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|Yankees Take Commanding 3-1 Lead Over Angels in ALCS; Phillies Can Advance to Fall Classic with a Win
|ANAHEIM, Calif. (AP) -- The postseason revival of Alex Rodriguez and sturdy pitching of CC Sabathia have powered the New York Yankees within one game of going to the World Series for the first time since 2003.
A-Rod hit his fifth postseason home run, a two-run shot in the fifth inning that helped the Yanks beat the Los Angeles Angels 10-1 in Game 4 of the American League Championship Series. That gives the Yankees a 3-1 lead in the series.
Rodriguez had been known as a postseason bust in the past. But he's come alive in October this year. In addition to his homer, he had a single, double, walk and scored three runs. He has 11 RBIs in the postseason. Melky Cabrera drove in four runs.
Pitching on three days' rest, Yankees southpaw Sabathia was his typically overpowering self. He gave up a fifth inning homer to Kendry Morales, but that was it. Sabathia allowed five hits and struck out five in his eight innings.
Rodriguez started the Yankees' three-run rally in the fourth inning with a single and went to third on Jorge Posada's double. A-Rod scored the game's first run when Robinson Cano grounded to second and beat Angels second baseman Howie Kendrick's throw home. With the bases loaded, Cabrera delivered a two-run single. That broke a Yankees' 0-for-29 slump with runners in scoring position.
The Yanks could have had a fourth run in the inning. On an apparent sacrifice fly to center field, Nick Swisher was called out for leaving third base early. That ended the inning.
The Yanks knocked Angels losing pitcher Scott Kazmir out of the game in the fifth after a leadoff single by Mark Teixeira, who snapped an 0-for-13 streak. Kazmir allowed four runs on six hits in four-plus innings. Rodriguez greeted reliever Jason Bulger with a two-run home run, his fifth of the postseason. Johnny Damon added a two-run homer in the eighth.
The teams have Wednesday off before resuming the series Thursday in Anaheim. A.J. Burnett is scheduled to go for the Yanks against John Lackey.
The Philadelphia Phillies can clinch a spot in the World Series with a win in Game 5 of the NLCS with Los Angeles Wednesday night. The Phillies took a 3-1 lead in the series Monday night with a come-from-behind 5-4 win on a two-out double by Jimmy Rollins in the bottom of the ninth.
The Phils go with Cole Hamels, the MVP of last year's postseason when the Phillies won it all. The Dodgers counter with 21-year old fireballer Clayton Kershaw.
(Copyright 2009 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)