the plate, Span stole second without a throw from Jorge Posada, but Cabrera drew a walk to extend the inning. A big walk it was. It brought up Joe Mauer, who laced a single to left field scoring Span with the first run of the game. Mauer led the league with 81 opposite field hits, but none were bigger than this one. Pettitte was mad at himself asd he walked off the mound. The Twins have not been able to hold any leads in this series. We’ll see if they can now that they need it most.
(8:13, bottom fourth, 0-0)
Quite a pitchers’ duel here at the Metrodome. Pettitte has pitched a no-hitter through four while Pavano is really dealing with a great sinker keeping Yankee hitters off-balance. Pavano has registered six strikeouts through four, benefiting from a high strike zone by home plate umpire Mark Wegner. The only hit off Pavano was an infield hit to second base by Melky Cabrera. Pettitte has five strikeouts through four and has faced the minimum 12 batters.
7:19, top second, 0-0)
Carl Pavano needed 9 pitches to retire Yanks in the top of first. Big story if Pavano can beat his old team. Twins are up facing Andy Pettitte, who is looking for his 15th playoff win. By the way it was in the low 30s today here and snow is in the forecast for tonight and tomorrow. Went for a media tour of new Target Field today and it’s absolutely stunning. Funny seeing Jorge Posada having his nails painted white before the game so Pettitte can see the signs better. Not everyone playing baseball has good eyesight. Red Sox reliever Takashi Saito has terrible eyesight and earlier this year Jason Varitek had to tape his fingers with larger tape so he could see the signs. Pettitte also had a 1-2-3 first.