10/23/09 11:09 AM ET
Angels Short Hops: Game 5
Rally after Lackey's strong start returns ALCS to Bronx
By Rhett Bollinger / MLB.com
The Angels avoided elimination by getting an early lead and then overcoming a six-run rally by the Yankees with a three-run seventh.
The Angels, fresh off yielding six runs in the seventh inning, needed a big hit from Vladimir Guerrero with two outs and runners on first and third in the bottom of the frame. Guerrero came through an RBI single up the middle and the Angels tied the game and then retook the lead on an RBI single by Kendry Morales.
5 -- Consecutive batters to reach base for the Angels in the first inning against A.J. Burnett. Chone Figgins opened with a walk and Bobby Abreu, Torii Hunter, Guerrero and Morales all followed with hits to get the Angels out to a 4-0 lead. Game balls
Lackey cruised through the first six innings before running into trouble in the seventh, when he loaded the bases with two outs. Darren Oliver then came on to face Mark Teixeira, who promptly hit a three-run double, with all three runs getting charged to Lackey, whose final line included three runs on six hits over 6 2/3 innings.
Hunter was the team's spark plug with a two-run single in the first, and he followed it up by walking in his next at-bat and singling in his third. He also stole a base in the third inning after his walk, but he was thrown out at home while trying to advance from third on a ground ball hit by Guerrero. He also walked in the seventh inning and came around to score the go-ahead run on a single by Morales.
Guerrero provided the Angels with another big hit when he drove home the tying run in the seventh inning with two outs against reliever Phil Hughes. Guerrero also had a huge hit in Game 3 of the Division Series when he hit a two-run single of Red Sox closer Jonathan Papelbon to give the Angels the win.
Sense of October
After the Angels retook the lead with a three-run seventh inning, usual starter Jered Weaver came out to pitch the eighth inning despite throwing five innings just three days earlier. Weaver retired the side in order and even struck out Derek Jeter to end the inning.
4 AB, 3 H, 1 R
Comment: Mathis continued his hot hitting, singling in his first at-bat, doubling in his next and singling in his third at-bat to hit safely in six straight plate appearances. Mathis entered the postseason as a career .200 hitter during the regular season.
0 IP, 3 R, 2 H, 1 BB
Comment: Oliver, who was the team's most reliable reliever all season and had thrown six consecutive scoreless innings in the postseason, allowed a three-run double to Teixeira after Lackey loaded the bases, and it got worse from there. Oliver intentionally walked Alex Rodriguez before allowing an RBI single to Hideki Matsui before reliever Kevin Jepsen came on to allow a two-run triple to Robinson Cano.
"The pressure's not on us, definitely. Our backs are against the wall. They're up. And we're just going up and playing good baseball."-- Torii HunterNext step
The Angels will look to push the series to a seventh game when they travel to New York to face the Yankees for Game 6 at Yankee Stadium on Saturday at 4:57 p.m. PT on FOX. Joe Saunders will take the mound for Los Angeles against fellow left-hander Andy Pettitte.
Rhett Bollinger is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.