- The Washington Times - Wednesday, October 2, 2002

NEW YORK — Bernie Williams and the New York Yankees still had some leftover late-inning magic.

Jason Giambi hit a tying single with two out in the eighth inning and Williams followed with a three-run homer, providing another stunning Yankee Stadium comeback as New York beat the Anaheim Angels 8-5 last night in Game 1 of their best-of-5 American League Division Series.

Showing the dramatics that fueled last year's postseason run to Game 7 of the World Series, the Yankees rallied to win in the eighth inning to spoil the Angels' first postseason game in 16 years.

After Troy Glaus' second homer put Anaheim ahead 5-4 in the top of the eighth, the Yankees took advantage of a questionable decision by Anaheim manager Mike Scioscia.

Ben Weber started the inning and retired the first two batters before walking Alfonso Soriano. With closer Troy Percival warming up, Scioscia stuck with Weber, who walked Derek Jeter.

Scioscia then brought in lefty Scott Schoeneweis, even though Percival had struck out Giambi five times in five career at-bats. Giambi hit a hard one-hopper that deflected off first baseman Scott Spiezio's glove into right field, scoring Soriano with the tying run.

Williams worked the count to 1-2 against Brendan Donnelly and then hit a drive to right field for his 17th career postseason home run, and Yankee Stadium began rocking again as it did last fall.

The thunderous ovation continued as closer Mariano Rivera came in from the bullpen to his heavy metal anthem "Enter Sandman." It was a comforting sight for the Yankees after their most indispensable player spent three stints on the disabled list this season.

Rivera worked through an easy ninth, showing no effects from his blown save in Game 7 of the World Series to Arizona last year. Steve Karsay, who pitched a hitless eighth, was the winner.

The Angels came into the series with one only player with playoff experience. But the shakiest move came from their manager, who was a postseason star with the Los Angeles Dodgers in 1988.

The series was billed as a matchup of Yankees longball against Angels smallball. And the Bronx Bombers came out on top as usual in October.

Giambi homered and drove in three runs in his first playoff game with New York. Newcomer Rondell White and Jeter also homered.

The performances by Giambi and White put to rest questions about how the Yankees would replace postseason stalwarts Paul O'Neill, Tino Martinez and Scott Brosius.

Last year on consecutive nights in the World Series at Yankee Stadium, Martinez and Brosius hit two-out, two-run homers in the ninth that tied it. New York beat Arizona in both games.

The Yankees, in their eighth straight postseason, have played 83 postseason games since Anaheim was last in the playoffs in 1986. The Angels lost that series in seven games to Roger Clemens and the Boston Red Sox.

This time the Angels wore down the Rocket to score four runs in 5-2/3 innings, tying the game on Glaus' first homer leading off the sixth.

Jarrod Washburn controlled his nerves and used four double plays to keep the Yankees in check. He allowed four runs and six hits in seven innings, throwing only 80 pitches, meaning he could be fresh enough to come back on short rest in Game 4 if necessary. He allowed a homer in the first inning to Jeter, who always plays his best in October.

Giambi, who took 21 at-bats to hit his first regular-season homer with the Yankees, made sure he wouldn't be a postseason, free-agent bust like Dave Winfield was in New York.

He made it 3-1 in the fourth with his second career postseason homer. But this one had to feel different. Unlike last year's shot in Game 1 of the Division Series for Oakland, this time the Yankees' fans gave him a standing ovation, prompting a curtain call.

The Angels got to Clemens in the fifth inning, scoring two runs in a 37-pitch half-inning to tie the game 3-3.

The most entertaining moment of the inning came with a runner on first and one out. With Adam Kennedy running on a 1-1 pitch, David Eckstein flung his bat at a pitchout and fouled it off. The bat went out toward Clemens, who looked at it before walking back to the mound as the crowd hooted.

Clemens didn't even attempt to pick up the bat — or throw it — like he did in the 2000 World Series with Mike Piazza at bat for the New York Mets.Then with the bases loaded and two outs, Garret Anderson reached for an outside pitch and flicked it over third baseman Robin Ventura's head for a game-tying, two-run double.

White and Glaus then traded solo homers to make it 4-4.

Notes — Washburn allowed three homers in a game for the first time since Sept.26, 2000, against Oakland. The Angels played 2,527 games between playoff appearances. The Angels tied an AL playoff record by turning four double plays. New York led the AL by grounding into 150 double plays for the year.Clemens' teams are now 1-5 in his six Game 1 postseason starts.

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