Wednesday, October 2, 2013

Top Yankees Postseason Home Runs by Inning: Third Inning

We continue our series with the biggest third inning home runs in Yankees playoff history:

(1st inning2nd inning)

6. Joe DiMaggio - 1939 World Series Game Three

Aiming for a four-peat, the Yankees won the first two games against Cincinnati. The Reds led 3-2 after two innings, but Joe DiMaggio took Junior Thompson deep for a two-run homer that gave the Yanks the lead. Charlie Keller added his second two-run dinger of the game and Bill Dickey homered as well as New York won 7-3 on their way to a sweep.

5. Cecil Fielder - 1996 ALCS Game Five

The Yankees led the Orioles 3-1 and needed one more win to claim their first A.L. pennant in 15 years.

New York had already scored twice in the third inning and had runners at the corners with two outs. Cecil Fielder deposited a Scott Erickson offering over the left-center field wall for a three-run homer and 5-0 lead. Darryl Strawberry immediately followed with a homer of his own and the Yanks were on their way to a 6-4 win and a trip to the World Series.

4. Derek Jeter - 2009 ALDS Game One

New York won 103 games during the regular season, but trailed the playoff opener against the Twins 2-0 when Derek Jeter came up with a man on and one out in the third inning:

His homer tied the game and the Yankees added five unanswered runs in a 7-2 win. They swept the series before beating the Angels and Phillies to take the title.

3. Rick Cerone - 1981 World Series Game Three

The Yankees had beaten the Dodgers in 1977 and 1978 and it looked like they were well on their way to doing it again when they won the first two games in '81. The series shifted to the West Coast and although the Dodgers led 3-0 early in Game Three, New York came back against Fernando Valenzuela. They scored two runs in the second inning before Rick Cerone hit a go-ahead two-run homer in the third to put a damper on Fernandomania.

They went 0-for-6 with RISP from that point on, however, and L.A. came back against relievers George Frazier and Rudy May to win 5-4. Back in the series, the Dodgers won the next two at home before closing it out back in the Bronx.

2. Mickey Mantle - 1953 World Series Game Five

The Dodgers and Yankees split the first four games of the 1953 Series, with the home team winning each contest. The fifth game at Ebbets Field broke the string thanks to Mickey Mantle.

A Gil Hodges error opened the door for a big Yankees inning in the third. The go-ahead run had already come across the plate when Brooklyn starter Johnny Podres was removed with two outs for reliever Russ Meyer.

Mantle socked the first pitch out for a grand slam that made it 6-1 in favor of the pinstripes. The Dodgers made a late comeback bid but still fell short 11-7. New York scored in double-digits under difficult circumstances, as the Cornell Daily Sun reported:

"You might say Casey Stengel's team did it with mirrors. Or despite mirrors. The game was held up a couple of times as the gendarmes investigated mysterious flashes from a building across Bedford Ave., usually when the Yankees were at bat."

The Yankees went home and won the next day to clinch their unprecedented fifth consecutive World Series title.

1. Gil McDougald - 1951 World Series Game Five

Gil McDougald won A.L. Rookie of the Year in 1951 (although it probably should have gone to Minnie Minoso). He had an outstanding season (142 OPS+) while splitting time between second base and third base as the Yankees went to the World Series.

Their opponent was the red-hot New York Giants, who had won 39 of 47 to win the pennant on Bobby Thomson's Shot Heard 'Round the World.

The Series was tied 2-2 and the game was tied 1-1 in the third inning. With runners at second and third and two out, Larry Jansen intentionally walked Johnny Mize to bring up McDougald. Gil made the Giants pay as he hit a grand slam, the third in World Series history and still the only one hit by a rookie. The homer can be seen at the 6:00 mark of the video below.

The Yanks piled on for a 13-1 win. The series moved across the Harlem River to Yankee Stadium the next day and the Bombers won the sixth game 4-3 to clinch.

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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