A-Rod, Teixeira thump Twins

KEN FIDLIN, SUN MEDIA

, Last Updated: 1:16 PM ET

NEW YORK -- Well, they don't have Alex Rodriguez to kick around any more.

For all A-Rod's many missteps, the only failing that truly mattered to Yankees fans was his inability to deliver in the playoffs.

Put a checkmark beside that one.

Rodriguez belted a two-run, ninth-inning, game-tying home run last evening, setting the stage for Mark Teixeira's walk-off game-winning homer two innings later in a 4-3 Yankees win over the Minnesota Twins. The Yankees lead the best-of-five series 2-0.

Rodriguez came into the playoffs weighed down by the statistical baggage of Octobers past, in which he had not produced as expected. In just two games this fall, he has erased those misgivings. He had two RBI singles in New York's opening victory, and added another one in the sixth inning last night before his ninth-inning heroics.

"It just feels good," Rodriguez said. "I started the year with hip surgery and I didn't know where I would be in October. I had no expectations so this feels like a little bit of magic."

He was in the on-deck circle when Teixeira belted his game-winner, leading off the 11th.

"We can enjoy this for a couple of hours," Teixeira said. "But if we don't take care of business (the rest of the series), then it loses its magic."

Former Blue Jay A. J. Burnett's intent was to make his first playoff start "just another ball game."

Mission accomplished. True to his inconsistent pedigree, Burnett was, at various stages, absolutely unhittable and at others, wild and unpredictable. When this nail-biter got down to the short strokes, he had long since used all his ammunition and handed the ball off to the bullpen. That's A.J. in a nutshell.

Burnett worked six innings. He allowed just three hits but walked five batters and hit two others.

Both teams had golden chances to win it in extra innings.

In the top of the 10th, Minnesota had the go-ahead run at third with two outs but Orlando Cabrera popped out.

In the bottom of the 10th, the Yankees had pinch-runner Brett Gardner at third with one out but Johnny Damon lined out and Gardner broke for the plate, making himself an easy double-play victim.

In the 11th, the Twins loaded the bases with nobody out but reliever David Robertson got a line out, a groundout force at the plate and a flyball out.

Joe Mauer, who led off in the 11th, had been deprived of at least a double when umpire Phil Cuzzi, working the left field line, made a foul call on a ball that was fair by at least a foot. Mauer went on to single in that at-bat but the inning would have been very different had the correct call been made.

"Next guy got a single," Twins manager Ron Gardenhire said. "I think you can figure out (how much the missed call meant)."

KEN.FIDLIN@SUNMEDIA.CA


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