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But Posada tied it again in the eighth with a shot to center off Kevin Jepsen. Jeter stranded two runners to end New York's eighth, and Los Angeles' Abreu was tagged out moments later while retreating to second base after his long double to center.
Only three teams have 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 leadoff homer in the postseason and his 20th overall, third on baseball's career list behind Manny Ramirez and Bernie Williams.
Rodriguez connected in the fourth for his 11th career postseason homer. He already has nine RBIs in these playoffs, 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.
Angels closer Brian Fuentes pitched a hitless ninth, showing no effects from Rodriguez's tying homer in the 11th inning of 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.
Copyright 2009 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.
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