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10/23/09 2:30 AM ET

Hunter catches Burnett napping with steal

Angels veteran swipes second base without throw

ANAHEIM -- The Yankees have done a good job keeping the fleet-footed Angels at bay on the basepaths in the American League Championship Series, but Torii Hunter finally got a leg up on the opposition in the Halos' 7-6 Game 5 victory.

Hunter drew a walk, then swiped a bag off Yankees starter A.J. Burnett in the bottom of the third inning. But what was interesting about the steal was how huge a lead Hunter was able to get.

With Vladimir Guerrero batting, Burnett did everything he could to try to keep Hunter close to the bag at first. He threw over four times, but Hunter didn't get any less daring with his leads.

Swiping success
Angels' steals in playoffs
Torii Hunter stole his first base of the playoffs in Game 5 of the ALCS, as the Halos' running game has been mostly kept in check by the Yanks. Despite their lack of thefts, they've been proficient -- caught only once in the playoffs.
Name Steals/
Aybar 3/3
Izturis 1/1
Kendrick 1/1
Rivera 1/1
Hunter 1/2
Totals 7/8

And as Burnett prepared to deliver a pitch to Guerrero, Hunter took off -- before Burnett even started his windup. He got such a big jump that he was able to go into second standing up. Catcher Jose Molina didn't even bother to throw to second.

How did Hunter do it? He was coy with his response.

"It's my secret," Hunter said with a laugh. "It was just my secret weapon."

The Yankees had the last laugh, however. After Hunter advanced to third on a wild pitch, Guerrero grounded back to the mound. Hunter got overly aggressive heading home, and Burnett tossed to Molina to get Hunter caught in a rundown. He was thrown out trying to slide back into third, and the Angels didn't score in the inning.

Anthony Castrovince is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.