ANAHEIM, Calif. (AP) When
led off Game 3 with a homer into the bullpen, this AL championship series seemed uncomplicated. Power hitting and steady pitching
appeared to be driving New York to the World Series.
About 261 minutes, 14 pitchers, six homers and several big blunders later, a winning hit by a backup catcher left only one
thing certain in this cuckoo series: The
Los Angeles Angels
won't be trampled by the mighty Yankees.
with a two-out double in the 11th inning, and the Angels survived a second straight ALCS thriller, beating New York 5-4 Monday
to trim the Yankees' series lead to 2-1.
''There was a lot of great baseball on that field this afternoon,'' Angels manager
said. ''There were a lot of twists and turns, and both teams played a terrific game. We just got it done at the end.''
Kendrick, himself a part-time infielder, homered and tripled before singling with two outs in the 11th off rookie
. Mathis followed with his drive up against the left-field wall, and Kendrick slid home well ahead of a desperate throw, setting
off an on-field celebration of the backups' bonanza.
Mathis, a .211 hitter in the regular season, came up with his third late-inning, extra-base hit of this outlandish series,
just two days after the clubs' 310-minute, 13-inning icy epic in Game 2.
''Obviously, it's the biggest hit of my life,'' Mathis said. ''For Howie to have the at-bat he did right there, and to get
on base and put one in the gap to win the game, it's a pretty good feeling.''
If the Angels had any lingering doubts about their ability to match up with the big-money Yankees after two discouraging losses
in the chilly Bronx, those worries melted during their comeback in the balmy Orange County sun.
''Man, that was one of the craziest games,'' said Angels outfielder
, who lamented his 1-for-5 effort. ''It was an emotional roller coaster, man. We were up, we were down. I've got a headache
right now, but it was a lot of fun. Both teams were battling and we came through in the end. As long as you have innings and
outs left, you've got a chance to make something happen.''
Game 4 is Tuesday night, with CC Sabathia pitching on three days' rest against Angels newcomer
. Game 5 in the best-of-seven series is Thursday.
hit a tying two-run homer as the Angels overcame a 3-0 deficit and four solo homers by the Yankees' stars, including
's tying shot in the eighth.
made a big baserunning mistake,
made a gutsy stand with the bases loaded in the 10th before Kendrick and Mathis made it all academic with two quick hits against
Aceves, the Yankees' eighth pitcher.
Mathis entered Game 3 in the eighth, and had a leadoff double in the 10th.
''You wouldn't think
would be the guy that beats us, but top to bottom, they're a good lineup,'' said Yankees reliever
, who got five outs and finished the ninth.
For the second straight game, the Angels and Yankees played into tense extra innings, stretching nerves and bullpens still
frayed from Saturday's marathon New York victory at Yankee Stadium.
''This is the type of series we expected it to be,'' Yankees manager
said. ''We didn't really stretch out any of our pitchers too far today out of the bullpen, so I believe our guys will be fine
Los Angeles wasted a golden opportunity in the 10th after putting runners at the corners with nobody out against Rivera, but
the ace closer came through yet again, getting Hunter and Guerrero with the bases loaded. Fans gathered across the country
at Yankee Stadium erupted in cheers when Rivera retired the side - but the Angels came through in the 11th after winner
retired the Yankees.
''Anyone who thought we were going to breeze through a series with the Angels is crazy,'' said New York's
, who finished last season with Los Angeles. ''This is a great team, and they came to play today.''
The Angels ended their six-game ALCS losing streak. The Yankees had been 5-0 in this postseason, starting with a sweep over
The Yankees had a 3-0 lead midway through the fifth on homers by Jeter,
also appeared to be cruising toward his record 16th career postseason victory, which would have put New York one win from
its first World Series in six years.
Instead, Kendrick hit a fifth-inning homer, Guerrero tied it with a two-run shot in the sixth, and Kendrick tripled off Chamberlain
before scoring on
' sacrifice fly in the seventh to put the Angels ahead 4-3.
But Posada tied it again in the eighth with a shot to center off
. Jeter stranded two runners to end New York's eighth, and Los Angeles' Abreu was tagged out moments later while retreating
to second base after his long double to center.
Only three teams have blown a 2-0 lead in a league championship series, but the 2004 Yankees are in that trio. After taking
a 3-0 lead against Boston that infamous fall, the Yankees lost 13 of their next 17 postseason games before winning their first
five this year.
Many fans hadn't even settled into their Angel Stadium seats for Game 3 when Jeter ripped
's third pitch into the bullpen beyond the left-field fence for his third career leadoff homer in the postseason. Rodriguez
connected in the fourth for his 11th career postseason homer. He already has nine RBIs in these playoffs, a career best.
The 37-year-old Pettitte, a mainstay of New York's playoff efforts since 1996, has made the most postseason starts (37) and
pitched the most innings (231) in baseball history. He yielded seven hits and one walk, but Los Angeles' two mid-game homers
made him the first Yankees starter to allow more than two runs in this postseason.
Weaver gave up five hits and three walks in five innings, failing to recapture the dominance of his two-hit start against
Boston nine days earlier.
pitched a hitless ninth, showing no effects from Rodriguez's tying homer in the 11th inning of Game 2. Manager
ordered an intentional walk for Rodriguez with nobody on base and two outs, a move that paid off when pinch-hitter Jerry Hairston
Jr. struck out.
NOTES: Posada apparently asked Angel Stadium officials to turn on the lights midway through the game, played under partly
cloudy skies. ... Abreu was 0 for 11 against his former team before his sixth-inning single.