Yanks, Halos combine for six homers
Clubs produce impressive long-ball barrage in Game 3
ANAHEIM -- Once Game 3 of the American League Championship Series hit its later stages, home runs became something foreign to the Yankees and Angels. Which is rather remarkable, because for the first eight innings, such long balls were unavoidable.
The Yankees and Angels combined for six home runs from six different players on Monday, including four by the Yankees in their 5-4 loss. The last time six different players all hit home runs in an ALCS game was in Game 4 in 1996, when Jim Leyritz, Cecil Fielder and Darryl Strawberry all went deep for the Yankees against the Orioles, who got homers from Bobby Bonilla, Eddie Murray and Todd Zeile.
The Yankees were also involved in two of three other ALCS games with six or more homers, hitting four -- including two from Hideki Matsui -- off Red Sox pitching in Game 3 in 2004, while the Sox countered with two more, as well as hitting three against Boston -- Jason Giambi with two and Aaron Boone with his unforgettable one -- in Game 7 in 2003.
The culprits on Monday were Derek Jeter, Alex Rodriguez, Johnny Damon and Jorge Posada for the Yankees, and Howard Kendrick and Vladimir Guerrero for the Angels.
Jeter's was first, a leadoff blast off Angels starter Jered Weaver that the Yankees captain pulled over the left-field wall. That home run was Jeter's 20th all-time in postseason play, ranking him behind Manny Ramirez (29) and Bernie Williams (22), and his third leading off a postseason game.
Next up was Rodriguez, who has already hit four long balls this postseason, and who the Angels intentionally walked with two outs and the bases empty in the ninth inning due to his propensity for shooting balls out of the park.
|7||Red Sox (4), Rays (3) *||10/11/08|
|7||Mets (4), Cardinals (3)||10/15/06|
|7||Marlins (4), Cubs (3) *||10/7/03|
|6||Yankees (4), Angels (2) *||10/19/09|
|6||Yankees (4), Red Sox (2)||10/16/04|
|6||Yankees (3), Red Sox (3) *||10/16/03|
|6||Orioles (3), Yankees (3)||10/13/96|
"The ball was carrying pretty well," Angels manager Mike Scioscia said. "Alex can go down and backspin some pitches like nobody's business, and we just wanted to take our chances."
After Damon homered with one out in the fifth, Kendrick matched him with a solo shot in the bottom half of the inning. And then it was time for one of the biggest hits in the game, Guerrero's two-run shot off Andy Pettitte to tie the game in the sixth.
"I just missed my location," Pettitte said. "I had two strikes on the guy with two outs, and I just didn't make my pitch. I hated that I wasn't able to get that last out and turn it over to our bullpen. It's all about making pitches. You make a mistake and you get hurt. I made a mistake to their No. 4 hitter."
No matter. Posada came through in the eighth with a game-tying homer of his own, launching a solo shot off Angels reliever Kevin Jepsen.
In total, the Yankees have now hit 12 homers over six postseason games. The only game in which they did not homer was Game 1 of the ALCS, on Friday -- just the second time in 85 games at the new Yankee Stadium that nobody hit a home run.
Anthony DiComo is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.