UPDATE, 9:50 p.m.: Infield hit for Teixeira loads the bases again with Alex up. Can’t get around him here.
UPDATE, 9:54 p.m.: At a 3-1 count and the bases loaded on A-Rod, you sort of had the feeling that the series might be over with one swing. Instead, Saunders just missed, A-Rod took his walk and now 200-year-old Darren Oliver is coming on to try and keep the Yankees from really blowing the game open.
UPDATE, 9:59 p.m.: That was a hard-core double play turn by Aybar. A-Rod was literally on a mission as he slid into second and he took out Aybar hard, flipping him over the top. Give Aybar credit: he hung in and made the throw to get Posada. 3-1 Yankees.
UPDATE, 10:04 p.m.: Look at that! Pettitte actually got Jeff “Mr. October” Mathis out. Meanwhile, close the book on Saunders: 3 1/3 IP, 7 H, 3 ER, 5 BB.
UPDATE, 10:11 p.m.: Announced crowd of 50,173 here tonight, setting a new (New) Yankee Stadium record.
UPDATE, 10:15 p.m.: Pettitte starts this inning at 65 pitches and needs six outs to get in Mariano range. The way he’s been going, that should be doable — and it would keep Girardi from getting too involved with the bullpen.
UPDATE, 10:17 p.m.: That goes down as a putout to the catcher. Figgins bunted and then ran into the ball on his way to first. That takes talent.
UPDATE, 10:25 p.m.: Uh-oh. Vlad is up and Eiland just went to the mound. Mound visits, Vlad and Pettitte have been a bad combo in this series.
UPDATE, 10:26 p.m.: Joba is up in the bullpen.
UPDATE, 10:27 p.m.: Vladdy is ridiculous. They just showed where he hit that pitch – it was so close to the ground that it was either going to be a double or a wild pitch. Just insane.
UPDATE, 10:31 p.m.: Andy saved his boyish good looks and the Yankees lead right there, getting his glove up just in time to knock down Morales’s comebacker. Easy throw to Teixeira and it’s still 3-1. That’s 91 pitches for Pettitte … and I absolutely would leave him in the game.
UPDATE, 10:42 p.m.: Broken bat single for Damon gives us the Oliver vs. Teixeira match-up again. Didn’t work so well for the Angels last time.
UPDATE, 10:43 p.m.: And this time it hurts the Yankees. Teixeira bounces into an easy 5-3 double play to end the inning. Pettitte back out to start the seventh (cue the sighs of relief from everyone).
UPDATE, 10:49 p.m.: Girardi has broken out of the restraints in the dugout and just couldn’t wait any longer. He’s going to Joba. Pettitte gets a nice ovation and tips his hat on the way off. If Joba blows this, does that mean he should be a starter long-term?
UPDATE, 10:50 p.m.: The managerial decisions just don’t stop. After watching Girardi bring in Joba, Mike Scioscia is countering by pinch-hitting for his hottest hitter. Maicer Izturis is now up in place of Jeff Mathis. Just to be clear about a “first-guess” here: If it were me, I’d go to Hughes here and then straight to Mo. Or, you know, just leave Pettitte in and let him get it to Rivera himself.
UPDATE, 10:56 p.m.: So apparently we’re all wrong: Joe Girardi = Genius. Joba gets it done and the Yankees are six outs away from the World Series.
UPDATE, 11:06 p.m.: Looks like Girardi’s not messing around. Mariano Rivera is getting loose.