Angels win thriller, stave off elimination

Thanks to their 7-6 victory over the Yankees in Game 5 of the ALCS on Thursday night, the Angels saved themselves from elimination to force a Game 6.

L.A. starter John Lackey gave up three runs on six hits over 6.2 innings of work, while striking out seven and walking three. He was cruising until the sixth inning when he allowed a double to Melky Cabrera, then walked pinch hitter Jorge Posada on a terrible call by home plate umpire Fieldin Culbreth.

The call definitely rattled Lackey, who wound up walking the bases loaded before retiring the second out of the inning. He was relieved with the two outs and the bases loaded, but the Halos bullpen wound up getting shelled as the Yankees put six runs on the board to take a 6-4 lead.

But the Angels answered back with three runs of their own and then held on over the final two innings to secure the victory.

The call by Culbreth completely swung the momentum in the Yankees favor. Lackey had every right to be pissed, although he allowed his emotions to get the best of him and Mike Scioscia had little choice but to relieve him. Had New York wound up winning, the Angels could have pointed to that call as their death nail.

Joe Girardi will once again be subject to criticism following his decision to let starter A.J. Burnett go back out for the seventh inning. The Yankees had all the momentum and Girardi should have had more faith in his bullpen, but he allowed Burnett to start the inning and A.J. would up allowing the first two batters to reach base to spark the Halos.

Another Yankee that will face some heat is Nick Swisher, who went 0-for-5 and popped out with bases loaded in the top of the ninth to end the game. He had a solid regular season, but he’s hitting just .118 so far in the postseason and has killed several scoring opportunities for the Bronx Bombers.

Game 6 is set for Saturday at 8:07 p.m. ET and will feature Joe Saunders vs. Andy Pettitte.

Follow the Scores Report editors on Twitter @clevelandteams and @bullzeyedotcom.

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