10/07/09 10:02 PM EST
Yankees Short Hops: Game 1
CC, Jeter star to take down Twins in ALDS opener
By Thomas Boorstein / MLB.com
A two-run deficit didn't faze the Yankees, who used their methodical offense and strong pitching from CC Sabathia in the ALDS opener. Frozen moment
Nick Swisher's two-handed, clenched-fist celebration at second base after chasing home Robinson Cano with an RBI double in the fourth inning. The hit gave the Yankees a lead they would never relinquish and earned a roar from the crowd in the first postseason game at the new Yankee Stadium.
29 -- Postseason at-bats with a runner on base between hits for Alex Rodriguez, who snapped a streak that dated back to 2004 with an RBI single in the Yankees' three-run fifth inning. A-Rod added an RBI single off the wall in right to pad the lead in the seventh.
The Yankees' ace left-hander didn't appear to be at his sharpest, but he was good enough to limit the Twins to two runs in 6 2/3 innings. His team will take him slightly off his game if that effort includes an eight-strikeout performance with no walks and one hit batter.
With a leadoff single in the first, a game-tying two-run homer in the third and leadoff walks in the fifth and seventh innings, Jeter did his job atop the Yankees' order. His homer, his 18th career postseason blast, tied Reggie Jackson and Mickey Mantle for third place on the all-time postseason homer list. He still has Manny Ramirez (28) and former Yankee Bernie Williams (22) ahead of him.
A two-run homer to center field capped the Yankees' three-run rally in the fifth inning and doubled their lead. That cushion proved to be of great comfort to New York when Phil Hughes helped Sabathia escape a jam in the top of the seventh.
Sense of October
After Sabathia left the game with two outs and two on in the seventh inning, Hughes entered and needed 10 pitches to dispose of pesky shortstop Orlando Cabrera. A hit would have brought the Twins within two and made the Yankees sweat, but Hughes got Cabrera swinging and exited to a roar from the 49,464 fans.
2 AB, 2 H, 1 HR, 2 RBI, 3 R, 2 BB
Comment: Jeter showed a dynamic skill set with his game-tying two-run homer and fulfilled the job of a leadoff hitter by reaching base all four times he came up and scoring three runs.
6 2/3 IP, 2 R, 1 ER, 8 H, 0 BB, 8 K's, 1 HBP
Comment: Sabathia worked more than six innings in a postseason game for the first time in his career and picked up his first playoff win since 2007, when, while on the Indians, he beat the Yankees in Game 1 of the 2007 American League Division Series.
If the good A.J. Burnett shows up in Friday's Game 2, the Yankees can put a stranglehold on the series before another off-day and a trip to Minnesota for Sunday's Game 3.
Thomas Boorstein is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.