Tuesday, October 1, 2013

Top Yankees Postseason Home Runs by Inning: Second Inning

It's time for the second installment of our series. The first one ran yesterday in case you missed it. Here are the biggest second-inning playoff homers in Yankees history:

6. Scott Brosius - 1999 ALCS Game One

The Red Sox and Yankees squared off for the first time in the postseason in the 1999 ALCS. The East Division-winning Yankees hosted the wild card Red Sox in Game One, but it was Boston that led 3-0 before an out was recorded in the second inning.

After going the distance against Cleveland in the ALDS, the Sox had to turn to fourth starter Kent Mercker to begin the Yankees series. He received early run support but quickly gave some of it back in the bottom of the second.

Shane Spencer singled with two outs before nine-hitter Scott Brosius hit a two-run homer that brought the Yankees back into the game. Brosius started the tying rally in the seventh as well, leading off with a single before scoring on Derek Jeter's single.

On the hill for the Yanks, Orlando Hernandez retired 20 of the last 23 batters he faced before Mariano Rivera posted zeroes in the ninth and tenth innings.

Bernie Williams led off the bottom of the tenth with a home run to win the game 4-3, as you can see below.

New York won the next night and although the Red Sox won Game Three 13-1, the Bombers won the next two by a combined score of 15-3 to take the pennant.

5. Nick Johnson - 2003 ALCS Game Two

The Yanks and Sox met for the A.L. title four years later. Boston won the first game 5-2 and New York looked to Andy Pettitte to even the series, just as he did in the ALDS against the Twins.

The southpaw was in trouble to start, loading the bases in the first. He allowed the game's first run in the second inning, but limited the damage before setting down 16 of 19 Sox hitters.

With the Yankees trailing 1-0 with one on and one out in the second, Nick Johnson socked a Derek Lowe pitch out for a two-run homer. That got the ball rolling as the offense backed Pettitte in a 6-2 win.

The two clubs exchanged blows (literally and figuratively) throughout the series, with New York winning a classic seventh game on Aaron Boone's home run.

4. Chris Chambliss - 1977 World Series Game Six

You might have had a feeling that a home run from this game would show up on the countdown, but for now let's focus on a less-famous dinger.

Fighting to force a seventh game, the Dodgers scored in the first inning on Steve Garvey's two-run triple. Reggie Jackson led off the second inning with a four-pitch walk against Burt Hooton to set up Chris Chambliss, who tied the game with a two-run homer.

L.A. reclaimed the lead with a Reggie Smith home run, but Jackson homered again to put the Yankees in front for good. Reggie added one more bomb for good measure and the Yanks won 8-4 for their first title in 15 years.

3. Yogi Berra - 1956 World Series Game Two

The Dodgers won the first game of the '56 Series, but Don Newcombe got smoked in Game Two. The Yanks led 2-0 on RBI singles by Joe Collins and Don Larsen (yes). The bases were loaded with two outs in the second inning when Yogi Berra blasted a grand slam for a 6-0 advantage.

The lead wouldn't last very long. Larsen walked four of the 10 men he faced and was taken out in the second inning. He would come back on two days rest and have a somewhat better outing.

Brooklyn scored six in the bottom of the second to tie things up and they outslugged the Yankees the rest of the way, 13-8. The Yankees came back with three straight wins in the Bronx, then won Game Seven at Ebbets Field (thanks to a pair of two-run homers by Berra off Newcombe).

2. Jake Powell - 1936 World Series Game Six

The Yankees were one win from the championship, but the Giants plated two runs in the bottom of the first inning. George Selkirk's two-out triple off Freddie Fitzsimmons in the next half-inning brought up Jake Powell.

Powell went deep to tie the game. The Giants hung around and trailed 6-5 in the top of the ninth inning, but the Yankees blew the game open with seven runs and won 13-5 to claim the first of four straight titles.

Things took an ugly turn with Powell two years later, as detailed by Chris Lamb in the New York Times in 2008. 

"During a pregame interview at Comiskey Park in Chicago on July 29, 1938, the WGN Radio announcer Bob Elson asked Powell, a Yankees outfielder, what he did during the off-season. Powell replied that he was a policeman in Dayton, Ohio. When Elson asked him how he stayed in shape, Powell, using a common racial slur, replied that he cracked blacks over the head with his nightstick.

Hundreds of outraged listeners called the station. Others called the Chicago office of the baseball commissioner, Kenesaw Mountain Landis. Before the next day’s game, a delegation of black leaders presented a petition to umpires demanding that Powell be barred from baseball for life.

Although Major League Baseball had turned a deaf ear to criticism of its color line, it could neither dismiss nor deny the outcry over Powell’s slur. Landis suspended him for 10 days. The Sporting News reported that it was the first time that a major league ballplayer had been suspended for a racist remark."

Well after his big league career, Powell was arrested in 1948 for passing bad checks. He drew a gun in the police station and committed suicide.

1. Hideki Matsui - 2009 World Series Game Six

The Yankees won three of the first five games of the World Series with the help of Hideki Matsui. The designated hitter hit a go-ahead homer off Pedro Martinez in Game Two and a pinch-hit homer in Game Three, but he earned MVP honors with his performance in the finale.

Alex Rodriguez opened the bottom of the second against Martinez with a walk. Matsui followed with a two-run homer just inside the right-field pole for a 2-0 lead.

He added a two-run single in the third and a two-run double in the fifth. His six runs batted in tied a World Series single-game record as the Yankees won 7-3 for the franchise's 27th championship.

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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