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Yankees short hops
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10/07/2004 3:24 AM ET
Yankees short hops
Bombers rally three times to even up ALDS at 1
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Are you really surprised that the Yankees came back to win Game 2 over the Twins, avoiding an 0-2 deficit heading back to Minneapolis on Friday? The Yankees always seem to come through in a tight situation, and Wednesday was no different.

Alex Rodriguez was the hero on Wednesday, collecting four hits, including the game-tying double in the bottom of the 12th inning. It was the Yankees' fourth straight Game 2 win and like last year against the Twins, gives them the momentum heading on the road.

That momentum catapulted the Yankees to winning both games at Minnesota last year to finish the series. The Yankees are veterans at polishing off vulnerable teams but will have to depend on wobbly Kevin Brown for a productive outing.

Still, the theme on Wednesday was power. The Yankees hit three home runs -- by Rodriguez, Gary Sheffield and Derek Jeter -- to break an 18-inning scoreless streak in the postseason. The question is whether those Yankee bats will stay hot in the Metrodome.

Vitals check
A look at key statistics through Game 2 of the ALDS.

Team stats

Digits Trend The Deal
ERA 3.49 The starting pitching has been steady but the bullpen shaky
BA .257 Nos. 6-9 hitters were 1-for-17 in Game 2. EEK!
BA w/ RISP .118 Thank goodness for A-Rod or it would be 0-2 heading back to Minneapolis
Runs 7 The Yankees power returned and A-Rod was the catalyst
Fldg % 100 The Yankees are not beating themselves with silly mistakes

Who's hot?

Player Digits Trend The Deal
Hideki Matsui .375 BA, 1 2B, 1 RBI Made good contact off Romero's first pitch
Alex Rodriguez .600, HR, 3 RBIs This is the player the Yankees thought they were getting

Who's not?

Player Digits Trend The Deal
Ruben Sierra .000, 0 HR, 0 RBI Either grounding out or striking out
John Olerud .143, 0 HR, 0 RBI You wish they had a healthy Giambi

Behind the numbers
Miguel Cairo may be hitting just .167, but he has been an active No. 9 hitter. Manager Joe Torre could have replaced Cairo with power-hitting Tony Clark in the bottom of the 12th against Joe Nathan but opted for Cairo because he always gives a productive at-bat. Instead of hacking, Cairo drew a one-out walk from Nathan that sparked the winning rally.

Frozen moment
Hideki Matsui took little time being the hero on Wednesday. He smacked J.C. Romero's first pitch to right field with the bases loaded and one out in the 12th inning. Jacque Jones caught the ball in his tracks but Jeter had enough speed to tag from third base for the winning run.

Second guess
Ninety-nine times out of 100, this would be the right move but Wednesday was that one time it wasn't. Instead of allowing Tom Gordon to pitch out of a two-on, one-out jam in the eighth inning, Yankee manager Joe Torre went right to closer Mariano Rivera and his 0.74 lifetime postseason ERA. Rivera blew just his third save in 62 postseason games by allowing both of Gordon's runners to score.

Postseason post-its
In his first postseason appearance, Tanyon Sturtze struck out four in 2 2/3 innings and saved the Yankees bullpen for Friday. ... Jeter became the third player to homer into the black seats area of Yankee Stadium in the postseason. Reggie Jackson and Jay Buhner are the others. ... Yankee starter Jon Lieber walked one batter in 6 2/3 innings, which was above his season average. He averaged less than one walk per nine innings this season.

Last word
"Ron Gardenhire should be very proud and I know he is of the way his team stands tall." -- Torre, on the never-say-die attitude of the Twins

Gary Washburn is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

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