Yankees Punch Series Ticket
NEW YORK - They want to be the 27 Yankees.
Built on solid pitching and nothing more explosive than singles, the New York Yankees' 5-2 victory Sunday against the Los Angeles Angels in Game 6 of the American League Championship Series guaranteed their unparalleled 40th World Series appearance. But that's not enough for a team featuring veterans of four previous World Series plus high-priced free agents who signed on last winter because, as pitcher CC Sabathia says, "This is what you come here for - a chance to win a championship."
They want championship No. 27, to be remembered with teams such as the fabled 1927 version with Babe Ruth and Lou Gehrig, the '50s dynasty teams of Joe DiMaggio and then Mickey Mantle and the four-time winners that marked the emergence of current veterans Derek Jeter, Jorge Posada, Andy Pettitte and Mariano Rivera.
They get their chance beginning Wednesday in New York against the defending champion Philadelphia Phillies.
The Yankees turned to baseball's most experienced postseason starting pitcher to avoid a seventh ALCS game and set themselves up to use Sabathia in Game 1 against the Phillies and Cliff Lee - a matchup of pitchers who as recently as July 2008 were Cleveland Indians teammates.
Pettitte, making his record 38th postseason start, pitched into the seventh inning, allowing seven hits and collecting his 16th playoff victory to break a tie with John Smoltz for the most all time. He's 5-2 in 10 starts with the chance to clinch a series, a record for wins in those situations.
Rivera got his record 37th postseason save and his first two-inning save in the playoffs since Game 4 of the 2005 AL Division Series against the Angels but not without drama created by Vladimir Guerrero's RBI single in the eighth.
The Yankees overcame a 1-0 deficit with three runs in the fourth on three walks and three hits, including Johnny Damon's two-run single.