Jeter, A-Rod power Yankees past Twins
By RONALD BLUM
NEW YORK — Derek Jeter got a big hit, just as he did in Octobers past at the famed ballpark across the street. CC Sabathia joined in the postseason fun. Even Alex Rodriguez broke out of his playoff rut.
It was like old times in the first postseason game at the new Yankee Stadium, with New York beating these tired Minnesota Twins, 7-2, last night in the opener of their AL playoff series.
"It felt just like the old place," Jeter said. "We couldn't have drawn it up any better for us."
After Jeter's third-inning homer off loser Brian Duensing drew New York even at 2, Nick Swisher pulled a go-ahead double down the left-field line in the fourth that scored Robinson Cano from first as left fielder Delmon Young and shortstop Orlando Cabrera made a pair of poor throws.
Rodriguez had gone 0 for 29 in the postseason with runners on base dating to Game 4 of the 2004 AL championship series before chasing Duensing with an RBI single that made it 4-2 in the fifth.
From there the Yankees breezed to their first postseason win in exactly two years.
On a night with sustained winds blowing to right-center at 20 mph, with gusts up to 43 mph, Hideki Matsui followed with a two-run homer into Monument Park on left-hander Francisco Lirano's fourth pitch. The Yankees celebrated like kids, just as the Twins did when they beat Detroit in an AL Central tiebreaker at the Metrodome on Tuesday night.
"Crazy. Nuts," Swisher said. "Everyone knows I'm a little hyper. Probably the hardest thing was keeping myself under control."
Rodriguez added another run-scoring single in the seventh against Jon Rauch following an error by first baseman Michael Cuddyer, with A-Rod's drive hitting halfway up the right-field wall. New York scored five runs with two outs.
"It definitely felt good," Rodriguez said. "There's no question the numbers aren't good, but you've got to come out and play."
Wearing long sleeves on the blustery night, Sabathia got past a 22-pitch first inning and found a sharp cutter in his Yankees postseason debut.
"This is what you come here for," Sabathia said. "It was electric tonight."
Despite retiring the side in order just twice, Sabathia allowed one earned run and eight hits in 6 2/3 innings, striking out eight and walking none.