The 2009 American League Championship Series (ALCS), the second round of the 2009 American League playoffs, was a best-of-seven game series matching the two winners of the 2009 American League Division Series. The AL East Division champions, the New York Yankees, defeated the AL West Division champions, the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim, four games to two, to advance to the 2009 World Series, their first since 2003. This was the third time that these two teams faced each other in the playoffs. They met in the 2002 ALDS and 2005 ALDS with the Angels winning both series by 3–1 and 3–2. New York, with a better regular-season record than Los Angeles, held home-field advantage. The series, the 39th in league history, began on October 16 and ended on October 25. Fox Sports carried all games with Joe Buck and Tim McCarver in the broadcast booth. Starting with the 2009 season, weeknight games began 40 minutes earlier as suggested by Commissioner Bud Selig.
The Yankees won the series four games to two, and went on to defeat the Philadelphia Phillies 4–2 in the World Series.
New York won the series, 4–2.
† Game 6 was originally scheduled to be played on Saturday, October 24, but was postponed because of rain.
Friday, October 16, 2009 — 7:57 PM (ET) at Yankee Stadium in the Bronx, New York
On a blustery night where the official game time temperature was 45 °F (7 °C), starter CC Sabathia limited the Angels to one run on four hits and a walk in eight innings, striking out seven in a 4–1 Yankee win.
The Yankees staked Sabathia to a 2–0 lead in the bottom of the first on an Alex Rodriguez sacrifice fly and an unusual RBI infield single from Hideki Matsui. Matsui hit a short popup to the left side of the infield, but there was a miscommunication between third baseman Chone Figgins and shortstop Erick Aybar and the ball fell in for a single, enabling Johnny Damon to score from second. Vladimir Guerrero set up the Angels' only run in the top of the fourth, hitting a high fly ball to deep left field that looked to be a home run but bounced in front of the fence for a double instead, possibly due to the windy conditions. Guerrero scored two batters later on Kendry Morales' single. The Yankees added a run in the fifth on Matsui's second run-scoring single of the night, and a pair of Angels' errors led to New York's fourth run in the sixth. After reaching base on a walk, Melky Cabrera advanced to second on John Lackey's errant pickoff attempt. Derek Jeter then singled up the middle, but Torii Hunter overran the ball, allowing Cabrera to score without a play at the plate.
Mariano Rivera pitched the ninth, recording his 36th career postseason save.
Saturday, October 17, 2009 — 7:57 PM (ET) at Yankee Stadium in the Bronx, New York
Once again, the Yankees struck first in the second inning. After Nick Swisher worked a two-out walk—his first in this postseason—Robinson Canó hit his first career postseason triple to deep right-center field to score Swisher. In the bottom of third, Derek Jeter hit a solo home run to right field to give the Yankees a 2–0 advantage. The Angels fought back in the fifth. After Maicer Izturis hit a leadoff ground rule double to right field, Erick Aybar's one-out single brought Izturis home to cut the lead in half. Later in the inning, New York starter A.J. Burnett's bases-loaded wild pitch caused the game to be tied at two. Both teams threatened multiple times in the ensuing innings, but neither scored and the game was sent to extra innings. In the top half of the eleventh, Gary Matthews, Jr. drew a walk off Yankees reliever Alfredo Aceves, advanced to second on a sacrifice bunt by Erick Aybar, and scored on an RBI single by Chone Figgins. At this point, the weather took a turn for the worse, which included rain and snow falling. But the Yankees battled back. In the bottom half of the frame, Alex Rodriguez tied the game with a leadoff home run off Angels closer Brian Fuentes. Then, in the thirteenth inning, Melky Cabrera managed to reach on an error committed by Izturis, consequently driving in the winning run. Izturis had the option of throwing to first for the second out, but instead attempted a tough throw to get the force at second for a potential double play, completely missing shortstop Aybar. Figgins, who was backing up the play, came up with the ball in an attempt to get the play at the plate but it slipped out of his hand. Jerry Hairston, Jr., who had reached on a single to start the inning, came around to score on that error.
Alex Rodriguez's eleventh-inning home run was his second late-inning game-tying home run in this postseason. Both were off opposite team's closer (Minnesota Twins' Joe Nathan, in ALDS Game 2).
Monday, October 19, 2009 — 4:13 PM (ET) at Angel Stadium of Anaheim in Anaheim, California
For the third game in a row the Yankees scored first, this time on Derek Jeter's leadoff home run off Angels starter Jered Weaver. They extended their lead on solo home runs by Alex Rodriguez in the fourth inning and Johnny Damon in the fifth, both off Weaver. Yankees starter Andy Pettitte held the Angels scoreless until the fifth inning, when he yielded a solo home run to Howie Kendrick in the fifth. The next inning, Vladimir Guerrero hit a two-run home run, also off Pettitte, to tie the game. The Angels took the lead in the seventh, thanks to Kendrick's one-out triple and Maicer Izturis' sacrifice fly, both off Joba Chamberlain. However, a Jorge Posada solo home run off Kevin Jepsen—the sixth in the game—tied it again in the eighth.
Another Angels' gaffe proved costly. In the eighth inning Abreu led off with a double but attempted to stretch it into a triple. An alert Jeter called for the ball at second and tossed to Mark Teixeira who was covering second, since Robinson Canó was in the outfield, to tag Abreu for the out.
For the second consecutive time in the series, the Yankees and Angels played extra innings. The Angels loaded the bases with one out in the tenth inning against Mariano Rivera, but were unable to score. In the bottom of the eleventh inning, Yankees pitcher David Robertson retired the two Angels batters he faced and was one out away from forcing a twelfth inning when manager Joe Girardi replaced him with Alfredo Aceves, a decision that would later be criticized by the New York media. Aceves, who yielded a go-ahead run to the Angels in the eleventh inning of Game 2 that was later erased by Rodriguez' home run, yielded a single to Kendrick on a 3–1 count. Jeff Mathis, the Angels' backup catcher who was inserted into the game in the eighth inning, followed with a double to deep left field, scoring Kendrick from first and winning the game in a walk-off.
Tuesday, October 20, 2009 — 7:57 PM (ET) at Angel Stadium of Anaheim in Anaheim, California
Yankees ace CC Sabathia started Game 4 on three days' rest, which proved to be no problem, as he pitched eight strong innings, allowing only one earned run, five hits, and two walks, while striking out five. For the fourth straight game in the series the Yankees scored first. Alex Rodriguez hit a two-run home run, tying a postseason record set by Lou Gehrig and Ryan Howard for recording an RBI in eight consecutive games. Melky Cabrera added four RBIs. The sole Angels run came on a fifth-inning solo home run by Kendry Morales. The game included three controversial calls by the umpiring crew that third base umpire and crew chief Tim McClelland—who made two of the three calls in question—admitted were in error, drawing more attention to the argument for instant replay in baseball.
Thursday, October 22, 2009 — 7:57 PM (ET) at Angel Stadium of Anaheim in Anaheim, California
Unlike the previous four games, this time the Angels scored first. With Chone Figgins on third base and Bobby Abreu on first, Torii Hunter singled to center field, scoring both Figgins and Abreu. Hunter then scored on an RBI double by Vladimir Guerrero, followed by a Kendry Morales RBI single that scored Guerrero from second. All this was done before the first out was recorded. From that point on, neither starter—John Lackey for the Angels and A.J. Burnett for the Yankees—allowed a run until the seventh inning. In the top half of that inning, Lackey worked into a bases-loaded jam with two outs when manager Mike Scioscia replaced him with Darren Oliver. Mark Teixeira connected with Oliver's first pitch for a double that scored all three inherited runners—Melky Cabrera, Jorge Posada, and Derek Jeter. After an intentional walk to Alex Rodriguez, Hideki Matsui singled, scoring Teixeira and tying the game. Oliver was replaced with Kevin Jepsen, who yielded a triple to Robinson Canó that scored Rodriguez and Matsui, giving the Yankees a two-run lead. In the bottom half of the seventh, Abreu hit an RBI groundout that scored Jeff Mathis from third. Hunter then drew a walk, followed by a Guerrero single that scored Erick Aybar, and a Morales single that scored Hunter, giving the Angels a one-run lead. The Yankees threatened Angels closer Brian Fuentes in the ninth inning. With two outs, Fuentes loaded the bases, but Nick Swisher popped out to end the game.
Sunday, October 25, 2009 — 8:20 PM (ET) at Yankee Stadium in Bronx, New York
Game 6 was originally scheduled to be played on Saturday, October 24, but was postponed because of rain. Angels' gaffes once again proved costly. In the top of the second, baserunner Vladimir Guerrero ran too far from first base on a fly ball out and was doubled off. The game remained scoreless until the top of the third inning when Bobby Abreu singled Jeff Mathis home to give the Angels the early lead. The Yankees left six men on base in the first and second innings before they finally broke through in the bottom of the fourth after Johnny Damon lined a two-run single to give the Yankees the lead for the remainder of the game. Alex Rodriguez walked with the bases loaded to force in another run. Saunders was then removed in favor of Darren Oliver, who pitched 2 2⁄3 shutout innings.
Andy Pettitte pitched a strong game, allowing one run in 6 1⁄3 innings while striking out six. Mariano Rivera entered the game in the eighth inning for a six-out save. Guerrero singled in a run with two outs to close the gap to 3–2. In the bottom of the eighth, the Angels misfielded two sacrifice bunts by the Yankees, a fielding error by Howie Kendrick and a throwing error by pitcher Scott Kazmir, eventually leading to two runs. Rivera retired the side in the ninth to record the Yankees' 40th American League pennant.
2009 ALCS (4–2): New York Yankees over Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim