Score and situation: Angels 7, Yankees 6 New York leads series, 3-2
Leading lads: Vladimir Guerrero(notes) went 2-for-11 with four strikeouts in the first two games of the ALCS, but he hit a tying homer in the Angels' comeback victory in Game 3 and continued to produce on Thursday. After the Yankees rallied in the top of the seventh, Guerrero's two-out single to center against Phil Hughes(notes) tied the score 6-all. One batter later, Kendry Morales(notes) put the Angels ahead to stay. Guerrero's been coming through ever since 'Duk ripped him for being unproductive after he praised Guerrero for providing the best playoff moment so far, in the ALDS clincher against the Red Sox.
Honorable mention goes to John Lackey(notes) for telling Mike Scioscia to buzz off when the manager came with the hook in the seventh and the Angels leading 4-0. Actually, Lackey said, "You're [kidding] me, [Scioscia], this is mine!" Scioscia took him out anyway because it was the second visit to the mound in the inning.
Head hangers: Yanks manager Joe Girardi has had better series. He squeezed five solid innings out of A.J. Burnett(notes). The first inning was terrible and the last inning began with a single and walk to start the Angels final rally. Why didn't Joe go to the pen to start the frame? First Girardi takes out pitchers too soon, then too often, now too early. Maybe we should cut Joe G. a break? No, maybe he should give us the break!
Key play: Other than Guerrero's tying single, it's the offense Los Anaheim got from backup catcher Jeff Mathis(notes) (3-for-4, run scored), especially his leadoff single in the seventh. His averages are so bad, I'm afraid to tell you how low they are. Ready? His career OPS is .597. He's got a .277 on-base percentage. He's a .200 hitter. But he's hitting now, like in Game 3.
Key stat: Stats LLC and Boston Red Sox fans report the Yankees have lost their past five ALCS games with the chance to clinch a spot in the World Series.
What they're talking about: With two outs in the bottom of the sixth, a presumably intoxicated goofball went for a swim in the rocky, watery, prehistoric life-sized diorama Angel Stadium sports in center field. At the time, the score was 4-0 Angels. Nothing special going on. But the interlude was sign of goofy things to come.
What they're saying:
"I'm not completely there yet. ... I felt like I still had a lot left." — John Lackey, after the game, on whether he had calmed down.
What's next: Back to the Bronx for Game 6 on Saturday night. Angels lefty Joe Saunders(notes) against Andy Pettitte(notes). If the Yankees need Game 7, they can turn to CC Sabathia(notes). Not sure about the Angels, who used Jered Weaver(notes) for the eighth inning Thursday night.