Yankees defeat Twins
3 games to 1
|Game||Date||Winning Team||Losing Team|
|1||Sep. 30||MIN 3||NYY 1|
|2||Oct. 2||NYY 4||MIN 1|
|3||Oct. 4||NYY 3||MIN 1|
|4||Oct. 5||NYY 8||MIN 1|
Managers: Torre, Joe, NYY; Gardenhire, Ron, MIN
Path to the ALDS: New York (101-61) won the AL East by six games; Minnesota (90-72) won the AL Central by four games
The Yankees came in as AL East champs for the sixth year in a row, producing 76 more runs and 75 more home runs than Minnesota along the way. Hideki Matsui had driven in 106 runs in his first year with New York, the rotation was at times untouchable and the Yankees seemed determined to resume work on their dynasty after an early 2002 exit against Anaheim ended the bid for a fourth straight title.
This ALDS opened at Yankee Stadium, and the Twins -- following their second straight AL Central title -- came out undaunted, with Johan Santana throwing zeroes over four innings and the bullpen unflappable. A Luis Rivas sacrifice fly in the third inning gave Minnesota a 1-0 lead, and then Torii Hunter built it to 3-0 with a two-run triple in the sixth. Eddie Guardado stopped a Yankee rally in the bottom of the ninth and the Twins were quickly ahead in the series, knowing they now could possibly clinch back home.
However, the Yankees won the next three to advance. Andy Pettitte and Roger Clemens earned decisions -- with Mariano Rivera saves -- in Games 2 and 3, and Derek Jeter's homer led a six-run fourth inning in Game 4 as New York clinched with an 8-1 win at the Metrodome. That set the stage for the first of two consecutive epic AL Championship Series with the rival Red Sox.
For Clemens, the end appeared near. He had won his 300th game during the summer and then announced that he was retiring after the season. It would be just the first of multiple such retirement plans as he continued to pitch for four more seasons. But at the time, any remaining appearances by him were considered historical attractions.