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Andy Pettitte Shutdown Twins, Yankees Tie Series
NEW YORK, NY. — Andy Pettitte ‘s contract with the Yankees will expire once the playoffs end. Pettitte , one of only four American League pitchers to have won more than 20 games, proved once again that the Yankees need him in their starting rotation next season. Pettitte kept the Yankees off the brink of elimination, as the Yankees used a three-run seventh for a 4-1 victory against the Minnesota Twins in game 2. The series is tied 1-1.
Following a shocking 3-1 loss in Game 1 at Yankees Stadium, another loss for the Yankees would have tied their 1976-77 playoff game-losing streak of five and put them into a serious 2-0 deficit.
Pettitte was sharp and very focused, as he allowed just one run on four hits through seven innings pitched. Pettitte also struck out a playoff career high 10 batters.
Pettitte ‘s only mistake came in the top of the fifth when Torii Hunter (2-4) launched his first career homer to centerfield to tie the game at 1.
The Yanks took an early lead in the bottom of the first when Bernie Williams’ sacrifice fly to center scored Alfonso Soriano (3-4, 2 runs), who also singled to left in the bottom of the seventh off Twins relief pitcher LeTroy Hawkins to give the Yankees a 2-1 lead.
Hawkins went 9-3 with 2 saves during the regular season and was the winning pitcher in game 1. Hawkins came in for Brad Radkie, who challenged Pettitte to a competitive pitching duel. Radkie pitched well allowing two runs on five hits through 6.1 innings, striking out 4 and walking only 2.
With two runners in scoring position, Jason Giambi (2-4) hit a 2-RBI single to centerfield that sealed the Twins’ fate.
Yankees Manager Joe Torrie wasted no time bringing in Mariano Rivera in the eighth inning. Rivera, who entered the game with 26 postseason saves, pitched two innings of hitless ball.
Sox Lose Again: The much talked-about Boston Red Sox offense has been nowhere to be found, as the Oakland Athletics took a 2-0 series lead with a 5-1 victory in Game 2. Barry Zito held the Red Sox to one run on five hits through seven innings. Zito walked 2, but stuck out 9, as Johnny Damon drove in the only run for the Red Sox.
Outside of Pedro Martinez, who left game one with a 4-3 lead in the seventh inning only to watch his bullpen blow the game with a 5-4 loss in the 12th, there are really no reliable arms in the Red Sox pitching staff.
The Yankees closer Rivera ended the regular season with 40 saves, which is two more than the entire Red Sox pitching staff (38).
With the Red Sox hitting staff on mute, the A’s have a strong chance to end their series this weekend at Fenway Park in Boston.