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Yankees short hops

Yankees short hops

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ANAHEIM -- Mike Mussina and the bullpen were solid, the offense hit when it mattered most, and the defense was nearly flawless.

The resulting 4-2 victory over the Angels in Game 1 of the American League Division Series on Tuesday night at Angel Stadium shifted home-field advantage to the Yankees, and there were heroes everywhere you looked.

After Mussina left, Al Leiter got a big out. So did Tanyon Sturtze. Tom Gordon got four of them, and Mariano Rivera survived some drama in getting the final three.

What they did, however, took a back seat to the first-inning heroics of rookie Robinson Cano, whose three-run double with two out put New York in control.

Vitals check
A look at key statistics through Game 1 of the ALDS.

Team stats

Digits Trend The Deal
ERA 2.00 Bengie Molina's solo blast off Sturtze the only legit blemish
BA .265 (9-for-34) Six two-out hits in first two innings
BA w/ RISP .429 (3-for-7) Three hits, four RBIs in first four such ABs
Runs 4 Hey, it's two more than the Angels got
Fielding % 1.000 Sheffield, Matsui made highlight catches

Who's hot?

Player Digits Trend The Deal
Robinson Cano 1-for-4, 1 2B, 3 RBIs Rook's three-run double in first set tone
Jason Giambi 2-for-4, 1 2B, 1 RBI Singled, scored in first; RBI double in second

Who's not?

Player Digits Trend The Deal
Jorge Posada 0-for-4 One of two starters who didn't reach base

Behind the numbers
When Derek Jeter stroked a two-out single in the second inning, he extended his ALDS hitting streak to a record 21 games. He scored on Giambi's double, walked and stole a base in the fourth and singled in the seventh, adding to his legend as Mr. October, Jr.

Frozen moment
When Steve Finley followed Juan Rivera's two-out single in the second with a double to right, the Angels looked like they were in business. But the ball bounced over the wall, stopping Rivera at third. Mussina then got Adam Kennedy on a fly ball to end the inning and was perfect in the third and fourth innings to take the crowd right out of the game.

Slick move
Given the strength of Vladimir Guerrero's throwing arm, Yankees third-base coach Luis Sojo's decision to hold lumbering Jason Giambi at third on Hideki Matsui's two-out single in the first was easy but smart. It looked like pure genius when Cano followed with his bases-clearing double.

Modern history
In snapping a four-game postseason losing streak, the Yankees won for only the second time in their nine Division Series openers. The Game 1 winners in the last five ALDS involving New York went on to lose the series.

Last word
"The key for them was the ball bouncing over the fence."
-- Mussina, on Finley's ground-rule double

Mychael Urban is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

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