|Alex Rodriguez, Hideki Matsui and rest of Yanks break out of offensive slide|
|Written by Admin|
|Sunday, 07 October 2007 16:30|
Hideki Matsui found his way on, too.
And little by little, the New York Yankees began to resemble the offensive juggernaut that took off on such a tear in the second half this season.
Stringing together hits for the first time in these playoffs, New York overcame a three-run deficit to beat the Cleveland Indians 8-4 Sunday night and stave off elimination.
The Yankees trimmed their deficit to 2-1 in the best-of-five matchup and will likely send sinkerballer Chien-Ming Wang to the mound Monday night on three days' rest, hoping to push the series back to Jacobs Field for a decisive Game 5.
Wang was roughed up in the opener, but the Yankees' most confounding problem early in the series was the way their sluggers disappeared.
A team that scored 968 runs during the regular season, 81 more than anyone else in the majors, managed only four in its first two playoff games - three on solo homers. New York batted a paltry .121 in Cleveland with 17 strikeouts.
So manager Joe Torre plugged Jason Giambi into the lineup for Game 3, looking to generate more offense and put some pressure on Indians pitchers.
Giambi came up empty in two at-bats before he was removed with the Yankees ahead, but several other stars got going.
Rodriguez ended his 0-for-18 postseason slump with a base hit leading off the second inning, then beat out an infield single and scored a key run in the sixth.
Matsui's infield single in the third was his first hit in the playoffs. He also singled in the fifth, walked twice and scored three times.
Johnny Damon's go-ahead, three-run homer in the fifth was the last of four straight hits for the Yankees - the first time they got consecutive hits in the series.
Just before that, Matsui, Robinson Cano and Melky Cabrera all got opposite-field hits. When Cabrera crossed home plate on Damon's homer, he did a leaping pirouette - the sort of youthful exuberance that the Yankees often displayed while going a big league-best 51-25 after the All-Star break.
New York finished with 11 hits, more than doubling its total of eight in the first two games.
Now, the Yankees hope to come all the way back from an 0-2 hole - something they did in the 2001 division series against Oakland. That team was one of four to recover from an 0-2 deficit in a five-game playoff series since the wild card was added.
New York has not been swept in the postseason since the 1980 AL championship series against Kansas City.