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WEDNESDAY HALOLINKS: Yanks First To Clinch, Angels Next?

Up next for Angels: Wednesday vs. New York --
Scott Kazmir vs. A.J. Burnett

With postseason berth in hand, Yankees edge Angels in ninth inning -
"We were down five runs, but we came back and made it a baseball game," said Torii Hunter, who went 0 for 5 and couldn't throw out Gardner at the plate. "It was a very exciting game. I didn't show up, but I had a lot of fun watching it."

Yankees blow lead but end up beating Angels --
Despite the loss, the Angels maintained their 7 1/2 -game AL West lead over the Rangers and reduced their magic number to clinch their third straight division title to five.

Angels' rally falls short against Yankees - LA Daily News
The Yankees won it on a sacrifice fly from Alex Rodriguez, who already had a two-run home run in the third inning. Brett Gardner scored from third just ahead of the throw from Torii Hunter. "I just had to get rid of it quick and make the perfect throw and it just didn't work out," Hunter said. "The guy is quick. Speed kills. He got off that bag pretty quick. Maybe a half second it would have been all right."

Yankees-Angels Preview - FOX Sports on MSN
Kazmir is 6-4 with a 2.53 ERA lifetime versus New York, including 5-1 with a 1.46 ERA in eight starts since April 24, 2007. He's had the number of most of the Yankees' top hitters. Derek Jeter is 4 for 33 with 10 strikeouts against Kazmir, while Rodriguez is 3 for 24 with seven strikeouts. Robinson Cano is 3 for 23 and has fanned eight times, while Yankee stalwarts Damon, Nick Swisher and Hideki Matsui also all have averages below .200.

Video highlights from last night's game:

Playoff-bound Yanks survive Angels rally -
Daily Recap: Alex Rodriguez untied the game in the ninth with a sac-fly after the Angels rallied from five runs down

Morales makes a great play at first -
Kendry Morales makes a great play to get Brett Gardner at first

Morales collects four hits against the Yanks -
Kendry Morales goes 4-for-4 with a run against the Yankees

Izturis lashes a single to tie the game at 5
Maicer Izturis ties the game at 5 in the eighth with an opposite-field single that plates Howard Kendrick

Hunter sprints over to make the catch -
09.22.09: Torii Hunter covers a lot of ground to his right and makes a shoestring catch to retire Mark Teixeira

Guerrero lines an RBI single to left -
09.22.09: Vladimir Guerrero clubs a single to left that plates the second Angels run of the ballgame

Figgins goes deep to right in the fifth -
09.22.09: Chone Figgins drives a homer over the fence in right, getting the Halos on the board in the fifth

MLB's Top 5 Plays Of The Day -
Tyler Colvin snags one at the wall, plus Melvin Mora fires from his knees to get an out in's Top 5 Plays of the Day

Team Reports -
Manager Mike Scioscia makes no bones about it. The team's current rotation "is the best we've had" in his 10 seasons as manager. But there will be a need for only four (possibly three) starters in the postseason. September has set up as a chance for each of the starters to make his case for inclusion among the playoff starters. The decision on who to leave out, though, appears to be an easy one.

Team Reports II -
--OF Bobby Abreu went hitless again and has just one hit in his last 18 at-bats. But Abreu walked three times in the game, once with the bases loaded to drive in a run.
--1B Kendry Morales was in a 6-for-50 slump with a .188 average in September when manager Mike Scioscia kept him out of the starting lineup Monday. But Morales came in as a pinch-hitter and hit a home run Monday, then went 4-for-4 Tuesday with three singles, a double and a walk.

Rivera apologizes to Scioscia for swagger -
"I just told him it was my fault," Rivera said. "I know that I have to run hard every time, whether the ball is gone or still in the field."

Angels' starting rotation will be deepest of any playoff team's - Tom Verducci -
By now you are familiar with the popular narrative of the Angels' season: The organization formerly known for pitching, defense and small ball has been wearing down opponents with a deep, relentless offense. The pitching you know as mediocre, but hey, that's OK when everyone in the lineup is hitting around .300. Well, there's one small problem with that characterization these days: It's flat out not true. The Los Angeles Angels are a better pitching team than you think. Suddenly, no team is heading into the postseason with a deeper rotation than the Angels.

Bobby Wilson could be third catcher in playoffs. --
The reason? Mathis, the team's best defensive catcher, is a .208 hitter who will most likely be pinch-hit for in the late innings of a close game. And Wilson, who has extensive experience catching setup man Kevin Jepsen at triple A and has developed a good rapport with closer Brian Fuentes, is a solid all-around receiver who rates a slight edge over Napoli defensively.

Abreu's influence not limited to Angels -
"He's (Abreu) my favorite player," Cabrera said in Spanish. "That's why I took his number [53] when he left. He taught me so much -- not just me, but other guys on the team, too, like Robinson Cano. We miss having him around. He's a great guy."

Milton Bradley tops worst free-agent signings; Teixeira tops best - Ted Keith -
Bobby Abreu, Angels 1 year, $5 million He didn't get a new contract until shortly before the start of spring training, but he has been well worth the wait for the Angels.

Baseball's Bargain Playoffs -
While promoting the fact that they're keeping post-season prices unchanged from last season, the Angels will charge maximum prices of $137 for the ALDS, $192 for the ALCS and $250 for the World Series. Regular season prices capped out at $122. Lower-end prices are up too, from $14 during the season to $52 for the first playoff round and over $100 for the two following rounds.

A 'fan'? That'd be generous
Outfielder Matt Carson does not have the ball from his first big-league home run - the fan who caught it Monday refused to give it up unless he was paid for it. "I only want money," the fan told clubhouse personnel before leaving.

They should publish this guy's phone number so he can receive "offers" for the ball.

September 23 - BR Bullpen
Events, births and deaths that occurred on September 23.
1978 - The Angels' 27-year-old OF Lyman Bostock, a .311 lifetime hitter, is killed by a shotgun blast while riding in a car in Gary, IN. The shot was meant for one of the other passengers in the car.
1988 - The Angels fire manager Cookie Rojas and the Phillies fire manager Lee Elia. 3B coach Moose Stubing (California) and John Vukovich (Philadelphia) will manage the clubs for the remainder of this season. Stubing will return to the coaching box after going 0 - 8.