The California Angels lost ground in what turned out to be a pennant race that wasn't when the New York Yankees scored six times in the fifth and beat the Angels, 11-7 before a crowd of 20,479 at Anaheim Stadium.
The Yankees, managed by Buck Showalter, were sitting in first place in the AL East in baseball's new three division alignment. Showalter started lefthander Jimmy Key, who was 14-2. Marcel Lachemann, who had replaced Buck Rodgers earlier in the year, had the Angels in third place, but that was still only five games behind first place Texas. The Angels came into the game 12 under .500 (42-54). Lefty Chuck Finley got the start for California.
The Angels led three different times early in the game. In the second inning when catcher Chris Turner singled home first baseman J.T. Snow. The Yankees tied the game up in the third when left fielder Paul O'Neill singled in first baseman Don Mattingly. The Angels took the lead again in the bottom of the third when leftfielder Bo Jackson homered.
The Yankees tied the game in the fourth when shortstop Mike Gallego homered off of Finley. But the Angels went back ahead in the bottom of the fourth when third baseman Spike Owen singled in Turner who had gotten to second on an infield hit and throwing error by Gallego.
In the fifth, the Yankees offense exploded. With one out, right fielder Danny Tartabull walked. Designated hitter Jim Leyritz doubled to left and Tartabull came all the way around to score to tie the game at 3-3. O'Neill walked. Third baseman Randy Velarde was caught looking by Finley, who appeared to be getting out of the jam. But Gallego came up with a double to score Leyritz and send O'Neill to third. Second baseman Pat Kelly singled to score O'Neill and Gallego. Kelly stole second and scored when center fielder (and leadoff man) Bernie Williams singled. Williams stole second and then went to third on a single by Mattingly. Only then did Lachemann relieve Finley with Scott Lewis. Catcher Mike Stanley greeted Lewis with a double to score Williams before Tartabull made the last out. The Yankees now led 8-3.
The Angels tried to peck away in the fifth. Jackson singled and then scored on a double by second baseman Damion Easley. But Key retired the next two batters to get out of the inning.
Leyritz had a 2-run single in the seventh to score Williams and Mattingly. This drove Lewis out of the game and lefty Joe Magrane came in to relieve.
Xavier Hernandez relieved Key in the bottom of the seventh and gave up a homer to Snow to make it 10-5. The Angels scored another run in the eighth off of Hernandez when second baseman Harold Reynolds singled, went to second on a wild pitch and then on to third when Stanley threw the ball away trying to catch Reynolds. Center fielder Chad Curtis singled in Reynolds. Bob Wickman relieved and struck out center fielder Jim Edmonds and Jackson to end the inning.
Each team got a run in the ninth. Tartabull doubled home Stanley in the top of the inning and Reynolds had an RBI groundout in the bottom of the ninth. Wickman ended up with the save.
Although the Yankees would be in first when the last game was played, they didn't win the AL East. A players strike after August 10 led to the cancellation of the rest of the season and the cancellation of the playoffs. The Yankees AL best 70-43 record went for naught. The Angels finished in fourth at 47-68, although that was just 5 1/2 games behind first place Texas, which was 52-62.
Key, who was 18-6 for the Yankees in 1993, had another good year in 1994 with a 17-4 record. Key had a 3.27 ERA, easily the best among Yankee starters. The team leader in saves was Steve Howe with 15. O'Neill won the AL batting title with a .359 average. He also led the team in home runs with 21. Showalter was named Manager of the Year.
The Angels were a mixture of young players, like Edmonds, Snow, and Tim Salmon. And older or injured players like Reynolds, Owen, and Jackson. The latter was playing with an artificial hip. Finley was the best of a mediocre pitching staff with a 10-10 record and a 4.32 ERA. Joe Grahe led the team in saves with 13, but had an ERA of 6.65. One pitcher from that staff is still active, Russ Springer.
The only active playees from the 1994 Yankees team are Williams and Wickman. To be precise, Williams refers to Bernie, but Gerald Williams was on the 1994 team also.
The players would come back to play in 1995 in an abbreviated season. The Yankees ended up making the playoffs as a wildcard, while the Angels blew a big lead late in the year and lost a one-game playoff to Seattle.
Sources: Retrosheet, Baseball-reference.com, Los Angeles Times