Yankees 4 Twins 3 (11 ings)
NEW YORK — Mark Teixeira hit a leadoff homer in the 11th inning to give the New York Yankees a 4-3 victory over the Minnesota Twins on Friday night and a 2-0 lead in their AL playoff series.
Teixeira’s drive off Jose Mijares hit the top of the left-field wall and skipped over as the Yankee Stadium crowd roared. Teixeira tossed aside his batting helmet as he approached home and was mobbed by teammates.
“I don’t think there’s anything better in sports,” he said as his teammates celebrated around him. “I got chills right now.”
Alex Rodriguez hit a tying, two-run homer off Joe Nathan in the ninth after a leadoff single by Teixeira. Rodriguez also had a two-out RBI single for the Yankees, who are off to their first 2-0 post-season start since 1999 against Texas.
Minnesota was hurt by a blown call by left-field umpire Phil Cuzzi in the top of the 11th. Joe Mauer started the inning with a drive down the line that appeared to go off Melky Cabrera’s glove before clearly landing about a foot inside the line and bouncing into the stands. Cuzzi said it was foul — it’s been a tough week for umpires, with several missed calls — and Mauer ended up with a single when he should have had a ground-rule double. The Twins went on to load the bases with no outs but failed to score when David Robertson retired three straight to end the inning.
Teixeira then hit his first career post-season homer in the bottom half. It was New York’s first game-ending shot in the post-season since Aaron Boone’s drive against the Boston Red Sox in Game 7 of the 2003 ALCS.
Andy Pettitte will try to close out the series when he faces former Yankees pitcher Carl Pavano in Game 3 on Sunday at the Metrodome.
The Yankees improved to 9-0 against the Twins this season. Minnesota has led in all six games at the Bronx, but has failed to win any of them.
Instead, the Twins saw the Yankees’ 16th walkoff win of the season, most in the majors.
The Twins left 17 runners on base and have stranded 26 in the series. They also gave away a run when Carlos Gomez committed a baserunning blunder in the fourth.
Nick Blackburn held New York’s lineup to one run and three hits in 5 2-3 crisp innings and three relievers retired seven in a row before Nathan imploded in the ninth.
Teixeira led off with a single and Rodriguez followed with a mammoth drive into the Yankees’ bullpen in left-centre for his first post-season homer since Game 4 of the 2007 division series against Cleveland.