Thursday, October 3, 2013

Top Yankees Postseason Home Runs by Inning: Fourth Inning

We move on to the middle third of the game with the biggest fourth-inning playoff homers in Yankees history:

(1st inning2nd inning, 3rd inning)

6. Gary Sheffield - 2004 ALCS Game Three

The Yankees outlasted the Red Sox in a seven-game epic in the 2003 ALCS, but the following year's meeting appeared to be an easier run. New York won the first two games at home before a slugfest at Fenway in the third game.

Starters Kevin Brown and Bronson Arroyo were both shelled and only recorded six outs each. It was 6-6 with two on and one out in the top of the fourth when Gary Sheffield sent a Curt Leskanic pitch over the Green Monster to give the Yanks a 9-6 lead. New York added eight more runs before Boston got on the board again, ultimately winning 19-8.

New York held a 3-0 series lead, which had never been blown in the history of major league baseball. They held on for a 4-3 win in Game Four to sweep the Sox away and claim their second straight pennant. The Red Sox somewhat famously won two extra-inning classics at home before winning Games Six and Seven in the Bronx before ending The Curse and winning their first World Series since 1918.

5. Paul O'Neill - 1997 ALCS Game Three

The defending-champion Yankees split the first two games of the ALDS with the Indians. The pivotal third game at Jacobs Field turned in the fourth inning.

Charles Nagy was in trouble early and often and left with the bases loaded and two outs in the fourth after throwing 91 pitches. Chad Ogea came in to keep it only 2-1 New York and faced Paul O'Neill, who worked an eight-pitch at bat before crushing a grand slam. It was the Yanks' first bases-loaded homer in the playoffs since Joe Pepitone's in the 1964 World Series.

David Wells pitched a five-hitter on the mound and New York was sitting pretty up two games to one. They were four outs from the ALCS with a 2-1 lead in Game Four, but first-year closer Mariano Rivera served up a homer to Sandy Alomar Jr. The Tribe won that game and the next one to win the series, proving that Rivera would never amount to a big-game pitcher.

4. Reggie Jackson - 1981 ALDS Game Five

The split-season format after the 1981 strike gave us the first set of Division Series, pitting the first-half and second-half champs of the East and West in each league. The A.L. East series saw the Yankees win twice at Milwaukee, but fail at two chances to clinch in the Bronx.

The Brewers led the winner-take-all fifth game 2-0 in the fourth inning until Reggie Jackson took Moose Haas deep to tie it. Oscar Gamble went back-to-back to give the Yanks the lead that they wouldn't give up. They won 7-3, then beat the A's in the ALCS to reach the Fall Classic.

3. Alex Rodriguez - 2009 World Series Game Three

The '09 Series was tied 1-1 and the Phillies led the third game at home 3-0. Alex Rodriguez pulled the Yankees back into the game with a two-run homer that was thought at first to be a double off the top of the wall. Replays showed that it had actually hit a camera just over the fence and it was overturned for the first replay-reversed home run in the World Series.


The Yanks took the lead for good in the next frame and won 8-5. New York would go on to win the series in six games.

2. Reggie Jackson - 1977 World Series Game Six

The Dodgers were trying to push the series to seven games and led 3-2 in the fourth inning. Thurman Munson led off with a single off Burt Hooton and Reggie Jackson followed with a mammoth first-pitch two-run homer to push New York ahead 4-3.

That would not be the last of Reggie in this game.

1. Mickey Mantle - 1956 World Series Game Five

Don Larsen became a baseball immortal with his perfect game in the 1956 World Series, but we'll look at the Yankees side of the box score here.

Larsen had retired the first 12 batters he faced but his mound counterpart, Sal Maglie, had not allowed a baserunner either. New York went 11-up, 11-down to open the game until Mickey Mantle belted a home run to give Larsen all the support he would need.

Mantle would also make a superb running catch on a Gil Hodges flyball to center field in the next inning to keep the perfecto alive. Larsen completed his masterpiece in a 2-0 Yankees win and New York would win the series in seven games.

Monday, September 30: First Inning
Tuesday, October 1: Second Inning
Wednesday, October 2: Third Inning
Thursday, October 3: Fourth Inning
Friday, October 4: Fifth Inning
Monday, October 7: Sixth Inning
Tuesday, October 8: Seventh Inning
Wednesday, October 9: Eighth Inning
Thursday, October 10: Ninth Inning
Friday, October 11: Extra Innings

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