Big League Stew - MLB

Score and situation: Angels 5, Yankees 4 (11 inn.) New York leads series 2-1

Leading lads: There are a number of Angels to thank for making this a series again, but with his game-winning double, Jeff Mathis(notes) undoubtedly leads the greeting line. The catcher's left-field gapper came off Alfredo Aceves(notes) with two outs in the 11th inning and allowed Howie Kendrick(notes) to score all the way from first. The best part was that it was Mathis' second double in as many innings, his leadoff double in the 10th going for naught after Mariano Rivera(notes) expertly worked his way out of a no-outs, bases-loaded jam.

Other players worthy of applause include Kendrick (who added a homer and a triple) Vladimir Guerrero(notes) (game-tying, two-run homer in the sixth) and the Angels relieving trio of Brian Fuentes(notes), Jason Bulger(notes) and Ervin Santana(notes), who only allowed an intentional walk to Alex Rodriguez(notes) over the game's final three innings.

On the Yankees side, Derek Jeter(notes), A-Rod, Johnny Damon(notes) and Jorge Posada(notes) all hit solo home runs — one baserunner might've meant an 3-0 series lead.  

Head hangers: Aceves came into the game with two outs in the 11th, then gave up a single to Kendrick and the game-winning double to Mathis.

Joining Aceves will be New York manager Joe Girardi (who's about to be killed by the media over a list of decisions too long for this space), Bobby Abreu(notes) (who overran second after a leadoff double in the ninth and was picked off by Jeter) and the Angels combo of Juan Rivera(notes) and Kendry Morales(notes) (who went a combined 0-for-10, which lowered the ALCS batting average of each player to .077). 

Key play: They don't get much bigger than Mathis' two-bagger. 

Key stat: Mathis hit .211 during the regular season with only eight doubles. 

What they're talking about: Before the start of Game 4, we're headed for a 24-hour news cycle that will — fairly or not — tout the brilliance of Mike Scioscia over the boneheaded mistakes by Joe Girardi. In truth, Scioscia will get the credit because two of his struggling players (Guerrero and Fuentes) rewarded his loyalty by coming through in a big situation, while Girardi will get hammered after making many of the same moves he did in a victorious Game 2. Not that I didn't think some of those moves pointed toward extreme overmanaging by Girardi in both games, but why would people stay quiet about his questionable managing after a win, but light the fires and gather the pitchforks when it results in a loss?

What they're saying: 

“It’s been up and down the last couple games. Luckily we came out on top in this one.” — Mathis

What's next: After shutting down the Angels in Game 1, CC Sabathia(notes) gets his second start of the series in Game 4. Fellow lefty Scott Kazmir(notes), meanwhile, gets the series-tying bid for the Angels and makes his first start since facing Boston in the ALDS. First pitch is set for 7:57 ET. 

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