Make us your home page

Get the quickest, smartest news, analysis and photos from the Bucs game emailed to you shortly after the final whistle.

(View our Privacy Policy)

New York Yankees beat Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim 4-1 in opener of American League Championship Series

NEW YORK — The Yankees are plenty good on their own. On a cold opening night of the AL Championship Series, the Angels made it easy for them.

Whether it was the stakes, the stage or the shivering temperatures, the Angels looked nothing like themselves Friday, making myriad mistakes. And the Yankees looked every bit like the all-around powerhouse they are, taking advantage of just about all of them in a 4-1 win.

"You can't make them in this type of situation against that type of team," said Angels third baseman Chone Figgins, the Brandon High product who was in the middle of the major one. "We made mistakes, and they cost us."

The weather was certainly a big part of the story with a first-pitch temperature of 45 degrees, a biting wind and a feels-like in the 30s and going down, though the predicted rain never arrived.

"About as cold as it gets," Yankees ace CC Sabathia said.

Players tried all kinds of gear — flapped caps, hoods, ski caps — in defense, though some played in short sleeves and no one blamed the difficult conditions.

It's supposed to be worse tonight — up to a 90 percent chance of rain — which could lead to a postponement and shuffling of the series schedule as well as the Yankees' pitching plans.

But things couldn't have worked better Friday as the Yankees got the first of the four wins they need to reach the World Series for the first time since 2003. Sabathia pitched like the ace the Yankees brought him in to be (eight innings, four hits, one run), a performance manager Joe Girardi termed both "tremendous" and "sensational" with the offense clicking, the defense shining, Mariano Rivera finishing and the Angels cooperating.

Their ace, John Lackey, wasn't much, failing to get through six innings and allowing nine hits while throwing 114 pitches. And their defense was worse as they made a season-high matching three errors, a couple of misplays and one very costly nonplay, shortstop Erick Aybar allowing Hideki Matsui's routine inning-ending popup to drop in the first and the Yankees to score a second run.

Aybar, brother of the Rays' Willy, appeared to be set under the ball with Figgins in front of him, but they ended up looking at each other as the ball dropped in an episode of miscommunication Angels manager Mike Sciosica called "ugly." Johnny Damon, on second thanks to leftfielder Juan Rivera's earlier throwing error, scored.

"One of us should have called it and made the play; pretty simple as that," Figgins said.

But even their explanation wasn't simple. Figgins said he yelled "Aybar" — going against what every Little Leaguer knows of yelling only if you're calling it. Aybar said he didn't hear anything and didn't necessarily think it was his ball.

"What happened was bad communication," Aybar said through an interpreter. "No verbal at all."

Scioscia suggested the crowd noise was a factor.

The Angels kept giving. Rivera was caught playing shallow when Damon doubled over his head to open the fifth then scored on Matsui's double. Rivera made an awkward slide to corral the ball but did recover to team with Aybar to nail Alex Rodriguez — who went in elbow up — at the plate.

The sixth was even more of a mess: Lackey's two-out walk of No. 9 hitter Melky Cabrera followed by an errant pickoff throw then centerfielder Torii Hunter's bungle of Derek Jeter's single.

"It was sloppy," Hunter said. "That's just out of character for us."

Said Girardi: "I don't think you can count on that every night. That's for sure."

Marc Topkin can be reached at

Yankees 4

Angels 1



Game 2: Angels at Yankees, 7:57 tonight, Yankees lead series 1-0

TV/radio: Ch. 13; 1040-AM

New York Yankees beat Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim 4-1 in opener of American League Championship Series 10/16/09 [Last modified: Saturday, October 17, 2009 12:45am]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times


Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

  1. NFL Week 3: What we learned


    Take the knee … well, not NOW

     1. Photo of Roger Mooney for Times Sports.
  2. Marc Topkin's takeaways from Sunday's Rays-Orioles game

    The Heater

    RHP Chris Archer's primary problem Sunday, as in much of September, was a lack of slider command. When he can't throw it where he wants, and doesn't have the confidence in the changeup to throw it often, he can't win with just his fastball.

  3. Somehow, Rays' Chris Archer remains just shy of being an ace

    The Heater

    BALTIMORE — Chris Archer had another bad game Sunday.

    Chris Archer is sputtering to the finish line, his rough start on Sunday his fourth in his past five in which he hasn’t gotten past four innings.
  4. Bradenton high school senior Chasten Whitfield inspires young anglers


    MADEIRA BEACH — The kids lined up single file, snow cones in hand, a procession of sweaty, excited grade schoolers watching Chasten Whitfield throw a cast net.

    Whitfield, a senior at Bradenton Manatee, demonstrates how to throw a cast net at the FishKids tournament in Madeira Beach. She also taught knot tying.
  5. Wreck helps Kyle Busch take control of Monster Cup's ISM 300

    Auto racing

    LOUDON, N.H. — Kyle Busch saw little but billowing white smoke that engulfed the track and blinded enough drivers that it caused a tremendous wreck that notably altered the race running order.

    Kyle Busch celebrates with a burnout after his third victory of the season that earns a berth in the second round of NASCAR’s playoffs. He also has some fun with Loudon the Lobster.