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Alex Rodriguez has done something remarkable in every game of his charmed October. CC Sabathia is settling for every time he takes the mound.
Together, they've got the New York Yankees within one game of a return to the World Series.
Rodriguez homered in the third straight game of his outstanding postseason, Sabathia pitched eight resilient innings of five-hit ball on short rest, and the Yankees beat the Los Angeles Angels 10-1 Tuesday night to take a 3-1 lead in the AL championship series.
Rodriguez had three hits and scored three runs, while Melky Cabrera drove in four runs for the Yankees, who have built a commanding cushion in this wild series with power and pitching.
One day after the Angels handed New York its first playoff loss in an extra-inning thriller, the Yankees calmly asserted control with two early rallies before piling on five runs late.
Johnny Damon added a late two-run homer for the Yankees, who could sew up their first trip to the World Series in six years with a win in Game 5 on Thursday night at Angel Stadium. New York's A.J. Burnett faces Angels ace John Lackey.
With a two-run homer over the left-field fence that silenced an excited Anaheim crowd in the fifth, Rodriguez drove in a run in his eighth straight postseason game, tying the major league record. It was his fifth homer in New York's seven postseason games, matching Reggie Jackson's iconic 1977 effort for the second-most homers in a single playoff year for the Yankees.
Bernie Williams holds the New York record with six homers in 1996, but that mark seems ripe to be toppled by A-Rod in the first phenomenal postseason for a superstar who mostly sputtered in October until now.
Rodriguez also singled and scored New York's first run in the fourth, and he doubled and scored on an error in the ninth to cap his do-it-all day.
After playing 24 innings over 9 1/2 hours and making a coast-to-coast flight over the previous three days, both teams needed a no-nonsense victory. Sabathia came through for the Yankees in his second win of the series, providing rest for New York's taxed bullpen while further frustrating Los Angeles' lineup, which is foundering in the playoffs after an outstanding regular season.
The Yankees' $161 million left-hander yielded two walks and struck out five, throwing 101 pitches. After he retired Torii Hunter on a weak grounder to end the eighth, thousands of fans stood up and left Angel Stadium, not sticking around for the final demise of their suddenly punchless club.
This program aired on October 21, 2009. The audio for this program is not available.
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