Playoff Capsules

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Playoff Capsules

MINNEAPOLIS — Andy Pettitte gave the New York Yankees yet another clutch performance in the postseason, pitching seven smooth innings in a 5-2 victory over the Minnesota Twins on Thursday evening for a 2-0 lead in their AL division series.

Lance Berkman hit a home run in the fifth and a go-ahead double in the seventh — right after a disputed pitch led to the ejection of Twins manager Ron Gardenhire — and sent the Twins to their 11th straight postseason loss. Eight of those have come against the Yankees, who trailed in each of those games.

The Twins haven’t won a postseason game since 2004, matching the Philadelphia Phillies (1915-1976) for the second-longest streak in history behind the Boston Red Sox (1986-1995) and their 13 in a row.

Berkman put the Yankees ahead 3-2 with his double, one pitch after it appeared Carl Pavano sneaked strike three past him. Gardenhire barked at plate umpire Hunter Wendelstedt after Berkman’s hit and got tossed.

Mariano Rivera pitched the ninth for his second save of the series. Game 3 is Saturday night at Yankee Stadium.

Rangers 6, Rays 0

ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. (AP) — Two dominating pitching performances and a long home run by playoff neophyte Michael Young have the Texas Rangers on the verge of winning a postseason series for the first time.

Young hit a three-run homer one pitch after a disputed check-swing that prompted the ejection of Tampa Bay manager Joe Maddon, helping C.J. Wilson and the AL West champions beat the Rays for a 2-0 lead in their AL division series.

Texas is the only current major league franchise that’s never won a playoff series. After taking two games on the road, that can change when the best-of-five matchup shifts to Rangers Ballpark for Game 3 on Saturday.

Ian Kinsler also homered for the Rangers, who are in the playoffs for the first time since 1999.

Wilson allowed two hits in 6 2-3 innings. Relievers Darren O’Day and Darren Oliver completed the combined two-hitter before a sellout crowd of 35,535.

Rays starter James Shields allowed four runs and four hits over 4 1-3 innings.

Giants 1, Braves 0

SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — Tim Lincecum pitched a two-hitter and struck out 14 in a dominating postseason debut, and the San Francisco Giants scored their only run after a questionable umpiring call to beat the Atlanta Braves in Game 1 of their NL division series.

The two-time Cy Young winner pitched a gem, a day after Philadelphia’s Roy Halladay threw only the second no-hitter in postseason history in his debut. Lincecum outdueled playoff veteran Derek Lowe and caught a break, too.

Cody Ross singled in the only run Lincecum needed in the fourth after Buster Posey was called safe by umpire Paul Emmel on a steal of second. It was Posey’s first career steal, even though he appeared to be tagged out by Brooks Conrad on the play — retiring Braves manager Bobby Cox, the all-time leader in ejections, did not argue.

Lincecum struck out Derrek Lee for the third time to end the 119-pitch masterpiece in 2 hours, 26 minutes. He became just the 12th pitcher with 14 or more strikeouts in a postseason game.

In a postseason already filled with plenty of stellar pitching, this was the first 1-0 game in the postseason since 2005, when the Chicago White Sox finished off a World Series sweep over Houston.

Game 2 of this best-of-five series is Friday night, with 13-game winner Matt Cain going for the Giants against Tommy Hanson.

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