With their 4-1 win over Minnesota on Monday night, the Yankees laid to rest one of baseball's greatest monstrosities, the Metrodome, and in doing so, ended the Twins season in dominating fashion.
Minnesota was 0-10 against the Yankees in the regular season and fared no better in the postseason — even after their dramatic win against Detroit — losing three straight games in the first round broom-job.
For the Yankees it was business as usual this season, with the entire lineup contributing nightly, the pitching staff all coming through with strong outings, and the bullpen maintaining it's nearly air-tight grip on the last three innings of every ball games.
The subplot of Alex Rodriguez's playoff redemption continued Sunday as well. His solo shot in the top of the seventh tied the game at 1-1, giving him back-to-back playoff games with a home run and yet another crucial hit in a clutch situation for the Yanks in the series. While he could obviously still fall apart against the Angels and ruin the whole story line he has tailored thus far, his .455/2 HR/6 RBI numbers against Minnesota seem like ostendibly strong indicators that A-Rod may finally have conquered his playoff-phobia or whatever mental condition it was that fueled his postseason futility since the Boston series in 2004.
The rest of this series-clinching victory had a familiar ring to it and can be attributed nearly entirely to the "old guard." Jorge Posada added his own dinger in the top of the seventh to give the Yankees a 2-1 lead and he latter padded that lead with a ninth inning single that scored Mark Teixeira.
Starter Andy Pettitte tossed 6 1/3 strong innings for the win, allowing only one run on three hits while striking out seven. This win was his 15th playoff victory, tying him for most all time with John Smoltz. He also became the all-time leader for postseason innings pitched.
And of course, Mariano Rivera was there at the end of the game, locking down the four-out save (his eighth career save to clinch a postseason game, most all-time). He struck out two, overpowered the Twins' batsmen, and sent the Yankees to the next round of the playoffs, slamming the door on the Metrodome in the same fashion as he has to so many teams in the past.
The Angels should provide a much tougher matchup for the Yankees in the ALCS but after New York's all-around fine play against the Twins, the Yankees seem poised to handle Anaheim's particular version of small ball that has perplexed New York so often in series past. The Bombers split with the Angels, going 5-5 over the regular season, but with the momentum the Yankees have accumulated as of late, it would seem like a colossal collapse if they were to succumb to Mike Scioscia's squad in the playoffs once again.