On a blustery night more suited to bobsleds than baseballs, CC Sabathia pitched eight innings of four-hit ball to win his second straight postseason start and the New York Yankees took advantage of a rare sloppy night by the Los Angeles Angels in a 4-1 victory Friday.
Round one goes to the Yankees.
In chilly conditions in the Bronx, more appropriate for Giants football than post-season baseball, the Bombers got off to a scorching start in the ALCS, crashing the Los Angeles Angels back down to earth as they annihilated the California club 4-1.
The "big guy," CC Sabathia, was ferocious on the mound for the Yanks, while Alex Rodriguez got his 7th RBI of the post-season, Hideki Matsui showed why he is clutch hitter with an RBI single in the fifth inning, and Derek Jeter and Johnny Damon each had two hits.
Mark Teixeira continued the club's greatness on the defensive end, making a brilliant play on a bunt by Torii Hunter in the sixth while Robinson Cano made a sparkling play on a grounder by Howie Kendrick in the 7th.
In other words, the boys from the Bronx had a picture-perfect evening.
But they got some help from the Angels' errors, as Erick Aybar and Shone Figgins of the Angels combined for a bonehead play in the first, inexplicably allowing a fly ball to drop between them in the infield. It resulted in the Yankees second run of the inning.
And then in the sixth, Hunter, a Gold Glove award winning outfielder, botched a ball in center. Are these the fundamentally sound Angels -- or some imposters?
Meanwhile, Carsten Charles Sabathia was a dominant force as he finally overcame the Angels, his longtime nemesis. The left-hander was 0-2 against Los Angeles this year and 5 and 7 in his career, in 14 lifetime starts.
With the crowd chanting "CC," Sabathia went eight strong innings, giving up just one run on four hits, striking out seven batters in 35 degree weather.
It took five long years for the Yankees to get back to the ALCS, and it looked like they were on a mission -- at least for the night.
But remember that one game does not a series make; there is still a lot more baseball to play. You can bet the Yankees are praying that the rain stays away tomorrow -- and they can keep the momentum going.