Originally created 10/07/04

Yankees get big hit from A-Rod



NEW YORK - The New York Yankees waited all season for that huge hit from Alex Rodriguez.

Boy, did he deliver just in time.

Rodriguez hit a tying double in the 12th inning, then Derek Jeter dashed home on Hideki Matsui's sacrifice fly and the Yankees bailed out Mariano Rivera with another postseason comeback, beating Minnesota 7-6 on Wednesday night to even their series at a game apiece.

The Yankees responded with a rally after falling behind in the 12th on Torii Hunter's home run.

Corey Koskie keyed an eighth-inning rally with a tying double against Rivera, who blew a save in the postseason for only the third time in 33 chances.

Rivera failed to hold a two-run lead in the eighth, and the Twins and Yankees were tied at 5 after nine innings.

Jeter, Gary Sheffield and Rodriguez homered to back Jon Lieber, but Minnesota rallied from a 5-3 deficit, ending Rivera's 12-for-12 mark in postseason save chances at Yankee Stadium.

Jacque Jones started the rally with one out in the eighth when he struck out against Tom Gordon on a ball in the dirt but reached on a wild pitch.

Hunter, one of the stars of Minnesota's 2-0 win in the opener, then singled him to second.

Yankees manager Joe Torre brought in Rivera, who had converted 30 of 32 postseason save chances overall.

Justin Morneau lofted an RBI single into right field that put runners at the corners, and Koskie sliced an opposite-field, run-scoring double that bounced into the seats in foul territory down the left-field line.

Rivera recovered to strike out rookie Jason Kubel and retire Cristian Guzman on a comebacker, then pitched a perfect ninth.

After that, Tanyon Sturtze, who began the season in the minors, took over and worked a scoreless 10th.

Grant Balfour, Juan Rincon and Joe Nathan combined to retire 10 straight batters after starter Brad Radke left, getting 11 outs (Sheffield, Balfour's first batter, hit into a double play).

Lieber and Radke combined to speed through the early innings.

Morneau hit an RBI double in the first, but Jeter homered into the black seats beyond the center-field fence in the bottom half, joining Reggie Jackson and Seattle's Jay Buhner as the only ones to accomplish the feat in the postseason.

Michael Cuddyer's RBI single and Henry Blanco's sacrifice fly put Minnesota back on top 3-1 in the second, but Sheffield hit a two-run homer in the third and Rodriguez put the Yankees ahead 4-3 with a solo shot in the fifth.