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Mathis' RBI double in 11th wins it for Angels
Yankees 3 col BW

ANAHEIM, Calif. — Jeff Mathis hit a two-out double in the 11th inning to drive home the winning run and the Los Angeles Angels survived a second straight thriller, beating the Yankees 5-4 Monday and trimming New York's lead in the AL championship series to 2-1.

In a game full of missed chances for both sides, the Angels eventually rallied to hand the Yankees their first loss of this postseason.

Howie Kendrick homered, tripled and then singled with two outs in the 11th. Mathis followed with his drive up against the left-field wall, and Kendrick slid home well ahead of a desperate throw.

Mathis, the Angels' backup catcher, came up with his third late-inning, extra-base hit of this crazy series.

"It's been up and down the last couple games," Mathis said. "Luckily we came out on top in this one."

Vladimir Guerrero also homered as the Angels overcame a midgame 3-0 deficit and four solo homers by the Yankees' stars, including Jorge Posada's tying shot in the eighth.

Game 4 is Tuesday night, with CC Sabathia pitching on three days' rest against Angels newcomer Scott Kazmir. Game 5 in the best-of-seven series is Thursday.

For the second straight game, the Angels and Yankees played into tense extra innings, stretching nerves and bullpens still frayed from Saturday's 13-inning, 310-minute Yankees' victory in New York.

Los Angeles wasted a golden opportunity in the 10th after putting runners at the corners with nobody out against Mariano Rivera, but the ace closer came through yet again, getting Torii Hunter and Guerrero with the bases loaded.

Fans gathered across the country at Yankee Stadium erupted in cheers when Rivera retired the side — but the Angels came through in the 11th after Ervin Santana pitched the 11th for Los Angeles.

The winning run came quickly after David Robertson retired the first two Angels in the 11th. He got pulled, and Alfredo Aceves became the Yankees' eighth pitcher. Kendrick singled and Mathis followed with a drive to left-center, hit far too hard to allow a play on the speedy Kendrick.

Mathis, a .211 hitter in the regular season, entered Game 3 in the eighth inning and hit a leadoff double in the 10th.

The Angels ended their six-game ALCS losing streak. The Yankees had been 5-0 in this postseason, starting with a sweep over Minnesota.

Playing in balmy Orange County temperatures after a frigid weekend in the Bronx, the Yankees had a 3-0 lead midway through the fifth inning on homers by Derek Jeter, Alex Rodriguez and Johnny Damon. Andy Pettitte also appeared to be cruising toward his record 16th career postseason victory, which would have put New York one win away from its first World Series in six years.

Instead, Kendrick hit a fifth-inning homer, Guerrero tied it with a two-run shot in the sixth, and Kendrick tripled off Joba Chamberlain before scoring on Maicer Izturis' sacrifice fly in the seventh to put the Angels ahead 4-3.

But Posada tied it again in the eighth, connecting to deep center field off Kevin Jepsen. Jeter stranded two runners to end New York's eighth, and Los Angeles' Bobby Abreu was tagged out moments later while retreating to second base after his long drive to center.

Only three teams have ever blown a 2-0 lead in a league championship series, but the 2004 Yankees are in that trio. After taking a 3-0 lead against Boston that infamous fall, the Yankees lost 13 of their next 17 postseason games before winning their first five this year.

Many fans hadn't even settled into their Angel Stadium seats for Game 3 when Jeter ripped Jered Weaver's third pitch into the bullpen beyond the left-field fence. It was the New York captain's third career postseason leadoff homer and his 20th playoff homer, third on baseball's career list behind Manny Ramirez and Bernie Williams.

Rodriguez connected in the fourth for his 11th career playoff homer. He already has nine RBIs in this postseason, a career best.

Damon then found the short right field porch in the fifth for his first homer since Aug. 30 and his fifth hit in three games since a 1-for-12 effort in the division series. The veteran outfielder hadn't homered in his previous 120 at-bats, and hadn't connected away from homer-haven Yankee Stadium since Aug. 5.

The 37-year-old Pettitte, a mainstay of New York's playoff efforts since 1996, already has made the most postseason starts (37) and pitched the most innings (231) in baseball history. He yielded seven hits and one walk, but Los Angeles' two mid-game homers made him the first Yankees starter to allow more than two runs in this postseason.

Weaver gave up five hits and three walks in five innings, failing to recapture the dominance of his two-hit start against Boston nine days earlier. He hadn't allowed more than two homers in a game since Aug. 2, 2008.

Guerrero, the Angels' long-feared cleanup hitter, had struggled in every big situation during the series, stranding eight runners in Game 2, but his long shot to left was his first playoff homer in five years.

Abreu nearly started trouble for his former team in the eighth, but he inexplicably went nearly halfway to third base on his long double before trying to retreat to second, where first baseman Mark Teixeira alertly waited to make the tag.

The Yankees also benefited from two baserunning blunders in the division series. The Twins lost a run in Game 2 when Carlos Gomez was caught off second before Delmon Young could score on Matt Tolbert's two-out single. Nick Punto also was cut down trying to retreat to third in New York's clinching victory in its first-round sweep.

Angels closer Brian Fuentes pitched a hitless ninth inning, showing no effects from Rodriguez's 11th-inning, game-tying homer in Game 2. Manager Mike Scioscia ordered an intentional walk for Rodriguez with nobody on base and two outs, a move that paid off when pinch-hitter Jerry Hairston Jr. struck out.

NOTES: Posada apparently asked Angel Stadium officials to turn on the lights midway through the game, played under partly cloudy skies. ... Abreu was 0 for 11 against his former team before his sixth-inning single.