April 26, 2005 A-Rod vs Angels
Bartolo Colon probably sighed a bit of relief when he saw he wouldn't be facing the Yankees this weekend (May 25-27). That's because Alex Rodriguez owns him. In just 45 official at-bats A-Rod has 8 home runs, 17 RBI, and a .444 average (20-45). A good chunk of that came on April 27, 2005 at Yankee Stadium.
With 2 aboard in the first inning, A-Rod crushed one of the 399 ft. sign in left-centerfield. In the third he one even farther, into the Angels bullpen in left.
The tape measures came out again in the 4th, when he lifted one over the 408 ft. sign in straight away centerfield. 3 swings, 3 home runs. Reminiscent of a certain #44. He also "settled" for an RBI single in the 6th.
Oh, and Carl Pavano was the winning pitcher.
October 2-5, 2002 The Emergence of K-Rod
The Angels won their 1st World Series championship in 2002 and it all began with a 3-1 victory over the Yankees in the ALCS. One of the main reasons they won it all was the emergence of Francisco Rodriguez, aka "K-Rod".
Rodriguez had only appeared in 5 regular season games in his rookie year, but he looked nothing like a rookie in the post-season. He gave up a couple of runs in Game 2 of the ALDS, but emerged the winning pitcher. He won again in Game 3, striking out 4 in 2 innings of work. In the clincher, Game 4, 3 of the 5 outs he recorded were by strikeout.
October 10, 2005 ALDS Disappointment Again
The Yankees and Angels met in the first round of the playoffs again in 2005. The teams split the first 4 games, setting up the clincher in LA. Mike Mussina had been brilliant in winning game 1 and was staked to a 2-0 lead in the 2nd inning on an RBI single by Bubba Crosby and a sac fly by Derek Jeter.
But the Angels answered right back in their half of the 2nd. Garrett Anderson led the inning off with a home run and Adam Kennedy finished it off with a go-ahead 2-run triple.
The Angels struck again in the 3rd. Anderson followed back-to-back singles by Orlando Cabrera and Vlad Guerrero with a sac fly. Bengie Molina singled and Darin Erstad brought home Guerrero with a fielder's choice. Trailing 5-2 with 2 outs in the 3rd, Joe Torre had seen enough and called on Randy Johnson.
Johnson had been horrible in the Game 2 loss, but was outstanding on this night with 4 1-3 shutout innings. But the Yankees couldn't solve the Angels pitching. Bartolo Colon had to leave the game in the 2nd inning with a sore shoulder, but Ervin Santana had come on and done a fine job once given the lead. In the 7th Jeter homered to lead off the inning, but Santana got A-Rod on a ground out before Mike Scioscia went to the pen.
The Yankees final chance would come against K-Rod in the 9th. Jeter singled to start the inning, but A-Rod bounced into a killer double play. The Yankees weren't giving up though. Jason Giambi and Gary Sheffield stroked back-to-back singles to bring the tying run to the plate in the form of Hideki Matsui. But K-Rod won the battle, getting Matsui to ground out to 1st to end the game and the series.
July 25, 1993 Hope Begins to Return to the Bronx
The losing teams of the 1980s and early 1990s had begun to take a turn with players like Paul O'Neill, Wade Boggs, and Jimmy Key coming to the Bronx. July 25, 1993 was one of those games that would help build the winning character of the team that would eventually win 4 World Series.
Poor pitching by Melido Perez and Rich Montelone, and a crucial error by Mike Gallego lead to an 8-run second inning for the (California) Angels. Mike Stanley breathed some life into the Yankees offense with a solo HR leading off the bottom of the inning.
In the 3rd, Danny Tartabull and Bernie Williams delivered RBI singles to cut the lead to 8-3. One inning later, Boggs brought home a run with an RBI ground out.
The Yankees really turned up the head in the 7th. Jim Leyritz doubled and came around to score on a pair of ground outs by Don Mattingly and Tartabull. The score was 8-5 with 2 outs, but the Yankees weren't done yet. Stanley singled and Bernie walked to put two aboard. Paul O'Neill drove one to deep center for a 2-run double, and suddenly and dramatically, it was a 1-run game.
Angels reliever Jim Frey walked Tartabull to start the 9th. Then what goes around, comes around. Angels shortstop Gary Disarcina booted Stanley's potential double play grounder. Greg Myers was the starting catcher for the Halos that day, but he had been removed for a pinch-hitter in the top of the 9th. His replacement, Ron Tingley, committed a passed ball to allow the runners to both move into scoring position. Bernie was intentionally walked to set up a force at any base. Then the warrior delivered, albeit in a mild way.
O'Neill's sac fly tied the game at 8-8. After Gallego was retired for the 2nd out, Pat Kelly singled to left, bring home pinch-runner Henlsey Meulens with the winning run.
John Habyan picked up the win. Gene Nelson took the loss for the Angels. Nelson was a former Yankees farmhand who made the jump from 'A' ball to the majors in 1981 and won his 1st major league game as a Yankee.
August 31, 1995 O'Neill Hits the Bulls-eye
Paul O'Neill had quickly become a fan favorite since his acquisition from Cincinnati. The fans in the right field seats had begun holding up signs for Paulie to hit HRs to. The letter "O" looked like a bulls-eye. Unfortunately a number of fans also spelled his name with only 1 'l'. No matter, for on August 31, 1995 the Warrior tried to accomodate his flock.
Wade Boggs and Bernie Williams started off the game with back-to-back singles and O'Neill followed with a 3-run HR. One inning later, with Randy Velarde and Bernie aboard, O'Neill went deep again. Two innings, two at-bats, two 3-run HRs.
No one was on base in the 5th, but that didn't stop O'Neill. He blasted a solo shot, his 3rd HR of the night in as many at-bats. A run producing single in the 6th gave him an 8 RBI night. O'Neill would have one more at-bat in the 8th, but struck out looking against Troy Percival. He had 4 hits, 3 home runs, 8 RBI, and you can bet Paulie was pissed at being called out on strikes!