Series: Game 1 of 3

NY Yankees leads 1-0 (as of 9/29)

Game 1: Tuesday, September 28
NY Yankees
Game 1: Wednesday, September 29
NY Yankees5
Game 2: Wednesday, September 29
NY Yankees5
Game 3: Thursday, September 30
NY Yankees6

Twins 3

(90-67, 43-36 away)

Yankees 5

(98-59, 55-24 home)

    4:05 PM ET, September 29, 2004

    Yankee Stadium, Bronx, New York 

    123456789 R H E
    MIN 300000000 3 10 1
    NYY 10000040 - 5 8 0

    W: P. Quantrill (7-3)

    L: J. Romero (7-4)

    S: M. Rivera (52)

    Santana had won 12 straight starts

    NEW YORK (AP) -- After Derek Jeter and Alex Rodriguez rallied the Yankees past the Minnesota Twins 5-3 Wednesday night in a doubleheader opener that was a possible playoff preview, New York manager Joe Torre made it all but official: Mike Mussina will start his team's postseason opener.

    Mussina, coming off consecutive starts against Boston's Pedro Martinez, was up against Johan Santana in this one. Santana, who had won 12 straight starts, left with a 3-1 lead but Minnesota's bullpen couldn't hold it.

    Mussina's next start will be against the Twins or the AL West winner in Tuesday's playoff opener.

    "When you get to the postseason, you have to be at your best and hope that when you step out there, all your stuff is available to you," Mussina said. "I don't have any problems, and I think all my stuff is available to me. I'll just be prepared for the first game, wherever that is."

    On the Yankees' shaky starting rotation, Mussina is the closest thing to an ace they have, especially now that Orlando Hernandez's status had become uncertain because of right shoulder stiffness. Mussina matched his season high with four walks -- one intentional -- and gave up seven hits in six innings.

    After the game, Torre was asked whether Mussina was ready for the playoffs.

    "He certainly has to be," Torre said. "Especially a five-game series. ... there's no room for having a bad game."

    Torre would only hint that Mussina will start the opener, saying: "I think you can guess without my help."

    Santana, seeking to match Boston's Curt Schilling at a major league-leading 21 wins, dominated New York for five innings and left with a 3-1 lead. But the Yankees extended their major league record for come-from-behind wins with their 60th.

    Santana, 13-0 in 15 starts since the All-Star break, was limited to five innings by Twins manager Ron Gardenhire. Santana, who struck out five and gave up three hits, is looking ahead to the Twins' third straight trip to the playoffs, not thinking about whether the no-decision hurt his Cy Young Award hopes.

    "I think we have proven we can play these games," Santana said. "We have a better pitching staff than a couple of years ago. I definitely like our chances."

    New York (98-59) reopened a three-game lead over second-place Boston (95-62) with four games remaining for each team. The Yankees and Red Sox, who played at Tampa Bay later Wednesday, are both assured of no worse than the AL wild-card berth.

    Minnesota (90-67) is vying with the eventual AL West winner -- Anaheim, Oakland or Texas -- for homefield advantage in the first round. The AL Central champions have lost five of seven.

    With the Twins ahead by two runs, Hideki Matsui homered off J.C. Romero (7-4) with one out in the seventh, John Olerud walked with two outs and Miguel Cairo singled.

    Juan Rincon relieved to face Jeter, whose bouncer to the third-base side of the mound tipped off the pitcher's glove for an infield hit that scored the tying run. Rodriguez followed with a triple high off the right-field wall.

    Paul Quantrill (7-3) pitched one inning to win in relief of Mussina, who gave up Torii Hunter's homer and Corey Koskie's two-run double in the first. Mariano Rivera pitched the ninth for his 52nd save in 56 chances.

    New York scored its only run off Santana when Jeter doubled leading off the first and came home on Gary Sheffield's one-out single.

    "He's having a pretty special year," Torre said of Santana. "You can see him out there pitching with a lot of confidence."

    Game notes

    Torre thinks Hernandez should be able to start Friday at Toronto. Hernandez was scratched from his scheduled start Tuesday before it was rained out and threw on flat ground without pain Wednesday. ... Twins OF Shannon Stewart was rested because of a tight right hamstring. ... Rivera has walked his first batter in three straight appearances.

    Copyright by STATS LLC and The Associated Press