“Anyone who thought we were going to breeze through a series with the Angels is crazy,” said New York’s Mark Teixeira, who finished last season with Los Angeles. “This is a great team, and they came to play today.”
The Angels ended their six-game ALCS losing streak. The Yankees had been 5-0 in this postseason, starting with a sweep over Minnesota.
The Yankees had a 3-0 lead midway through the fifth on homers by Jeter, Alex Rodriguez and Johnny Damon. Andy Pettitte also appeared to be cruising toward his record 16th career postseason victory, which would have put New York one win from its first World Series in six years.
Instead, Kendrick hit a fifth-inning homer, Guerrero tied it with a two-run shot in the sixth, and Kendrick tripled off Chamberlain before scoring on Maicer Izturis’ sacrifice fly in the seventh to put the Angels ahead 4-3.
But Posada tied it again in the eighth with a shot to center off Kevin Jepsen. Jeter stranded two runners to end New York’s eighth, and Los Angeles’ Abreu was tagged out moments later while retreating to second base after his long double to center.
Only three teams have blown a 2-0 lead in a league championship series, but the 2004 Yankees are in that trio. After taking a 3-0 lead against Boston that infamous fall, the Yankees lost 13 of their next 17 postseason games before winning their first five this year.
Many fans hadn’t even settled into their Angel Stadium seats for Game 3 when Jeter ripped Jered Weaver’s third pitch into the bullpen beyond the left-field fence for his third career leadoff homer in the postseason. Rodriguez connected in the fourth for his 11th career postseason homer. He already has nine RBIs in these playoffs, a career best.
The 37-year-old Pettitte, a mainstay of New York’s playoff efforts since 1996, has made the most postseason starts (37) and pitched the most innings (231) in baseball history. He yielded seven hits and one walk, but Los Angeles’ two mid-game homers made him the first Yankees starter to allow more than two runs in this postseason.
Weaver gave up five hits and three walks in five innings, failing to recapture the dominance of his two-hit start against Boston nine days earlier.
Angels closer Brian Fuentes pitched a hitless ninth, showing no effects from Rodriguez’s tying homer in the 11th inning of Game 2. Manager Mike Scioscia ordered an intentional walk for Rodriguez with nobody on base and two outs, a move that paid off when pinch-hitter Jerry Hairston Jr. struck out.
ATLANTA (AP) - Matt Harvey pitched six hitless innings, John Buck homered and the New York Mets held off another Atlanta comeback, beating the Braves 4-3 Tuesday in the first game of a doubleheader.
Baseball playoffs: Day 15
Check out all the best action from the MLB playoffs.
Taking a look at some of the greatest catchers off all time.