(Sports Network) – Mark Teixeira’s two-run home run in the seventh inning proved to be the game-winner as the New York Yankees took Game 1 of their American League Division Series matchup against the Minnesota Twins with a 6-4 win.
Curtis Granderson hit a two-run triple while Jorge Posada and Robinson Cano each added an RBI for the Yankees, who come into a quest for their 28th World Series title as the wild card in the American League.
CC Sabathia (1-0), who set a career high with 21 wins this season, went six innings in the start and was charged with four runs — three earned — on five hits with three walks and five strikeouts.
Mariano Rivera worked the final four outs to record the 40th postseason save of his career.
Michael Cuddyer hit a two-run home run, Danny Valencia drove in a run, and Jim Thome scored twice for the Twins, who took the AL Central for the sixth time in the past nine seasons.
Francisco Liriano went 5 2/3 innings in the start and was charged with four runs on six hits with three walks and seven strikeouts. Jesse Crain (0-1) was handed the loss for giving up the home run to Teixeira.
Game 2 will take place on Thursday at Target Field, which saw its first-ever playoff game on Wednesday in its inaugural season.
This series is a rematch of one of last year’s American League Division Series matchups. That series, though, saw the Yankees with home-field advantage and the team took advantage of that situation to sweep the Twins in three games and move on to eventually capture their 27th World Series title.
The game was tied after six innings, but the Yankees went ahead in the seventh frame.
With Crain on the mound and one out, Nick Swisher singled to right. Teixeira then worked a full count before tagging a slider and keeping it just fair of the right field foul pole for a 6-4 advantage.
Boone Logan got the first two outs in the bottom of the seventh before a Joe Mauer single brought David Robertson out of the bullpen. Robertson walked Delmon Young and Thome came to the plate as the go ahead run, but he got the big slugger to swing at a curveball for strike three to get out of the frame.
Minnesota again threatened in the eighth, and again came up empty. Kerry Wood started the inning and struck out Cuddyer, but then walked Jason Kubel before giving up an infield single to Valencia. A groundout by J.J. Hardy moved both runners into scoring position and brought to the mound Rivera, who got Denard Span to ground out to short to end the inning.
Rivera stayed on for the ninth and easily got the first two outs, but then allowed a single to right by Young that appeared to be caught on the run by Greg Golson, but it was ruled a hit. It didn’t matter, though, as Rivera got Thome to pop out on the first pitch to end the game.
After the Yankees stranded men on first and second in the second inning, the Twins went ahead in the bottom of the frame.
Thome was hit by a pitch on the upper right shoulder to leadoff the inning. Cuddyer followed by crushing a 2-0 sinker over the wall in dead center for a 2-0 advantage.
The Yankees got their first two men on base in the third, but Liriano kept them off the board as he got the next three batters out, including a strikeout of Alex Rodriguez on three straight sliders to end the inning.
Minnesota tacked on another run in the third thanks to the speed of Orlando Hudson. He led off the inning with a single and a weak grounder back to first from Mauer saw Hudson wind up at third as he was running on the pitch. A passed ball with Young at the plate saw Hudson come home for a 3-0 lead.
Liriano set down New York in order in the fourth and fifth before the Yankees put together a big sixth inning.
With one out, Teixeira doubled and moved to third on a wild pitch. Rodriguez then worked a walk before Cano brought home the first run with a single to right. After Marcus Thames struck out, Posada punched a single to right and Granderson followed with a towering shot off the wall in right-center for a triple and a 4-3 lead.
Minnesota, though, tied it right back up in the bottom of the frame. With two outs, Thome walked, Cuddyer doubled and Kubel walked to load the bases. Valencia then drew a free pass on four straight balls to tie the contest. Sabathia limited the damage to just the one run as he struck out Hardy to end the frame.
It was announced prior to the series that Twins first baseman Justin Morneau will miss the entire playoffs due to effects from a concussion suffered on July 7…Sabathia has beaten the Twins the last seven times he’s faced them, including a win in Game 1 of the ALDS series between these two squads last year…The Yankees have lost all three series that they have entered as a wild card…The Twins went 0-for-7 with runners in scoring position and left 10 men on base…Andy Pettitte takes the mound for New York in Game 2 and will be opposed by Carl Pavano for Minnesota…The Twins have lost 10 straight postseason games, which includes seven losses to the Yankees.