Thursday, October 7, 2010
Teixeira's mark among the clutch
In the annals of Yankees clutch postseason home runs, Mark Teixeira's game-winner against the Twins doesn't come close to ranking near the top of the list, but it's still pretty significant nonetheless.
This was the second time that Teixeira hit a postseason go-ahead home run in the seventh inning or later, both coming against the Twins in the ALDS (last year's walk-off being the other).
Only three other Yankees have had at least a pair of such home runs, which we can find at Baseball-Reference.com -- Bernie Williams (3), Mickey Mantle (2), and Alfonso Soriano (2).
Williams, as a matter of fact, is tied for the all-time lead in that stat with Troy Glaus. His three included a pair of walk-offs (against the Orioles and Red Sox) and an oft-forgotten one against the Angels in the 2002 ALDS, a series the Yankees would eventually lose.
Both of Mantle's came in the World Series. He's one of four players who have twice hit go-ahead home runs in the seventh inning or later of a World Series game, along with Casey Stengel (yes, he played too), Rudy York, and Hall of Famer Jimmie Foxx.
Soriano hit one of his in Game 7 of a World Series (2001), which might have gone down as one of the Yankees most significant homers of all-time had the Yankees not lost the game in the bottom of the ninth inning.
But Teixeira can say he's done something that Babe Ruth never did. For all of Ruth's Yankees heroics, he never hit a postseason go-ahead home run that late in a game. Other Yankees: 30, Babe Ruth: 0.
This was not something that Teixeira was accustomed to doing in 2010. He'd only hit one go-ahead home run in the seventh inning or later -- in May against the Indians. Five Yankees, all in Wednesday's lineup, had more than that -- Alex Rodriguez (4), Curtis Granderson (4), Nick Swisher (2), Marcus Thames (2), and Robinson Cano (2).
The Twins have seen this before, and we're not just talking about earlier this season when they got beat by late home runs in separate games by Rodriguez and Swisher.
It's now happened to them in each of their last three postseason games. Teixeira's walk-off home run in Game 2 of the 2009 ALDS was followed by Jorge Posada's go-ahead home run off Carl Pavano in the series-clinching Game 3, and then this home run by Teixeira on Wednesday night.
They thus join the Braves, Mariners and Dodgers as teams who have been victimized three times by late-inning go-ahead Yankee postseason home runs.