But manager Mike Scioscia insisted that Saunders was the best fit for this game -- as a lefty sinkerballer going against the powerful Yankees lineup in the cozy dimensions of Yankee Stadium.
"That was huge. Jeter's obviously done his thing in the postseason; he's gotten me a number of times," Saunders said. "For me to get that big out and turn that big double play was huge for us."Saunders was able to get Jeter there and the Yankees' other big hitters in crucial spots. New York's heart of the order -- Mark Teixeira, Alex Rodriguez and Hideki Matsui -- combined to go 0-for-9 off Saunders. He induced an inning-ending 3-6-1 double play from Matsui in the sixth and exacted revenge on Robinson Cano, who drove in the Yankees' first run with an RBI triple, with a double-play grounder in the seventh. But the Angels' demise on Saturday night came when they tried to pull off one double play too many. With runners on first and second and one out in the 13th, Melky Cabrera chopped the ball to second baseman Maicer Izturis' left. Izturis fielded the ball and pivoted quickly toward second, but airmailed the throw past shortstop Erick Aybar, allowing Jerry Hairston Jr. to score the winning run. While he admitted it was deflating, Saunders admired the way he and the Angels battled all night. And the native of Virginia is eager to get one more chance to pitch in the frigid New York weather in a potential Game 6. "I've pitched in cold weather my whole life. Cold weather is good for me," Saunders said. "I like pitching in the cold, and we're just going to come back and hopefully win a couple games at home."
Tim Britton is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.Less