The Yankees have been waiting a long time for Lance Berkman to do something. Actually, they’ve been waiting for him do to anything.

Before yesterday, his most notable achievement in pinstripes was hitting Alex Rodriguez in the shin with a line drive in batting practice. That happened in early August, and in all the time that followed, one of the greatest sluggers in Houston Astros history managed a single home run in New York.

The Big Puma was suddenly an endangered species. That’s not a clever pun. I literally worried a bleacher creature was going to straight-up try to murder him, The Fan style.

But that’s the beautiful thing about postseason baseball—you can wipe away months of bad faith with one good series. Or in Berkman’s case, one good game.

Berkman had the two biggest hits in the Yankees’ Game 2 win over the Twins on Thursday, a long opposite-field homer in the fifth inning, and a booming RBI double in the seventh.

It had to be sweet vindication for Brian Cashman, who brought Berkman aboard to fortify the Yankee lineup and instead got Triple-A production out of a lavishly-paid veteran.

Berkman wasn’t the only player who made Cashman look smart on Thursday.

Curtis Granderson continued his resurgence with three more hits, while Kerry Wood officially put Joba Chamberlain’s face on the side of a milk carton with a dominant eighth inning.

It’s been a tough year for Cash, who watched the acquitions of Nick Johnson and Javier Vazquez blow up in his face as A.J. Burnett’s contract quickly morphed into one of the worst in baseball.

He’s no doubt feeling good this morning, as is Andy Pettitte. He won the 19th postseason game of his career, and few were more impressive given the circumstances.

The Yankees didn’t know what they were getting from Pettitte coming into this series. The groin injury that wrecked his second half had turned the left-hander into a serious question mark, albeit one on a successful journey to comfort.

Pettitte was dominant for seven innings and 88 pitches, and probably could have went the distance if Joe Girardi wasn’t correctly protecting the veteran’s health.

I received a couple of texts from friends after the game saying this was the game that makes Pettitte a Hall of Famer. I tend to disagree, because it’s the ALDS and I thought he already was. I will say that if the Yanks go deep into the playoffs, he may finally get his proper national due as one of the great postseason performers in the game’s history.

But of all the positives Cashman took out of Thursday, perhaps most fulfilling was the sight of Carl Pavano, the man who had swindled the Yankees out of $40 million, walking off the mound a loser for the second straight ALDS. I would’ve paid anything to be able read Cash’s lips as the American Idle trudged off.

“Nice mustache, d*ck.”

Stray thoughts

  • John Sterling is on a roll. His Berkman home run call last night was bananas. “SIR LANCELOT RIDES TO THE RESCUE! C’EST LUI! C’EST LUI!” This was the most outrageous radio I’ve ever heard, just ahead of Dan the Farter (no relation) setting the world flatulence record on Howard Stern.
  • Epic fail is in order for Ron Gardenhire, the Twins manager who told the media before Game 2 that he buried his uniform after the Game 1 loss. Since that didn’t work, I say he knocks off a convenience store next. If that fails, assassinate Fidel Castro. Let’s see how far we can take this.
  • Give Minnesota Twins fans this: They care. My God, do they care. Some serious depression shots by TBS in the late innings. Look at the bright side guys, at least your football team’s quarterback isn’t a gray-haired old fool who walks with a limp. Oh wait.
  • Funny A-Rod quote on Berkman over at the LoHud Blog: “You know these games are important. I actually saw him in the weight room a couple of days ago. I almost had a heart attack.”
  • I can’t tell you how much more I enjoy TBS’ incessant Conan promos over last year’s incessant Frank TV ads. I still can’t believe Frank TV ever existed. Dude got his own sketch show because he could do a bad John Madden impression.
  • Mariano Rivera is the greatest of all time. In shorthand, you can call him the G.O.A.T. Just a friendly reminder.

Dan Hanzus writes the Yankees blog River & Sunset and can be reached at Follow Dan on Twitter @danhanzus.

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