NEW YORK (Reuters) - Mark Teixeira hit a lead off home run in the bottom of the 11th inning to lift the Yankees to a 4-3 victory over the Minnesota Twins Friday that gave New York a 2-0 lead in their best-of-five division series.
In the other American League matchup, the Los Angeles Angels got a strong pitching performance from Jered Weaver and some timely hitting for a 4-1 victory over the Red Sox to go 2-0 up in their series which heads to Boston on Sunday.
Back in New York, Teixeira’s shot down the left-field line off reliever Jose Mijares came after the Twins failed to score in the top of the 11th after loading the bases with nobody out.
New York trailed Minnesota 3-1 heading into the bottom of the ninth against Twins closer Joe Nathan, but Alex Rodriguez belted a two-run homer to right-center to send the game to extra innings.
“Those guys in the middle of the lineup really came through for us today,” Yankees manager Joe Girardi said about Teixeira and Rodriguez.
It’s pretty unbelievable the feeling you have as a manager when you get to put those two guys in the lineup every day.”
Minnesota had taken the lead with two runs in the eighth off New York relievers Phil Hughes and Mariano Rivera.
The Yankees dodged a bullet in the top of the 11th with some sterling work by reliever David Robertson.
Delmon Young lined out to first baseman Teixeira, Carlos Gomez grounded to Teixeira, who forced Joe Mauer at home plate, and Brendan Harris flied out to center to end the threat.
Minnesota eluded defeat in the bottom of the 10th after the Yankees put men on first and third with one out.
Mijares got Johnny Damon to line out to shortstop Orlando Cabrera, who threw to third base to double off pinch-runner Brett Gardner.
“The emotions in this game are unbelievable,” said Girardi. “Emotions were up, down and all around.”
Minnesota got a bad break in the 11th when Mauer’s fly ball down the left-field line that eluded Melky Cabrera was ruled foul. TV replays showed that it landed in fair territory for what would likely have been a double.
Mauer ended up reaching base with a single, but the inning might have played out differently.
The dramatic ending provided by Teixeira’s first career postseason home run brought a deafening roar from the crowd of more than 50,000 as the Yankees celebrated the walk-off win.
It was an all too familiar scene for Twins manager Ron Gardenhire, whose club had been beaten three times in a row in similar fashion earlier this season in the Bronx.
“It’s really disappointing,” said Gardenhire. “I’ve been walked off enough times here.”
The Twins out-hit New York 11-7 and left 17 runners on base in the four hour, 22 minute contest as the Yankees extended their record to 9-0 this year against Minnesota.
The series shifts to Minnesota for game three on Sunday with former Yankee Carl Pavano (14-12) scheduled to start for the Twins against veteran Andy Pettitte (14-8).
additional reporting by Jahmal Corner in Los Angeles