10/02/2003 10:37 PM ET
Seventh is not heaven for Twins
Minnesota is fit to be tied as Yanks take Game 2
By Mark Sheldon / MLB.com
Game 2 wrapup: Yankees 4, Twins 1
NEW YORK -- Two games with four runs scored equals one split at Yankee Stadium.
The Twins will take it but leave town knowing they had chances to do even better.
Minnesota ran into a wall of great pitching by New York's Andy Pettitte and Mariano Rivera, who bested Brad Radke in a 4-1 decision Thursday night in Game 2 of the American League Division Series before 56,479 fans in the Bronx.
Pettitte (1-0) pitched seven sensational innings with a run and four hits allowed with a postseason-high 10 strikeouts. Rivera worked the final six outs to get the save. The best-of-five series is tied, 1-1, with Game 3 set for Saturday afternoon at the Metrodome.
"It could be worse," said reliever LaTroy Hawkins, who took the loss for giving up the go-ahead runs in the seventh inning. "We could be down 2-0, right? That's pretty good. Nobody in this clubhouse is upset about it ... we can't hang our heads."
Hawkins threw two huge scoreless innings of late-inning relief in Minnesota's 3-1 win during Game 1. Unlike that overpowering outing, Hawkins could not shut the Yankees down when called upon with one out in the seventh and 1-1 score.
Inheriting a runner on second, Hawkins fell to a 3-1 count on first batter Alfonso Soriano. The next pitch was hit for a single through the hole on the left side, scoring Nick Johnson from second base with the go-ahead run.
"I had the same stuff I had [two] days ago," Hawkins said. "They just hit it today. That's just the nature of my game. Either you get me or I get you, one of the two. There's no in-between."
The next batter, Derek Jeter, bounced a grounder to Hawkins at the mound. Having only one play to first base, he rushed what should have been a routine toss to first base. The throw was lofted high in the air and just out of reach of Doug Mientkiewicz's glove, and went for a two-base throwing error.
Jason Giambi's single to center field scored Soriano and Jeter to give New York a three-run lead. Hawkins was removed for J.C. Romero. Since first base was open, Twins manager was asked if he should have intentionally walked Giambi to get a force play.
"Yeah, I considered everything," Twins manager Gardenhire said. "But you just start looking down the lineup. They just got so many hitters there. You start thinking could I get a double play here; should I bring in a left-hander. Hawkins is my best pitcher. We had a base open there. If he loses him that's fine, go at him as hard as you can throw; 95-96 miles an hour."
Radke was worthy of a victory after throwing 6 1/3 innings with two runs allowed on five hits with two walks and four strikeouts.
"We just couldn't get any runs for him," said designated hitter Matthew LeCroy, who was 0-for-4.
The Yankees' first inning began with Radke giving up three straight shallow singles to load the bases. He minimized the damage to fourth hitter Bernie Williams' sacrifice fly to center field, scoring Alfonso Soriano to make it 1-0. Radke followed up by striking out Jorge Posada and Hideki Matsui to end the threat.
"A couple of broken bat bloopers in the first, they didn't go my way," Radke said. "I'll take one run out of that rather than bases loaded -- no outs."
Radke retired 12 of 13 batters entering the fifth inning. Meanwhile, Pettitte also retired 12-of-13 batters after issuing a leadoff walk to start the game. His run snapped when Torii Hunter's fifth-inning homer to left-center provided Minnesota's lone run.
"Andy pitched a little better than I did tonight," Radke said. "They also hit a little better than we did tonight."
The Twins weren't without other opportunities against Pettitte. After Hunter's homer, they had runners on the corners with two outs. Luis Rivas grounded out to end the inning.
In the sixth, runners were on first and second with two outs. Corey Koskie worked a 3-0 count before looking at two called strikes. The next pitch was low near the dirt, but Koskie swung and missed for strike three to end the inning. He struck out three times in the game.
"Every chance we had seemed to come with two out and he made a lot of quality pitches," Gardenhire said.
"Give him credit. He made pitches when he had to," said catcher A.J. Pierzynski, who was 0-for-4.
After a long break during the seventh inning stretch, Radke returned and hit leadoff batter Nick Johnson with a 1-2 pitch. After a sacrifice bunt by Juan Rivera, the right-hander was lifted for Hawkins.
"We carried that game deep," Gardenhire said. "You know if you eventually stay in those games all those great hitters coming up through there, you make a mistake like we made -- it ends up costing us some runs.
"You don't leave with a good feeling. We won a ballgame here but sure we had a good chance again to win here tonight."
Mark Sheldon is a reporter for MLB.com. This report was not subject to the approval by Major League Baseball or its clubs.