Yankees send series back to Los Angeles

New York overtakes Angels with two-run seventh, forces deciding fifth game tonight

Yankees 3, Angels 2


New York -- They may be playing with bags under their eyes tonight in Anaheim, but sleep deprivation will be the last thing on the New York Yankees' minds.

The Yankees staged a late-inning comeback last night to stun the Los Angeles Angels, 3-2, in Game 4 of their American League Division Series at Yankee Stadium. Both teams then took off on cross-country flights in the wee hours of the morning for a winner-take-all battle to play the Chicago White Sox in the American League Championship Series.

Whether their brains can catch up to their bodies is irrelevant. Everyone will be going on adrenaline.

"I don't think it really matters," Yankees shortstop Derek Jeter said of the lack of sleep. "Yeah, it's not an ideal situation, but I remember we played here against Oakland one year, it was an 8 o'clock game, and we lost and had to fly across the country and play an afternoon game out there.

"You have no choice. Why complain about it? You can't do anything about it."

Angels ace Bartolo Colon will face Mike Mussina tonight in a rematch of Game 1, which Mussina won.

After being no-hit by Angels starter John Lackey into the fifth inning yesterday, the Yankees rallied from a two-run deficit, scoring one run in the sixth and two in the seventh to stay alive.

Ruben Sierra's pinch RBI single off Scot Shields tied it 2-2 with one out in the seventh, and the Yankees went ahead moments later when Jorge Posada scored from third on Jeter's grounder to third baseman Chone Figgins.

A strong throw from Figgins would have nailed Posada at the plate. Figgins, however, bounced it, allowing Posada to barely beat the tag of catcher Bengie Molina.

Al Leiter got the win in relief, and Mariano Rivera pitched two scoreless innings for the save.

In what began as an engaging pitchers duel between Yankees right-hander Shawn Chacon and Lackey, a surprise substitute for ailing Jarrod Washburn, Chacon blinked first, giving up two runs in the sixth.

Lackey allowed one run on two hits over 5 2/3 innings, leaving with a 2-1 lead. He was informed by Angels manager Mike Scioscia yesterday morning that he would be replacing Washburn, who came down with a throat infection and a 102-degree temperature Saturday.

Lackey had started Game 2 on Wednesday night in Anaheim but had no hesitation when his name was called.

"John, needless to say, pitched a big game on three days' rest a couple of years ago and was fine," Scioscia said beforehand, referring to Lackey's Game 7 win against Dusty Baker's San Francisco Giants in the 2002 World Series. "He's arguably our best pitcher right now, our best starter."

Lackey held the Yankees hitless for 4 2/3 innings before Posada doubled over the head of center fielder Steve Finley. But he escaped the threat by retiring Bubba Crosby on a comebacker to end the inning.

The Angels finally broke through in their half of the sixth.

After limiting the Angels to one hit over the first five innings, Chacon walked Juan Rivera on four pitches leading off. A sacrifice and a groundout advanced Rivera to third. Figgins' double into the right-field corner broke the scoreless tie, and before Chacon could catch his breath, Orlando Cabrera doubled home Figgins on the next pitch, making it 2-0.

The Yankees began their comeback in the bottom of the sixth after Lackey walked Alex Rodriguez with one out. Rodriguez advanced to second on Jason Giambi's broken-bat groundout, then scored on a sharp single to left by Gary Sheffield. That prompted Lackey's exit after 78 pitches.

Shields got the final out in the sixth but ran into trouble in the seventh when Robinson Cano led off with an infield hit and Posada walked with one out. That set up Sierra's game-tying single and the close play at the plate on Figgins' throw.

The result? The series heads back to the West Coast.

The only certainty is that whoever plays the White Sox will be dead tired by tomorrow.

Paul Sullivan writes for the Chicago Tribune.

The playoffs


Yankees 3, Angels 2 Jorge Posada scored the go-ahead run on Derek Jeter's seventh-inning bouncer, enabling New York to force a decisive Game 5 in Los Angeles.

Astros 7, Braves 6, 18 inn. Chris Burke ended the longest postseason game in history with a home run in the bottom of the 18th, lifting Houston into the NL Championship Series.


Yankees@Angels, 8:19 p.m., chs. 45, 5; Mussina (13-8, 4.41 ERA) vs. Colon (21-8, 3.48)

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