NEW YORK – Alex Rodriguez is turning this postseason into his personal showcase.
Coming through under pressure once again, Rodriguez hit a tying homer in the 11th inning and the New York Yankees edged the Los Angeles Angels 4-3 Saturday night on Maicer Izturis’ throwing error in the 13th for a 2-0 lead in the A.L. Championship Series.
“Wow, what a game,” Rodriguez said.
After the rain came and went on another chilly night, New York pulled out its latest late-inning thriller and remained unbeaten in this year’s playoffs. The game ended at 1:07 a.m. when Izturis threw away Melky Cabrera’s grounder to second base.
Pinch-hitter Jerry Hairston Jr. opened the 13th with a single off losing pitcher Ervin Santana in his first postseason at-bat. Brett Gardner sacrificed and Robinson Cano was intentionally walked as the crowd chanted “Melky! Melky!”
Cabrera hit a bouncer in the hole between first and second, and Izturis curiously tried to throw back across his body to get the force at second. The low throw skipped past shortstop Erick Aybar and rolled behind third, where Chone Figgins tried to pick it up.
Figgins fumbled the ball and Hairston, who had slowed up, sped home and slid in with the winning run. It marked another sloppy performance by the Angels, and finished a game that lasted 5 hours, 10 minutes.
“Izzy just tried to do too much,” Los Angeles manager Mike Scioscia said. “You’re not going to turn two.”
The Yankees poured out of the dugout to celebrate, knocking over Hairston behind the plate.
Moments later, he took a whipped cream pie in the face from starter A.J. Burnett, which has become a fan-favorite tradition for the Yankees after walk-off wins this year.
They led the majors with 15 such victories and have added two in the playoffs – the Yankees are 5-0, including a first-round sweep of Minnesota in which Rodriguez went 5 for 11 with two home runs and six RBIs.
“I’m doing what I’ve done all year — try to stay in the moment and really enjoy the moment,” he said. “I had a blast out there today.”
It was the third homer this postseason for Rodriguez, putting October failures of the past behind him. He hit a tying shot in the ninth inning of Game 2 in the first round against the Twins, and another tying drive late in Game 3.
In this game, Rodriguez saved New York with a leadoff shot against major league saves leader Brian Fuentes to keep the game going. He had a chance to win it in the 12th, but flied out with the bases loaded to end the inning.
Derek Jeter also homered and Cano had an RBI triple for the Yankees. Mariano Rivera threw 21/3 shutout innings, his longest outing since May 30, 2006.
After a travel day, the best-of-7 series shifts to Anaheim, Calif., for Game 3 on Monday. Jered Weaver is scheduled to pitch for the Angels against Andy Pettitte, with a forecast of 73 degrees and partly cloudy skies.
The warm weather will allow players to ditch the ski masks and hoods some have sported under their baseball caps in New York. It was 47 degrees at gametime, 2 degrees warmer than Friday night, with 15 mph winds gusting to 23 mph.
Most fans were still around for the finish. It was the longest postseason game by innings since Houston beat Atlanta 7-6 in 18 innings on Oct. 9, 2005.