Angels eliminate Yanks, advance to ALCS
By Dan Whitcomb
ANAHEIM, California (Reuters) – The Los Angeles Angels
rallied to clinch the ALDS with a 5-3 Game Five victory over
the New York Yankees on Monday, winning a wild contest that saw
both starting pitchers gone by the third inning.
The Angels battled back from a 2-0 deficit to score the
go-ahead runs when two Yankees outfielders collided trying to
catch a deep fly ball and then held on to take the best-of-five
series by a 3-2 margin.
Despite losing ace Bartolo Colon after the first inning to
an inflamed shoulder, the Angels set up a meeting with the
Chicago White Sox in the American League Championship Series.
Game One of the best-of-seven series is in Chicago on
The Yankees began the season with baseball’s biggest
payroll and high expectations, but the early exit means they
will not add to their record 26 World Series victories, with
the title drought now stretching back to 2000.
“I’m just terribly disappointed,” Yankees manager Joe Torre
“I don’t remember being this disappointed because I wanted
this very badly.”
Los Angeles’s 22-year-old rookie Ervin Santana, coming in
to replace Colon and making his first ever playoff appearance,
was sparkling in relief after giving up two early runs to New
“Mixed in with that early inconsistency were flashes of
brilliance that lit everybody’s eyes up,” Angels manager Mike
Los Angeles took the lead for good in the second inning
after Yankees outfielders Bubba Crosby and Gary Sheffield
smashed into each other near the right field wall.
Angels left fielder Garret Anderson led off the inning with
a solo home run. Catcher Bengie Molina followed with a single
and two outs later, Steve Finley walked.
With two-on and two-out, Adam Kennedy hit a deep fly to the
warning track where Crosby and Sheffield sprinted toward the
wall but collided, allowing the ball to drop and two runs to
Kennedy ended up on third base and was credited with a
triple on the play.
Crosby later said that he did not see Sheffield until he
reached up to make the catch and it was not clear if either man
called for the ball amid the roar of the crowd.
Los Angeles went up 4-2 in the third when Anderson drove in
shortstop Orlando Cabrera with a sacrifice fly to left field
and added another run when Vladimir Guerrero scored on Darin
Erstad’s soft ground ball up the first base line.
Mussina was replaced by Yankees ace lefthander Randy
Johnson, making his first relief appearance since Game Seven of
the 2001 World Series.
The ‘Big Unit’ held the Angels scoreless for four innings
before he was replaced by reliever Tom Gordon.
With their season on the line, Yankee shortstop Derek Jeter
led off the seventh inning with a solo home run to make the
Jeter passed Babe Ruth for sixth on the all-time playoff
home run list with 16 round-trippers and owns a record 142
Angels closer Francisco Rodriguez gave up a single to Jeter
to lead off the ninth and two more hits before Hideki Matsui
grounded out to first base to end the game.
It was the third comeback win of the series for Los
“I’m not going to hang my head,” Yankees third baseman Alex
Rodriguez said following a woeful series without an RBI.
“I had a great year and left my guts out on the field.”