Skeptics wondered which Andy Pettitte would take the mound Thursday: the winner of 18 career postseason games, or the backache-beset left-hander who went 0-1, with a 6.86 ERA in his last three starts.
Answer: Playoff Andy.
Pettitte rung up No. 19 in the Yankees 5-2 win, allowing only two runs on a second-inning sac fly and Orlando Hudson’s sixth-inning solo homer as the Bombers went up 2-0 in the best-of-five series with the Twins.
Pettitte gave up five hits and a walk in seven innings, his longest outing since June 22.
Lance Berkman provided the second and third runs in a 2-for-4, 2 RBI nighh. The latter came after a close plate call extended his seventh-inning count to two balls and two strikes. Berkman took Carl Pavano’s next pitch to left center for an RBI double.
Twins manager Ron Gardenhire argued the call on a subsequent visit to the mound and was ejected.
Derek Jeter’s RBI single chased Pavano, the former Yankee who became enemy No. 1 for fans because of his bloated contract and inability to stay healthy.
Phil Hughes can send the Yanks to the ALCS with a victory Saturday.
The Yanks were aggressive against Pavano, swinging at first and second pitches often.
It paid off in some sharply struck balls, none harder than Berkman’s seventh career postseason homer, a first-pitch solo shot to left center that broke a 1-1 tie in the fifth.
Curtis Ganderson’s RBI single in the ninth gave Mariano Rivera extra cushion to notch his 41st postseason save and extend his postseason scoreless streak against the Twins to 43 1/3 innings.
the Twins to 43 1/3 innings. It wasn’t his cleanest, as he allowed a leadoff single to Joe Mauer. But Delmon Young grounded into a double play and Jim Thome popped out to left.