MLB Division Series: A Look Back at the 4 Teams to Rally from Down 0-2
With the Division Series in full swing, the Giants and A's are both facing elimination today at the hands of the Reds and Tigers, respectively.
In the history of the wild-card era, which dates back to the 1995 season, only four teams have come back from down 2-0 in the Division Series, so those two teams will have their work cut out for them moving forward.
With that, here''s a look back at the four teams who were able to overcome an early two-game deficit and a game-by-game breakdown of how their series played out.
2003 Boston Red Sox
Boston Red Sox vs. Oakland A's
Just two years after blowing a 2-0 lead over the Yankees in the ALDS, the A's season ended in frustrating fashion once again, this time to the Red Sox.
Game 1 was a duel between aces Pedro Martinez and Tim Hudson, and the A's held a 3-2 lead heading into the seventh inning.
The Red Sox took the lead in the seventh, though, on a two-run home run by Todd Walker off reliever Ricardo Rincon, only to see things tied and sent to extra innings, thanks to an RBI single from Erubiel Durazo with two outs in the bottom of the ninth. A bunt single by catcher Ramon Hernandez proved to be the walk-off winner in the 12th inning.
The second game was much less eventful, as the A's put things away early with a five-run second inning off Tim Wakefield and coasted to a 5-1 victory behind a strong pitching effort from Barry Zito.
Extra innings were played again in Game 3, as Ted Lilly and Derek Lowe battled each other to a 1-1 tie through seven innings, and the bullpens held strong from there. A walk-off two-run home run in the 11th inning by Trot Nixon off Rich Harden kept the Red Sox alive and forced a Game 4.
It was another tight one in Game 4, as the A's held a 4-3 lead entering the bottom of the eighth inning. Closer Keith Foulke came on in the eighth and coughed up the lead, allowing a two-out, two-run double to David Ortiz. Scott Williamson earned the win and closed things out himself in the ninth.
What else but another one-run game in the decisive Game 5, though this one was less dramatic. A four-run top-of-the-sixth by the Red Sox, highlighted by a solo home run from Jason Varitek and a three-run home run from Manny Ramirez off Barry Zito, proved an insurmountable lead for Oakland as they fell 4-3 to be eliminated.
The Red Sox dropped a seven-game series to the Yankees in the ALCS, though the Yankees would fall to the Marlins in the World Series.
2001 New York Yankees
New York Yankees vs. Oakland Athletics
While the Yankees entered their series with the A's as the higher-seeded team, the wild-card A's actually had seven more wins during the season as their 102-60 record made them the second-best team in baseball during the regular season.
Roger Clemens struggled in Game 1, as he lasted just four innings, while A's starter Mark Mulder allowed just one run though 6.2 innings of work, as he left the game with a 3-1 lead.
The A's tacked on two important insurance runs in the top of the eighth, before Tino Martinez made things interesting with a two-run home run in the bottom of the inning. Jason Isringhausen slammed the door in the ninth though to seal a 5-3 win.
Game 2 was all Tim Hudson, as the right-hander outdueled Andy Pettitte, allowing just six hits through eight shutout innings. Pettitte's only mistake was a solo home run to Ron Gant in the fourth inning, but that proved to be enough, and the A's added an unearned run in the top of the ninth before Isringhausen nailed down the save again.
Another pitcher's duel ensued in Game 3 with Barry Zito and Mike Mussina both on top of their games. A solo home run by Jorge Posada in the top of the fifth proved to be the only run of the game.
However, the A's had a chance to tie the game in the bottom of the seventh when Terrence Long doubled with Jeremy Giambi on first base. Attempting to score on the play, Giambi was cut down on a phenomenal cutoff play by Derek Jeter who is simply known now as "The Flip." If Giambi slides, who knows how that game ends.
The Yankees jumped on Cory Lidle in Game 4, building a 7-0 lead after four innings, as they knotted up the series with an eventual 9-2 win, forcing a decisive Game 5.
Mulder and Clemens squared off again, but neither starter made it out of the fifth inning, as the teams were quick to turn things over to their bullpens.
There was no crushing blow by the Yankees, but they scored two runs in the second, one in the third, one in the fourth and one in the sixth and eventually came away with a 5-3 victory on the strength of their bullpen trio of Mike Stanton, Ramiro Mendoza and Mariano Rivera.
The Yankees would go on to lose to the Diamondbacks in a thrilling seven-game World Series.
1999 Boston Red Sox
Boston Red Sox vs. Cleveland Indians
The Red Sox got off to a tough start in the ALDS, as Cy Young winner Pedro Martinez left Game 1 in the bottom of the fifth with a 2-0 lead. Derek Lowe promptly allowed two runs in the sixth inning, and Travis Fryman delivered the walk-off RBI single in the bottom of the ninth for a 3-2 win.
Boston jumped out to a 1-0 lead with a run in the top of the third in Game 2, but the Indians touched up starter Bret Saberhagen and reliever John Wasdin for a combined 11 runs in their half of the third and fourth inning and cruised to an 11-1 victory.
Game 3 was a close one early on, as the Indians score a run in the top of the seventh to tie things up at 3-3. However, the Red Sox exploded for six runs in the bottom of the inning, led by a three-run bomb from Brian Daubach, and came away with a 9-3 victory.
The Red Sox offense then flexed their muscles in Game 4, as things got out of hand quickly with Indians starter Bartolo Colon allowing seven earned runs without recording an out in the second inning. The pitching didn't get any better from there either, and when the dust settled, the Red Sox came away with a football-esque 23-7 victory.
Saberhagen took the ball again to start the decisive Game 5, and he and reliever Lowe allowed a combined eight runs through three innings of work. Luckily, Indians ace Charles Nagy wasn't much better and the Red Sox actually tied things up 8-8 with a run in the top of the fourth.
From there, Boston turned things over to Martinez, and he closed things out with six no-hit innings of relief, striking out eight and walking three to lead the team to a 12-8 victory and a trip to the ALCS, where they'd fall to the Yankees.
1995 Seattle Mariners
Seattle Mariners vs. New York Yankees
Before the 1995 postseason began, the Angels and Mariners had to settle the AL West crown with a one-game playoff, and on the strength of a complete game four-hitter from ace Randy Johnson, the Mariners won that game 9-1
However, that start left Johnson unavailable to start Game 1 of the ALDS, and the Yankees jumped on a tiring Chris Bosio and the Mariners bullpen for seven runs from the sixth inning on to come away with a 9-6 victory.
Game 2 was an exciting one, as it was not decided until the 15th inning on a Jim Leyritz walk-off home run. The Mariners had seemingly won things when Ken Griffey Jr. homered off Yankees closer John Wetteland in his third inning of work in the top of the 12th, but a Ruben Sierra RBI double tied things up in the bottom of the frame, setting up the Leyritz blast.
With their backs against the wall, the Mariners sent Johnson to the mound in Game 3, and he pitched like the ace he was, giving up just two runs on four hits while striking out 10 in seven innings of work. He left the game with a 7-2 lead, and Seattle held on for a 7-4 victory.
Bosio took the ball again in Game 4 and was shelled, giving up five earned runs through two-plus innings of work. He gave way to Jeff Nelson who kept the Mariners in it with four scoreless innings of relief.
A five-run bottom of the eighth, that featured a grand slam by Edgar Martinez and a solo shot by Jay Buhner, gave the Mariners the lead and eventually the game as they won 11-8.
That set up a decisive Game 5, and the Mariners sent Andy Benes to the mound, but it was all hands on deck, and Johnson was available out of the bullpen.
The Yankees held a 4-2 lead though six innings, but the Mariners struck for two runs in the bottom of the eight to tie things up with a Griffey home run and a bases-loaded walk from Doug Strange.
With that, the Mariners turned things over to Johnson entering the ninth, and the game went into extra innings from there. The Yankees took the upper hand when they struck for a run in the top of the 11th on an RBI single from Randy Velarde, but the Mariners had an answer.
Joey Cora and Griffey hit back-to-back singles to open the bottom of the frame, before Martinez hit what is now known simply as "The Double," with Griffey racing around from first to score the deciding run and send the Mariners to the ALCS where they fell to the Indians 4-2.