Derek Jeter SS
Nick Swisher RF
Mark Teixeira 1B
Alex Rodriguez 3B
Robinson Cano 2B
Marcus Thames DH
Jorge Posada C
Curtis Granderson CF
Brett Gardner LF
RHP Phil Hughes (18-8, 4.19)
Hughes vs. Twins
Denard Span CF
Orlando Hudson 2B
Joe Mauer C
Jason Kubel RF
Delmon Young LF
Jim Thome DH
Michael Cuddyer 1B
Danny Valencia 3B
J.J. Hardy SS
LHP Brian Duensing (10-3, 2.62)
Duensing vs. Yankees
TIME/TV: 8:37 p.m. / TBS
UMPIRES: HP Greg Gibson, 1B Brian O’Nora, 2B Gary Darling, 3B Chris Guccione, LF Jerry Crawford, RF Hunter Wendelstedt
WEATHER: Temperatures in the low 60s dipping well into the 50s. It’s been a sunny day, though. Pretty much no chance of rain, and it actually feels pretty nice at the ballpark.
EITHER OR: In the past two years, the Yankees have seen Brian Duensing four times in the regular season, always as a reliever. Tonight will be the second time they’ve faced him in the postseason, both as a starter. They beat him in Game 1 of last year’s ALDS.
MAKING A CHANGE: With a right-handed pitcher on the mound, the Twins actually dropped lefty power hitter Jim Thome to sixth in the order. To be fair, Jason Kubel — who moved up to fill the clean-up spot — also crushes right-handed pitching.
BOTTOM’S UP: The Yankees Nos. 8 and 9 hitters in this series: 5-for-15 with 3 runs, a double, a triple, a home run and 4 RBI.
FAMILIAR RESULT: The Yankees led the Majors with 48 comeback wins this season. They’ve now come from behind in eight straight postseason wins against the Twins. According to Elias, that’s the longest such winning streak in postseason history.
BREAKING FROM HISTORY: With a win tonight, the Yankees would advance to the ALCS as the wild card for the first time in franchise history. They’ve been the wild card three other times and lost in the ALDS each time.
UPDATE, 8:40 p.m.: A few observations from pregame: Mariano Rivera might get bigger cheers than Derek Jeter at this point… Congrats to anyone who had Ramiro Pena in the who’s-going-to-catch-the-first-pitch pool… Outstanding job on the anthem… I understand booing Carl Pavano, but was booing Javier Vazquez really necessary?
UPDATE, 8:45 p.m.: Good first inning for Hughes, and good job by the scoreboard department with another strong pregame video. I like those things. I’ve seen this team play a million games this season — or something like that — but I still watch the highlight videos.
UPDATE, 9:08 p.m.: Robinson Cano gets the big hit to get it started, then Jorge Posada gets the RBI single for the early lead. Posada passed Mickey Mantle for ninth on baseball’s all-time postseason RBI list with 41.
UPDATE, 9:34 p.m: A double play erases the first Twins hit of the game, meanwhile the Yankees have pushed their lead to 2-0 on an RBI single by Teixeira.
UPDATE, 9:37 p.m.: That’s the first career postseason home run for Marcus Thames, and that’s a 4-0 Yankees lead in the fourth. Meanwhile, not the most graceful moment for Mick Kelleher. Funny though.
UPDATE, 9:49 p.m.: Sac fly by Gardner scores Granderson for a 5-0 lead in the fourth. Less than halfway through the game, every Yankee except A-Rod has either a hit, run or RBI.
UPDATE, 10:19 p.m.: Hughes sat for a long time through that bottom of the fourth, then had his longest inning of the night. The top of the fifth was a grind, but Hughes got through it and it’s still a 5-0 Yankees lead. What can you say? The kid’s good.
UPDATE, 11:08 p.m.: Seven scoreless innings from Hughes. The biggest start of his career and Hughes was outstanding. Now it’s Kerry Wood in the eighth and — I assume — Mariano Rivera in the ninth to wrap this thing up. It’s a 6-0 Yankees lead after a Nick Swisher solo shot in the bottom of the seventh.
UPDATE, 11:25 p.m.: Unusually rocky inning from Kerry Wood, but Boone Logan got Jason Kubel to pop up and now Dave Robertson is on to face Delmon Young with the bases loaded.
UPDATE, 11:27 p.m.: Robertson strands the runners. First person to high-five him in the dugout was Kerry Wood.