Flashback: July 30 and 31, 2005

10 years ago this week (July 29 - July 31, 2005) the Yankees were playing a three-game series against the Angels. It was a weekend series and the Yankees dropped the first game 4-1. At that time, the Angels were a thorn in the Yankees' side. It seemed like the Yankees could never beat them, and after the result of the first game of the series, it looked like it would be more of the same. Saturday afternoon's game featured a matchup between Paul Byrd and Shawn Chacon. Now, I don't remember the broadcast word for word, but I'm pretty sure Michael Kay probably mentioned that Byrd resembles Kelsey Grammer at least 15 times. He always did in those days.

The Yankees struck first with two runs in the bottom of the second thanks to a two-run single by Derek Jeter. But the Angels being the Angels of the mid-aughts came back and not only did they tie the Yankees, but they went ahead 7-3 in the top of the eighth inning.

The Yankees were able to chip away in the bottom of the frame thanks to a two-run shot by Jason Giambi to make it 7-5 Angels.

After Mariano Rivera set down the Angels 1-2-3 in the top of the ninth, the Yankees staged a dramatic comeback against Francisco Rodriguez. Tony Womack walked, then stole second just before Jeter walked. Rookie Robinson Cano struck out swinging for the first out. Gary Sheffield was next and while he was at the plate, K-Rod uncorked a wild pitch that advanced Womack to third and Jeter to second. K-Rod then walked Sheffield to load the bases for Alex Rodriguez who also worked a walk which scored Womack to cut the lead to 7-6. Then, Hideki Matsui stepped in and didn't waste any time belting a first-pitch, walk-off double to win the game 8-7.

The next day was cap day at the Stadium and I was at the game with a couple of my friends. That day's matchup was Chris Bootcheck against Randy Johnson.

Jason Giambi got the scoring started in the bottom of the second with his second home run in as many days.

Johnson coughed up the lead in the top of the fourth by giving up a three-run home run to Bengie Molina. He then gave up a solo shot to Jose Molina the next inning to put the Angels up 4-1.

Damn those Molinas!

Things were quiet until Giambi hit another home run in the bottom of the seventh to cut the Angels lead in half which gave us a false sense of hope at the time because Johnson gave up a double to Orlando Cabrera to put the Angels back up by three in the top of the eighth and then reliever Alan Embree gave up a run Juan Rivera sac fly with extended the Angels' lead to 6-2.

I remember my friend Dan had destroyed his cap by the time the top of the eighth ended. Like I said earlier in the post, games against the Angels were frustrating in those days. It seemed like they were always beating up on the Yankees, and even with the dramatic walk-off the day before, a 6-2 lead felt like too much for Yanks to overcome.

We were all wrong.

Brendan Donnelly, who had come in for Esteban Yan in the seventh, started the bottom eighth for the Angels and when the inning ended, Scot Shields had taken over and the Yankees had tied the game.

Here's how it happened:

  • Sheffield walked
  • A-Rod struck out swinging
  • Wild pitch with Sheff advancing to second
  • Matsui singled, Sheff scored.
  • Giambi walked, Matsui to second.
  • Scot Shields replaced Brendan Donnelly pitching
  • Tino Martinez reached on an E3, Matsui Scores, Giambi to 3B, Martinez to 2B
  • Bubba Crosby came in to pinch run for Tino Martinez
  • Williams sac fly to center, Giambi scored, Crosby to 3B
  • Posada walked
  • Jeter hit a single and Crosby scored

The game remained tied and went into extra innings. In the top of the tenth, during Mariano Rivera's second inning of work, he gave up a triple to Chone Figgins to open the frame, got Orlando Cabrera to line out but then gave up a run scoring single to Vlad Guerrero to put the Angels up 7-6. He got a double play to end the inning and the Yankees were looking for their second walk-off in two days.

Bernie Williams started off the bottom of the tenth with a double and Joe Torre pulled him for punch runner Tony Womack. Posada struck out swinging, while Jeter was up, reliever Kevin Gregg threw a wild pitch to advance Womack to third. Gregg ended up walking Jeter. Cano struck out swinging and the Yankees were down to their last out. Sheffield came in and on the fourth pitch of the at bat, hit a single to tie the game.

Again, it remained tied until the bottom of the eleventh when the Yankees started off an inning with their triple, this time off the bat of Hideki Matsui. The Angels intentionally walked Jason Giambi and who could blame them when he had three home runs in two days. Andy Phillips struck out swinging and then something amazing happened.

Angels' manager Mike Scioscia had decided to implement a five-man infield to prevent the run from scoring from third. Tony Womack, who was pinch hitting for Bernie Williams, hit the sixth pitch of his at bat through the five-man infield and into left field for the game-winning single.

We all went home happy that day. Even my friend Dan, who was waving his broken cap in the air after the Yankees' victory.