Mark Teixeira and Alex Rodriguez -- two Yankees stars who don't have the best reputation among some fans at the moment -- combined to make 2009 ALDS Game 2 one of the most memorable Yankees playoff games ever, even if it was just the Division Series.
Teixeira hit a leadoff walk-off home run in the 11th inning off of Twins reliever Jose Mijares that just bounced off the left field wall and went over it. It was Teixeira's shining moment of the 2009 postseason, as he had a poor postseason after being a legitimate MVP candidate during his first season with the Yankees. The ball was scorched so hard that it left the park before you could even snap your fingers.
Also, Teixeira set the stage for Rodriguez's big moment in the bottom of the 9th inning. The Yankees were down 3-1 going into their last licks, and Teixeira opened the inning with a single. Rodriguez came into to the at-bat hitting .159 with one home run and one RBI in the postseason from 2005-2007.
Even though the narrative about a player with a career .302/.389/.572/.960 slash line in high leverage situations being "unclutch" is a little silly, it was definitely there and the media and fans were just waiting for Rodriguez to fail to get out their pitchforks and knives.
However, it was the start of Rodriguez shutting those critics up and leading the Yankees to its first championship in nine seasons on his shoulders. He hit a towering two-run home run into the Yankees' bullpen in right-center against Joe Nathan to tie the game at 3-3 and went on to hit an unfathomable .365/.500/.808/1.308 with six home runs and 18 RBI for the whole 2009 postseason.
The other big story from the game was a big missed call in left field by umpire Phil Cuzzi in the top of the 11th inning. Joe Mauer hit a ball down the left field line that clearly landed in fair territory and bounced into the stands for what should have been a ground rule double.
Cuzzi ruled the ball foul, but Mauer ended up hitting a single anyways and that was followed by singles by Jason Kubel and Michael Cuddyer to load up the bases against David Robertson with no outs. Robertson incredibly lived up to his "Houdini" nickname by getting Delmon Young to line out to first, Carlos Gomez to ground out to short and Brendan Harris to fly out. He will always be the unsung hero of the game.
Those were only three of the 17 runners the Twins left on base that night, so they have zero excuses when it comes to the missed Cuzzi call. They had a million chances to win this game and even the series up going back to Minnesota, but the Yankees just held a choke hold over the Twins that year (like pretty much every year), as they finished 10-0 against them for the season.
This game had everything. It had a pitchers duel with neither team scoring for the first five innings, a controversial call, big missed opportunities and the ultimate drama. The best part for me personally was seeing Rodriguez troll everybody. I was a sophomore in high school at the time, and I have vague and scattered memories of the championships from 1996-2000. The 2009 championship I can really call my own, and this game was the one that really got that run started.