Yankees Are Headed To The ALCS!

A muted celebration signaled the end of the series between the Twins and Yankees for the right to advance to the American League Championship Series. The Yankees finally got their big inning and, with the help of another brilliant starting pitching performance, defeated the Twins 8-1 in the fourth and final game of the ALDS.

The Yankees, who had been struggling to get hits with men on base all series long, finally broke free of their collective slump in the fourth inning. The Bombers kept on turning the crank during the inning, churning out six hits – four of which were doubles – and putting up six runs against Johan Santana.

Nick Johnson finally picked up his first hit of the series, and made it a big one. He doubled to right centerfield with the bases loaded to plate two runs and bounce Santana from the game.

David Wells (1-0) put in the third consecutive dominant performance by a Yankee starter. The only run he allowed came on a fourth-inning RBI single to Michael Cuddyer. The Boomer allowed just that run on eight hits in 7 2/3 innings while striking out five. In typical Boomer fashion, he didn't walk a batter.

Santa (0-1) lasted just 3 2/3 innings in his second start of the series. He was pulled after four innings after his game one start with muscle cramps, but the Yankees were the cause of his early exit this time. The lefty allowed six runs on six hits and a walk while striking out a batter. Ex-Yankee prospect Eric Milton pitched 3 1/3 innings of scoreless relief after Santana left.

The Twins just couldn't piece anything resembling a rally together throughout the game. They only managed to get five runners into scoring position, but just one was able to score against Wells.

That's not to say that the Twinkies didn't play well, they put on a show in the field. Shannon Stewart continued his brilliant play in left field, robbing Derek Jeter of a homerun to end the sixth inning and then made a stunning play in the eighth, robbing Johnson of a double and throwing out Juan Rivera at second base.

But the Yankees proved to be too much, and Jeter eventually got his homerun leading off the ninth. Gabe White got Christian Guzman to fly out to centerfield to end the game, and the Yankees celebrated with hugs and smiles in the middle of the field before heading into the clubhouse.

The Yankees' next challenge will be either the Oakland Athletics or Boston Red Sox who are deadlocked in a 2-2 tie in their series, but one thing is for certain. The train to the World Series will run through the Bronx once more.

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