Game 5 of the 1995 LDS was one of the greatest moments in Mariner history.
When baseball expanded to three divisions in 1994, they added a fourth playoff team in each league via the Wild Card. The first "modern" division series in 1995, thanks to the cancellation of the end of the 1994 season, produced one of the most dramatic five game series in baseball history.
In 1995 the New York Yankees had not reached the playoffs in 14 seasons; the team's longest drought since they became the New York Yankees in 1913. The Seattle Mariners had never approached the playoffs in their 18-year history.
Despite two home runs from Ken Griffey Jr., the Yankees took Game 1.
Game 2 was a 15 inning, five hour marathon, notable for a number of events.
Andy Pettitte pitched seven innings in his first postseason start.
Griffey gave the Mariners the lead with a home run in the top of the 12th. The Yankees tied it in the bottom of the 12th on a Ruben Sierra double which also saw Bernie Williams get thrown out at the plate on what would have been the winning run.
An unheralded rookie named Mariano Rivera pitched 3.1 innings of scoreless relief. Rivera got the win, when backup catcher Jim Leyritz hit a two-run home run off of Tim Belcher in the bottom of the 15th.
Two former AL Cy Young award winners, Jack McDowell and Randy Johnson, faced off in Game 3, the first game in Seattle. Johnson, while not dominant, pitched well enough to help the Mariners to a 7-4 victory. Mariner first baseman Tino Martinez went 3 for 4 with a home run and three RBI.
The Yankees jumped out to a 5-0 lead in Game 4. Edgar Martinez's three-run shot made it 5-4 in the third inning and a Dan Wilson single tied the game in the fifth. Another home run by Griffey gave the M's the lead in the bottom of the 7th.
The Yankees quickly rallied to tie the game in the top of the eighth.
Yankee closer John Wetteland then loaded the bases to start the bottom of the eighth. Edgar Martinez proceeded to hit a grand slam and break the game wide open. Martinez finished 3 for 4 with the two home runs and seven RBI.
Game 5 was a classic.
The Yankees led early, first 1-0 and then 4-1 entering the bottom of the eighth inning. Yankee starter David Cone had thrown 120 pitches entering the 8th inning, but because the Yankee bullpen was so depleted from the Game 2 marathon and the blowout the night before, manager Buck Showalter stuck with Cone.
After retiring the first hitter, Cone allowed Griffey's fifth home run of the series. Cone remained in the game. After recording an out, he walked Tino Martinez and allowed a single to Jay Buhner. The Mariners' much-heralded first-round draft pick and later 1995 September call-up, Alex Rodriguez then pinch-hit. Rodriquez drew a walk in what was his only plate appearance of the series. The bases were loaded. Cone still remained in the game.
Doug Strange was now the hitter. Strange took a 3-2 change-up on the outside of the plate for ball four. The game was tied. David Cone had thrown 147 pitches. He was removed from the game for Mariano Rivera who struck out the next batter for the third out.
The Yankees got their first two runners on in the top of the ninth. Randy Johnson entered the game in relief. Johnson retired the side and the game stayed knotted at four until the top of the 11th inning.
After a walk and a sacrifice, Randy Velarde put the Yankees ahead with a single.
Out of pitchers, the Yankees were forced to stick with Game 3 starter Jack McDowell in relief.
The Mariners started the bottom of the 11th with two straight singles from Joey Cora and Griffey. Edgar Martinez than lined a 0-1 pitch into the left field corner. Cora scored easily. Griffey hustled home from second, beating the throw by Gerald Williams. The Mariners had come back to win the game and the series.
It was an amazing accomplishment for the Mariners. They had trailed in every game they had won, including after the seventh inning in the last two.
Ken Griffey and Edgar Martinez had two of the finest post season stat lines ever seen.
Griffey was 9 for 23 with 9 runs, 5 home runs and a 1.488 OPS. Edgar Martinez was 12 for 21 (.571) with 10 RBI and a 1.667 OPS. Tino Martinez hit .409 and former Yankee farmhand Jay Buhner hit .458.
The Mariners lost to the Cleveland Indians in the ALCS.