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Updated: Sunday October 6, 2002 12:06 AM
New York Yankees
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Stats: Batting |  Pitching
5 12 2
W Jarrod Washburn
L David Wells
Anaheim Angels
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Stats: Batting |  Pitching
9 15 1
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  Jarrod Washburn
  Shawn Wooten

ANAHEIM, California (Ticker) -- The Anaheim Angels have crashed the party by bouncing one of its most prominent participants.

A surprising season turned into a magical one as the Angels scored a Division Series-record eight runs in the fifth inning and stunned the New York Yankees, 9-5, eliminating the defending American League champions in four games.

The Angels, who never had won a postseason series, beat the Yankees at their own game -- solid starting pitching, good defense and timely hitting. Anaheim advanced to the League Championship Series, where it will meet the winner of the Minnesota-Oakland series.

The fact that the Angels beat New York is not nearly as startling as how they did it, bouncing back from a heartbreaking Game One loss and repeatedly rallying against a team that appeared in five of the last six World Series.

In this one, they erased a pair of early one-run deficits and broke open the game with the biggest inning in Division Series history. Shawn Wooten opened the fifth inning with a homer off Yankees starter David Wells (0-1), tying it at 2-2.

Darin Erstad, Tim Salmon, Garret Anderson and Scott Spiezio delivered run-scoring singles before Wooten's second hit of the inning made it 7-2. Bengie Molina capped the outburst with a two-run double.

"I think the first game we played at Yankee Stadium gave us the experience we needed," Spiezio said. "We lost, but we just took it from there. It really doesn't matter who we play now, we'll be ready to prove ourselves again like we have all year."

"I can't say how much respect I have my team, they never gave up," Angels manager Mike Scioscia added. "They played the game the way it should be played. Fortunatly, we executed the way we have all year and we came up with the win. I think the heart of this club came out, and I hope that everyone got a chance to see that."

The Yankees, who won championships in 1996 and each year from 1998-2000, lost the World Series in seven games last year. After compiling the best record in the AL this season, they were heavy favorites to get past the Angels, who were making their first postseason appearance since 1986.

When shortstop David Eckstein caught rookie Nick Johnson's pop-up with two aboard to end the game, the Angels celebrated widly at the mound. After getting off to the worst 20-game start in franchise history, Anaheim finds itself in the ALCS for the fourth time in its 42-year history.

"I've been here for eight years and the fans have been behind me 100 percent, even through some rough years," Percival said. "They've always been there for me. ... We got somewhere this organization has never been and we're getting ready to go somewhere that we've never been."

"It's great, I'm excited," Salmon said. "I don't know what else to say. I'm out of words. I was a part of it, but it was a 25-man effort the whole year. We played the Yankees and that might have been good for us, to play the best right from the start."

Anaheim starter Jarrod Washburn (1-0) allowed two runs - one earned - and six hits in five innings.

Wells was hurt by his defense, but all eight runs he allowed were earned. The veteran lefthander lost for the first time in five career Division Series decisions.

The Yankees broke on top, 1-0, in the second on an RBI double by Robin Ventura, but Ron Coomer stopped at third and was stranded there by Juan Rivera and Alfonso Soriano. The Angels drew even in the third when Soriano booted a potential inning-ending double play grounder.

New York regained the lead in the fifth on a sacrifice fly by Derek Jeter but could have had more if not for a couple of good defensive plays by left fielder Anderson.

Wooten's blast to left-center field tied it, 2-2, and Benji Gil singled one out later. David Eckstein's base hit put runners on the corners and Erstad blooped a single into center field to put Anaheim ahead.

Salmon made it a two-run advantage with a base hit to left and Anderson lined a single to right-center for a 5-2 lead. After Wells got Troy Glaus to pop out, Spiezio ripped an RBI single to left to finished the lefthander.

Ramiro Mendoza came on and allowed Wooten's third base hit of the afternoon. Molina lined a double off the wall in left that scored Spiezio and Wooten for a 9-2 cushion.

"I think Wooten hit the home run that got us going," Salmon said. "That's been the trademark of this club. A guy gets on base and before you know it, it was like every time there's a hit."

"Boomer looked like he was on his way today," Yankees manager Joe Torre. "All of a sudden, something happened in that fifth inning, where it got really ugly for us. I have no reasoning for it or excuse for it. It was just not up to our standards and we paid the price."

New York got back a run in the sixth on Jorge Posada's home run but missed a chance to put some pressure on Anaheim in the seventh.

Jeter, who was 8-for-16 in the series, singled with one out and Scott Schoeneweis allowed a base hit to Jason Giambi. Scioscia turned to 20-year-old rookie Francisco Rodriguez, who appeared in all three Angels' victories, and he walked Bernie Williams.

With the Yankees on the verge of getting back in the contest, Rodriguez uncorked a wild pitch allowing a run to score. But he rebounded to strike out Posada and retire Johnson around a four-pitch walk to Mondesi.

Rodriguez struck out two in the eighth and gave way to Percival in the ninth.

Percival allowed an RBI single to Mondesi but got Johnson, sparking the celebration.

"Nobody really believed in us before the season started," Gil said. "Most people picked us to finish last in a tough West Division, but we made the playoffs and now we've beaten the Yankees."

"It's definitely a great feeling to have the opportunity to play in the ALCS and maybe the World Series," Eckstein added. "Like we've done all year, we'll just focus on taking it one game at a time."

The Angels hit .376 in the series, scored 31 runs and hit nine homers. That damage came against New York's vaunted veteran staff, which posted an 8.21 ERA.

"We just ran into a team that is red-hot," Giambi said. "We fell a little short. They had guys that stepped up and had big series. We had our opportunities. We scored runs, but they kept grinding it out. They kept getting hit after hit in that inning and we never could shut them down."

The Yankees last failed to reach the World Series in 1997, when they lost to the Cleveland Indians in five games in the Division Series.

"If they keep playing like that, I don't see any team beating them," Jeter said of the Angels. "They just do everything right. They hit everything that was thrown up there. They hit, they pitched well, ran the bases well and they played defense. They just flat-out beat us."

"We'll be back, mark that down, we'll be back," Yankees owner George Steinbrenner added.

© 2002 Sportsticker