Saturday, October 9, 2010

Yankees Smack The Twins With A Broom...Again

For the second straight post-season, the New York Yankees have swept the Minnesota Twins in the American League Division Series.

While the first two games were loaded with drama, the clincher seemed to be in the bag from the start. Phil Hughes was dominant; his fastball blew past hitters, his curveball broke off nastily, and his occasional change up did it's work. All told it was seven innings of shutout baseball for Hughes in his first post-season start. Hughes allowed just four hits, walked one, and struck out six.

Hughes' counterpart, left-hander Brian Duensing wasn't so lucky. Also making his first post-season start, Duensing departed in the 4th with a 5-0 deficit.

The Yankees MVP was in the middle of things as usual and got things started in the 2nd inning. Robinson Cano drilled a triple to center field and came home with the game's first run on a Jorge Posada single. One inning later Nick Swisher doubled to center and scored on Mark Teixeira's frozen rope single to left.

The Yankees delivered the knockout punch in the 4th. It was Cano again starting things off with a single. Then Marcus Thames pounded a sinker into the bleachers in right-center field for a 4-0 lead. Duensing retired Posada, but was sent to the showers when Curtis Granderson walked. The final run of the inning would be added to Duensing record when Granderson stole second base and moved to third on Joe Mauer's throwing error. Brett Gardner brought his outfield partner to the plate with a sac fly to left off Matt Guerrier.

Hughes, meanwhile, was cruising. He retired the first nine hitters of the game and faced the minimum number of batters through four innings. The Twins put two aboard with one out in the 5th, but Hughes struck out Michael Cuddyer and got rookie Danny Valencia to fly out. An inning later Orlando Hudson and Mauer stroked back to back two out singles, but Hughes blew away Jason Kubel for the third out.

Hudson would finally get Minnesota on the board in the 8th with an RBI single off a shaky Kerry Wood, but the Twins left the bases loaded. Boone Logan came on to get Kubel on a pop up and David Robertson retired Delmon Young on an inning ending fly ball. Then it was down to Mariano Rivera who, though it was not a save situation, retired the Twins in order with relative ease.

The Yankees now will wait to play until Friday when the ALCS starts in either Tampa Bay or Texas. The Rays avoid a sweep this afternoon by defeating the Rangers 6-3.

For the Twins, different year, same old story.

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