[QODLink]
Sport
Yankees book spot at World Series
The New York Yankees see off the Los Angeles Lakers 5-2 to advance to the World Series.
Last Modified: 26 Oct 2009 12:38 GMT

The Yankees celebrate booking their trip to the World Series [GALLO/GETTY]
The New York Yankees have won their first pennant in six years night, beating the Los Angeles Angels in the American League championship series to secure a place in baseball's biggest event.

The Yankees won 5-2 in Game 6 of the ALCS behind the savvy pitching of Andy Pettitte and next host defending champion Philadelphia in the World Series opener Wednesday night.

Cliff Lee is expected to face Yankees ace CC Sabathia in an enticing pitching matchup between former Cleveland teammates, and the past two American League Cy Young Award winners.

Ridiculed in the past for his October flops, Alex Rodriguez played a huge role in helping the Yankees advance through the playoffs, batting .438 with
five homers and 12 RBIs.

"I couldn't be more excited,'' Rodriguez said. "I feel like a 10-year-old kid.''

The slugger earned his first trip to the World Series during a 16-year career in which he's accomplished almost everything else.

Pettitte set a postseason record for wins, Johnny Damon hit a two-run single and Mariano Rivera closed it out in familiar fashion with a six-out save as the Yankees won their 40th American League crown by vanquishing the Angels, a longtime nemesis.

Searching for record

Now, the Yankees go for their record 27th title, when manager Joe Girardi was hired two years ago, he took jersey No. 27 with that in mind.

"We're just trying to enjoy this,'' Derek Jeter said. "Hopefully, we can play one more great series.''

Not a bad way for Jeter and crew to finish up the first season at the team's new $1.5 billion ballpark

For manager Mike Scioscia and his sloppy Angels, it was their latest playoff failure during a decade of consistent regular-season success.

Since winning their only championship in 2002, the Angels are yet to return to the World Series despite five AL West titles in the past six years.

"At times we played good baseball. At times we shot ourselves in the foot,'' Scioscia said.

After rain postponed Game 6 for a day, the clear weather and mild temperature at first pitch was a stark change from the first two games of the series.

Pettitte escaped a jam in the sixth, going to 3-0 on Kendry Morales before knocking down a comebacker with runners at second and third to preserve a 3-1 edge.

The left-hander pumped his fist, then headed for the dugout.

Pettitte left to a standing ovation with one on and one out in the seventh and tipped his cap to the sellout crowd of 50,173, the largest at the new Yankee Stadium.

He earned his 16th postseason win, breaking a tie with John Smoltz, and his fifth to close out a postseason series, also a major league record.

"We've got a lot of confidence in Andy when he's on the mound. He's been a big-game pitcher for us for 14 years,'' Jeter said.

Joba Chamberlain got two key outs and Girardi went to a well-rested Rivera in the eighth.

He gave up a two-out RBI single to Vladimir Guerrero, making it 3-2, then retired Morales to end the inning.

A diving play by first baseman Mark Teixeira helped Rivera escape further damage.

It was the first earned run allowed at home by the 39-year-old Rivera in a postseason save situation.

But the Yankees added two insurance runs in the eighth on a pair of Angels errors and Teixeira's sacrifice fly.

Rivera finished up in the ninth for his record 37th postseason save, and the Yankees had their pennant.

"You bring him in, you feel like the game's over. He's the best,'' Pettitte said.

Rodriguez reached base all four times up Sunday and drew a bases-loaded walk in the fourth that put New York up 3-1.

Including their unprecedented collapse against Boston in 2004, the Yankees had lost five straight times with a chance to close out an ALCS, and six in a row with an opportunity to end a playoff series.

But this time, New York got it done with help from Jeter, Pettitte, Rivera and Jorge Posada, all part of the late 1990s dynasty under manager Joe Torre.

Normally airtight on defense and fundamentals, the Angels made eight errors in the series and several other uncharacteristic mistakes.

The miscues continued early in the clincher, when 16-game winner Joe Saunders walked five in 3 1-3 shaky innings and Guerrero was doubled off first base on a shallow fly.

Angels run out of fight

The Angels trailed in all eight of their playoff victories against New York, including a stirring 7-6 triumph in Game 5 on Thursday night that extended the series.

The Angels eliminated New York with division series wins in 2002 and 2005.

They are the 73-63 against the Yankees in the regular season since 1996, when Jeter took over at shortstop and New York began a run of four World Series titles in five years.

Looking to lock up the pennant, the Yankees turned to a familiar source of success in Pettitte.

The 37-year-old left-hander delivered, allowing one run in 6 1-3 innings for his second closeout win of these playoffs.

Source:
Agencies
Topics in this article
People
Organisation
Featured on Al Jazeera
An innovative rehabilitation programme offers Danish fighters in Syria an escape route and help without prosecution.
Street tension between radical Muslims and Holland's hard right rises, as Islamic State anxiety grows.
Take an immersive look at the challenges facing the war-torn country as US troops begin their withdrawal.
Ministers and MPs caught on camera sleeping through important speeches have sparked criticism that they are not working.
Featured
More than 400 gaming dens operate on native lands, but critics say social ills and inequality stack the deck.
The Palestinian president is expected to address the UN with a new proposal for the creation of a Palestinian state.
Nearly 1,200 aboriginal females have been killed or disappeared over 30 years with little justice served, critics say.
Ethnic violence has wracked China's restive Xinjiang region, leading to a tight government clampdown.
Malay artists revitalise the art of puppeteering by fusing tradition with modern characters such as Darth Vader.