Chess Match: Nixon offers mixed results
Lefty homers off Clemens, but later commits two-run error
NEW YORK -- The Yankees now have a 1-0 record in games that could have a direct determination on Joe Torre's managerial future. The breaks went their way Sunday, and so did the hits.Riding the Rocket
The situation: Yankees starter Roger Clemens hadn't pitched for New York since Sept. 16 due to various injuries, including a strained left hamstring.
The situation: Trot Nixon makes his first appearance in the American League Division Series, starting in right field in place of Franklin Gutierrez.
The situation: Runners on second and third for the Yankees with one out in the sixth, and left-handed reliever Aaron Fultz on the mound. Hideki Matsui was next up to the plate, followed by Robinson Cano, both solid left-handed hitters.
The decision: Cleveland elected to load the bases by intentionally walking Matsui, a stronger source of power, and face Cano with a force at any base.The outcome: Cano ripped Fultz's first pitch into right field for a run-scoring single, with two more runs scoring on Nixon's error.
The analysis: "You can look at the game in two swings of the bat. The fastball up to [Johnny] Damon and he pulled it out of the ballpark and that was three runs. Then, the ball Cano hit a couple of innings later. That accounted for five of their eight runs. The game could have been different, but they took advantage of the mistakes." --Cleveland pitching coach Carl Willis
Scott Merkin is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.