slid into third base on the front end of a double steal, then popped up and came home with the go-ahead run as catcher
's throw rolled into left field.
With a pulsating play by the pinch runner, the
New York Yankees
Los Angeles Angels
they can play small ball, too, and cemented control of the race for home-field advantage throughout the postseason.
''They obviously didn't put me out there to score on a single,'' Gardner said after the Yankees' 5-3 victory Monday night.
''They told me to take a chance.''
On a night with a playoff feel,
hit a two-run triple in the fifth inning and Angels center fielder
lost his shoe chasing the drive. Teixeira then doubled to start the go-ahead rally in the eighth.
''Shoeless Torii - that was pretty funny. My spike got caught in the wall,'' Hunter said. ''I was running out of my shoes
cost the Yankees a run when he ran into third baseman
while jumping to avoid
's grounder in the fifth, and
reached 40 saves for the seventh time, the first since 2005.
and New York's
homered into the second deck in the makeup of a May 3 rainout to raise the home run total at new Yankee Stadium to 217 - two
more than were ever hit in a season at the original ballpark across the street.
New York opened a 7 1/2-game lead over second-place Boston in the AL East with 17 to play. The Yankees also took a six-game
lead over the Angels for best record in the AL.
''It was good to have a nice game today for kind of everyone to know we can play well against the Angels,'' Teixeira said.
''We know the teams that we're going to hopefully be playing in October if we get there, and the Angels are going to be one
Los Angeles, which remained six games ahead of second-place Texas in the AL West, has gone 34-20 against the Yankees in the
regular season since 2004 and eliminated New York in the first round of the playoffs in 2002 and 2005.
''I told Torii and all those guys this offseason when I signed with the Yankees, I said, 'Hopefully, we'll see you guys in
October,''' Teixeira said.
If the standings stay the same, the Angels would host Boston and the Yankees would be home against Detroit in the AL playoff
openers. Hunter, the Angels' All-Star center fielder, has been impressed by what he's seen of the Yankees.
''This year, I think it's something different about those guys,'' he said. ''It's a fire, some kind of fire, I see in those
guys. It's totally different.''
Teixeira's triple put the Yankees ahead 3-2; he pointed angrily that catcher
interfered on the swing and said it might have cost him a home run.
''I wish they'd have stopped it right there,'' said Mathis, preferring an interference call to the triple.
grounded into a tying double-play grounder in the eighth after Los Angeles loaded the bases with no outs against
Teixeira doubled off
(15-6) with one out in the bottom half, and
relieved, Gardner ran for Teixeira, and the Yankees went ahead when the runners stole on a 1-1 pitch to
bounced the throw past Figgins, who was playing off the bag.
added a run-scoring single.
''I thought we controlled his jump at second base pretty good,'' Angels manager
said. ''Mike threw a ball that sailed away a bit and Chone couldn't make the play.''
said he'd probably make the same moves in the same situation in the playoffs.
''That's what they try to do. They try to do the same thing. They try to put pressure on you,'' Girardi said. ''We did it
a little bit different. I like the options that we have. We don't always want to be a club that has to hit the ball out of
the ballpark to score runs.''
NOTES: After hitting 21 of his first 24 homers on the road, Swisher has three straight at Yankee Stadium. ... There were lots
of empty premium seats. Attendance was announced at 44,301, the lowest at Yankee Stadium since a makeup game on July 23, with
a turnstile count of 30,070. ... Teixeira hadn't tripled since Aug. 11, 2007. ...
allowed one run and four hits in four innings and was pulled after 67 pitches. After limiting his pitch count to as few as
35 in recent starts, the Yankees are allowing him to gradually build back up.