1997 American League Division Series
The 1997 American League Division Series (ALDS), the opening round of the 1997 American League playoffs, began on Tuesday, September 30, and ended on Monday, October 6, with the champions of the three AL divisions—along with a "wild card" team—participating in two best-of-five series. The teams were:
- (1) Baltimore Orioles (Eastern Division champion, 98–64) vs. (3) Seattle Mariners (Western Division champion, 90–72): Orioles win series, 3–1.
- (2) Cleveland Indians (Central Division champion, 86–75) vs. (4) New York Yankees (Wild Card, 96–66): Indians win series, 3–2.
The higher seed (in parentheses) had the home field advantage, which was not tied to playing record but was predetermined—a highly unpopular arrangement which was discontinued after the conclusion of the 1997 playoffs. Also, the team with home field advantage was required to play the first two games on the road, with potentially the last three at home, in order to reduce travel. The Orioles played the Mariners, rather than the wild card Yankees, because the Orioles and Yankees are in the same division. Had the 1997 ALDS been played under the post-1997 arrangement, then Baltimore (1) would have faced off against Cleveland (3) and New York (4) would have faced off against Seattle (2).
The Baltimore Orioles and Cleveland Indians went on to meet in the AL Championship Series (ALCS). The Indians became the American League champion, and lost to the National League champion Florida Marlins in the 1997 World Series.
Baltimore won the series, 3–1.
|1||October 1||Baltimore Orioles – 9, Seattle Mariners – 3||Kingdome||3:14||59,5791|
|2||October 2||Baltimore Orioles – 9, Seattle Mariners – 3||Kingdome||3:25||59,3092|
|3||October 4||Seattle Mariners – 4, Baltimore Orioles – 2||Oriole Park at Camden Yards||3:26||49,1373|
|4||October 5||Seattle Mariners – 1, Baltimore Orioles – 3||Oriole Park at Camden Yards||2:42||48,7664|
Cleveland won the series, 3–2.
|1||September 30||Cleveland Indians – 6, New York Yankees – 8||Yankee Stadium (I)||3:28||57,3985|
|2||October 2||Cleveland Indians – 7, New York Yankees – 5||Yankee Stadium (I)||3:32||57,3606|
|3||October 4||New York Yankees – 6, Cleveland Indians – 1||Jacobs Field||2:59||45,2747|
|4||October 5||New York Yankees – 2, Cleveland Indians – 3||Jacobs Field||3:22||45,2318|
|5||October 6||New York Yankees – 3, Cleveland Indians – 4||Jacobs Field||3:29||45,2039|
|WP: Mike Mussina (1–0) LP: Randy Johnson (0–1)
BAL: Gerónimo Berroa (1), Chris Hoiles (1)
SEA: Edgar Martínez (1), Jay Buhner (1), Alex Rodriguez (1)
The Orioles had gone wire-to-wire and the Mariners had won the AL West for the second time in the decade. In Game 1, both teams had their best on the mound: Mike Mussina for the Orioles and Randy Johnson for the Mariners. The game was scoreless until Mike Bordick hit the go-ahead RBI double for the Orioles in the third. But Edgar Martínez's homer tied the game in the fourth. In the fifth the Orioles looked to put the game away. They would score four runs two RBI singles by Brady Anderson and Eric Davis and a homer by Gerónimo Berroa. In the sixth, the Orioles would score four more runs on a rally capped by B.J. Surhoff's two-run double. The Orioles appeared to be the better team as they rolled to a 9–3 win. The Mariners would get their final two runs on solo homers by Jay Buhner and Alex Rodriguez in the seventh and ninth, respectively.
|WP: Scott Erickson (1–0) LP: Jamie Moyer (0–1)
BAL: Harold Baines (1), Brady Anderson (1)
Scott Erickson faced Jamie Moyer in Game 2 and the situation cried for a Mariner victory. In the bottom of the first, the Mariners got two cheap runs on two groundouts. But Harold Baines homered to make it a one-run game in the second and in the fifth the Mariners began to fall apart. After Moyer got two quick outs, he surrendered a walk and a single. Moyer then left the game with a strained flexor in his left elbow. But Roberto Alomar would double in the tying and go-ahead runs with two outs to give the Orioles a 3–2 lead. In the seventh, Brady Anderson's two-run homer silenced the crowd and gave the Orioles a commanding 5–2 lead. The Mariners would get a run in the seventh to close the gap but the Orioles would widen the gap in the eighth. A bases loaded walk signaled a four-run rally that put the game away. Mike Bordick had a two-run single and Anderson had another RBI hit. It was now 9–3 and the Orioles would cruise to another victory. The Mariners had lost the first two games at home and appeared destined for defeat.
|WP: Jeff Fassero (1–0) LP: Jimmy Key (0–1)
SEA: Jay Buhner (2), Paul Sorrento (1)
In a must-win game for the Mariners, Jeff Fassero took the mound against Jimmy Key, who was looking to end the series. In the third, Roberto Kelly hit the go-ahead RBI double for the Mariners. In the fifth, Ken Griffey, Jr. drove in a run with a base hit to make it 2–0 Mariners. The score remained 2–0 and Fassero had shut the Orioles out through eight innings. In the ninth, Jay Buhner and Paul Sorrento hit one-out back-to-back homers to give the Mariners a 4–0 ninth inning lead. These would turn out to be the deciding runs as the Orioles rallied in the bottom half. Jeffrey Hammonds's two-out, two-run double put the tying run at the plate in the person of Harold Baines. But Baines would pop out to ensure a Game 4.
|WP: Mike Mussina (2–0) LP: Randy Johnson (0–2) Sv: Randy Myers (1)
SEA: Edgar Martínez (2)
BAL: Jeff Reboulet (1), Gerónimo Berroa (2)
Randy Johnson and Mike Mussina redueled in the potential clincher. In the bottom of the first, Johnson gave up a solo homer to Jeff Reboulet and an RBI single to Cal Ripken, Jr. But Edgar Martínez would homer in the second to make it a one-run game. However, Gerónimo Berroa's solo homer in the fifth gave the Orioles a two-run edge. Mussina and Johnson dueled on even terms until Mussina was pulled in the eighth in favor of Armando Benítez. The Orioles' bullpen managed to hang on to a 3–1 clinching victory that put the Orioles back in the ALCS for the second straight year.
As of 2012[update], this is the most recent playoff series won by the Orioles. They returned to the postseason in 2012, winning the Wild Card Game but losing in the ALDS.
|Total attendance: 216,791 Average attendance: 54,198|
|WP: Ramiro Mendoza (1–0) LP: Eric Plunk (0–1) Sv: Mariano Rivera (1)
CLE: Sandy Alomar, Jr. (1)
NYY: Tino Martinez (1), Tim Raines (1), Derek Jeter (1), Paul O'Neill (1)
Game 1 saw a matchup of Orel Hershiser and David Cone. The Indians made their presence felt in the top of the first when they struck for five runs. The inning was capped by Sandy Alomar, Jr.'s three-run homer, the first of his nineteen RBIs in the 1997 postseason. The Yankees would scratch out a run in the second but the Indians made it 6–1 when Marquis Grissom scored on a Bip Roberts base hit in the fourth. The Yankees began their comeback by getting a run in both the fourth and fifth innings to cut the lead to three. Finally, in the sixth, the Yankees completed a five-run comeback by getting five runs. Tim Raines, Derek Jeter, and Paul O'Neill hit three straight homers to give the Yankees an 8–6 edge. It was a lead the Yankee bullpen would not squander. Mariano Rivera got the save in the ninth. Having seen a five-run lead disappear, the Indians appeared demoralized.
|WP: Jaret Wright (1–0) LP: Andy Pettitte (0–1)
CLE: Matt Williams (1)
NYY: Derek Jeter (2)
The seemingly overmatched Jaret Wright faced Andy Pettitte in Game 2. The Yankees jumped out to a 3–0 first inning lead on a two-run double by Tino Martinez and a sac fly by Charlie Hayes. All hope appeared lost for the Indians against the defending World Champions. But the Indians mustered a five-run rally with two out in the fourth with four straight RBI hits. And when Matt Williams hit a two-run homer in the fifth it sent the spirit of the Yankees plummeting. The Yankees would get runs in the eighth and ninth against José Mesa but the lead would stand and the series was tied at a game apiece.
|WP: David Wells (1–0) LP: Charles Nagy (0–1)
NYY: Paul O'Neill (2)
David Wells faced Charles Nagy in Game 3. An error by Nagy gave Wells a 1–0 lead in the first. But the Indians would tie the game in the second on a forceout. Derek Jeter would help give the Yankees the lead in the third when he walked, stole second, and scored on Tino Martinez's RBI hit. In the fourth, Paul O'Neill hit a grand slam that gave the Yankees a commanding 6–1 lead and silenced the Jacobs Field crowd. Rain was a constant throughout the game and the rain fell on the Indians' parade as the Yankees took a 2–1 series lead.
|WP: Mike Jackson (1–0) LP: Ramiro Mendoza (1–1)
CLE: David Justice (1), Sandy Alomar, Jr. (2)
Game 4 proved memorable as two veteran starters, Dwight Gooden and Orel Hershiser, battled back and forth. The Yankees jumped out to a 2–0 lead in the first on an RBI double by Paul O'Neill and an RBI single by Cecil Fielder. This would be all the Yankees could muster off Hershiser, whose postseason legend continued to improve. A solo homer in the second by David Justice cut that 2–0 in half and gave the Indians cause for hope. However, Gooden and the Yankees bullpen kept the Indians scoreless until the bottom of the eighth. With two outs and Mariano Rivera on the mound, the Indians looked finished. Having posted 43 saves during the regular season, Rivera appeared to be the executioner. But Sandy Alomar, Jr. homered to tie the game and that homer gave birth to his postseason legacy in 1997. This would be Rivera's only blown save in the playoffs until 2001. In the ninth, Marquis Grissom singled to lead off the inning. A bunt moved him to second and Omar Vizquel hit a single off reliever Ramiro Mendoza that rolled past Derek Jeter to the outfield grass. That allowed Grissom to score the game-winning run.
|WP: Jaret Wright (2–0) LP: Andy Pettitte (0–2) Sv: José Mesa (1)|
With the momentum on their side, the Indians looked to finish off the defending champs. Andy Pettitte and Jaret Wright once again faced off. The Indians would take a 3–0 lead in the third thanks to back-to-back two-out hits by Manny Ramírez and Matt Williams. Then a sac fly by Tony Fernández in the fourth made it 4–0. But the Yankees gave the Indians cause to pause in the fifth when an error by Ramírez cut the lead in half. Then Wade Boggs's pinch hit RBI single made it a one-run game in the sixth. The score remained 4–3 and the Yankees blew multiple chances to take the lead. The Indians also had their share of chances to put the series away. The frustration mounted in the ninth when Paul O'Neill's two-out double gave Bernie Williams a chance to hit the go-ahead homer off José Mesa. But Mesa got Williams to fly out (a fairly deep fly ball) to Brian Giles to end the series and ensure a new World Champion in 1997.
|New York Yankees||6||1||1||5||3||6||0||1||1||24||43||4|
|Total attendance: 250,466 Average attendance: 50,093|
- "1997 ALDS - Baltimore Orioles vs. Seattle Mariners - Game 1". Retrosheet. Retrieved 2009-09-13.
- "1997 ALDS - Baltimore Orioles vs. Seattle Mariners - Game 2". Retrosheet. Retrieved 2009-09-13.
- "1997 ALDS - Seattle Mariners vs. Baltimore Orioles - Game 3". Retrosheet. Retrieved 2009-09-13.
- "1997 ALDS - Seattle Mariners vs. Baltimore Orioles - Game 4". Retrosheet. Retrieved 2009-09-13.
- "1997 ALDS - Cleveland Indians vs. New York Yankees - Game 1". Retrosheet. Retrieved 2009-09-13.
- "1997 ALDS - Cleveland Indians vs. New York Yankees - Game 2". Retrosheet. Retrieved 2009-09-13.
- "1997 ALDS - New York Yankees vs. Cleveland Indians - Game 3". Retrosheet. Retrieved 2009-09-13.
- "1997 ALDS - New York Yankees vs. Cleveland Indians - Game 4". Retrosheet. Retrieved 2009-09-13.
- "1997 ALDS - New York Yankees vs. Cleveland Indians - Game 5". Retrosheet. Retrieved 2009-09-13.