Fill-in John Lackey, who didn't even know he was pitching in place of ill scheduled starter Jarrod Washburn until seven hours before the first pitch, was beyond brilliant on three days' rest, giving up one run on two hits in 5 2/3 innings.
The Angels' usually dominant bullpen hit a snag in the seventh inning, when the Yankees scraped together two runs, giving them a 3-2 win and forcing a Game 5 that will be played in Anaheim on Monday.
The Angels still seem to have a slight advantage for the deciding game, with their ace, Bartolo Colon, ready to go after five days' rest and a sold-out home crowd waiting for them.
If they lose Game 5, however, there's no doubt they'll be thinking about the Game 4 that got away.
Behind the numbers
Garret Anderson went 0-for-3 a game after going 4-for-5 with five RBIs and Darin Erstad followed his three-hit Game 3 with an 0-for-3 night. Vladimir Guerrero legged out an infield single but still doesn't have an RBI in the series.
A look at key statistics through Game 4 of the ALDS.
|ERA||4.11||Still solid, but bullpen meltdown hurts|
|BA||.274 (37-for-135)||Chacon, bullpen were enough to silence bats|
|BA w/RISP (Game 4)||.500 (2-for-4)||Still making most of opportunities|
|Runs (Game 4)||2||A quiet night after the Friday explosion|
|Errors (Game 4)||0||Chone Figgins' pivotal rushed throw not an error|
|John Lackey||0-0, 2.38 ERA, 11 strikeouts||Answered the bell on three days' rest|
|Steve Finley||.111, 0 HR, 0 RBI||Wonder if he'll start against Mussina|
In the seventh inning, with the score tied at 2, third baseman Figgins fielded Derek Jeter's bouncer and rushed a throw home trying to nail Jorge Posada. Catcher Bengie Molina made a dazzling catch of the ball, which was headed wide of the plate, but he was too late to make the tag on the eventual winning run.
Manager Mike Scioscia's decision to leave reliever Scot Shields in the game in the seventh after giving up a leadoff single to Robinson Cano and walking Posada with one out was more questionable than pulling Lackey. After the Posada walk, the Yankees turned to pinch-hitter Ruben Sierra, who singled in the tying run.
The Angels couldn't score in the eighth or ninth against Yankees closer Mariano Rivera and snapped New York's two-game losing streak when Rivera pitches two innings.
"You've gotta enjoy pitching in October. That's what the 162 games are for."
Doug Miller is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.