x Abu Dhabi, UAE Thursday 20 July 2017

Yankees and Angels both complete series sweeps

The New York Yankees beat the Minnesota Twins 4-1 to set up an America League Championship Series against the Los Angeles Angels.

Alex Rodriguez points to a teammate after tagging out the Twins' Nick Punto at third.
Alex Rodriguez points to a teammate after tagging out the Twins' Nick Punto at third.

The New York Yankees beat the Minnesota Twins 4-1 on Sunday to complete a three-game sweep of their division series and set up an America League Championship Series against the Los Angeles Angels. The Angels rallied to beat the Red Sox 7-6 in Boston to complete a sweep of their own on the same night, while in frigid Denver, the Philadelphia Phillies took a 2-1 lead over the Colorado Rockies in their NL division series with a 6-5 victory, snapping a 5-5 tie with a run in the top of the ninth.

In Minnesota, New York's Alex Rodriguez, who tied Friday's Game 2 with a home run in the bottom of the ninth, tied the score at 1-1 in the seventh with a long homer off the Twins' starter Carl Pavano. Two batters later, Jorge Posada cleared the wall in left with another solo shot. The visiting Yankees added two more runs in the ninth to set up the clash with the Angels, the winner earning a spot in the World Series.

New York's seventh-inning surge broke up a pitchers' duel between Pavano and Yankees left-hander Andy Pettitte. Pettitte, who tied John Smoltz for the most post-season wins with 15, gave up three hits in six and a third innings, walking one and striking out seven as New York improved to 10-0 against the Twins this season. It was the last Twins game to be played at the Metrodome, and as the Yankees celebrated in the middle of the diamond, ground staff began digging up the home plate to move it across the street to their new park.

The Minnesota manager, Ron Gardenhire, saluted the Yankees. "That's a great baseball team over there," he said. "You have to tip your hat to them, they deserve all the accolades. Great bullpen, bench, the whole deal." In Denver, Brad Lidge stranded runners at first and second base in the ninth on a bitterly cold Sunday night when he got Troy Tulowitzki to fly out to shallow left field, preserving the Phillies' 6-5 win over Colorado in Game 3 of their NL play-off series.

The defending World Series champions lead the best-of-five series 2-1 and can wrap it up tonight. The division winners will face the Los Angeles Dodgers in the NL Championship Series. In Boston, Vladimir Guerrero hit a two-out, two-run single off the Red Sox closing pitcher Jonathan Papelbon in the ninth inning as the Angels came back from 6-4 behind to reach the American League championship series with their first post-season sweep.

The Red Sox intentionally walked Torii Hunter with runners on second and third to bring up Guerrero, who capped the three-run comeback with his go-ahead hit off Papelbon, who had never before allowed a run in the post-season. * Reuters