Teixeira's HR in 11th helps Yanks stun Twins

BY foxsports • October 10, 2009

Mark Teixeira and Alex Rodriguez stood together as Yankee Stadium roared.

Teixeira had the chills. Rodriguez had a smile that said it all - a satisfied look after putting years of postseason failure behind him.

Teixeira hit a leadoff drive in the 11th inning to give New York a 4-3 victory over the Minnesota Twins on Friday night and a 2-0 lead in their AL playoff series. Game 2 was full of missed chances, plus a big miss by an umpire.

The first-year Yankees star connected against Jose Mijares, hitting a drive that skipped off the top of the left-field wall and into the rollicking, sellout crowd. He tossed aside his batting helmet as he approached home before being mobbed by his teammates.

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"I don't think there's anything better in sports," Teixeira said. "Best place to play in the world."

Rodriguez hit a tying, two-run homer off Joe Nathan in the ninth after a leadoff single by Teixeira. Rodriguez also had his third two-out RBI single of the series as the Yankees patched together their first 2-0 postseason start since 1999 against Texas.

Before this series, the enigmatic slugger was hitless in his previous 18 playoff at-bats with runners in scoring position.

"This whole year I'm playing with no expectations," said Rodriguez, who missed the first month of the season after hip surgery. "I'm going out and having fun doing the best that I can."

Minnesota was hurt by a blown call by left-field umpire Phil Cuzzi in the top of the 11th. Joe Mauer started the inning with a drive down the line that appeared to go off Melky Cabrera's glove before clearly landing about a foot inside the line and bouncing into the stands.

Cuzzi said it was foul - it's been a tough week for umpires, with several missed calls - and Mauer ended up with a single when he should have had a ground-rule double.

"You can't see at all from the dugout, but I think we all know the ball was fair by a long ways," Twins manager Ron Gardenhire said.

Nathan was watching the play on a TV in the visiting clubhouse.

"I wasn't the only one who had a tough night," he said. "You don't know how he missed it. There's no red flag we can throw out there to get an instant replay."

Minnesota went on to load the bases with no outs but failed to score when David Robertson retired three straight batters. Delmon Young lined out to Teixeira at first, Mauer was cut down at home on Carlos Gomez's grounder and Brendan Harris flied out.

Crew chief Tim Tschida said he looked at Mauer's ball after the game and admitted it was a blown call.

"There's a guy sitting over in the umpire's dressing room right now that feels horrible," Tschida said. "Nobody feels it worse than the umpire."

Those were the last of the 17 runners the Twins stranded. They've left 26 on base in the series, and also gave away a run when Gomez committed a baserunning blunder in the fourth.

"We left a small village on base," Harris said.

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