Indians defeat Yankees
3 games to 2
|Game||Date||Winning Team||Losing Team|
|1||Sep. 30||NYY 8||CLE 6|
|2||Oct. 2||CLE 7||NYY 5|
|3||Oct. 4||NYY 6||CLE 1|
|4||Oct. 5||CLE 3||NYY 2|
|5||Oct. 6||CLE 4||NYY 3|
Managers: Hargrove, Mike, CLE; Torre, Joe, NYY
Path to the ALDS: Cleveland (86-75) won the AL Central by six games; New York (96-66) won the AL Wild Card
New York was the Wild Card for the second time in the first three years of the new postseason format, and for the second time, it lost in five to a division champ that had a lower regular-season winning percentage. This time it was Cleveland that eliminated the reigning world champions, and it would create the only void in a five-year span that featured four New York parades.
A new closer had been anointed in 1997 by the Yankees, and it would be the start of an unmatched career in relief. Mariano Rivera, a third-year right-hander from Panama, saved 43 games during the regular season and appeared in his first of 13 All-Star Games. In Game 1 at Yankee Stadium, Tim Raines, Derek Jeter and Paul O'Neill hit back-to-back-to-back jacks in a big five-run fifth, as New York wiped out a 6-1 Cleveland lead and handed over an 8-6 lead to Rivera with two out in the eighth.
That was Rivera's first of a record 42 (his number) postseason saves. Unfortunately for the Bronx Bombers, it also was his last save of the entire series, as a rare blown save -- his next one would come famously in 2001 -- would prove costly in Game 4. With champagne on ice in the Yankees' clubhouse at Jacobs Field, Rivera came out of the bullpen to protect a 2-1 Yankee lead with one out in the eighth. Matt Williams flied to right for the second out, and then Sandy Alomar took Rivera deep to right on a 2-0 pitch to tie the score. That blown save set the stage for Omar Vizquel's walk-off single in the ninth that ricocheted off pitcher Ramiro Mendoza's glove and into left field, scoring Marquis Grissom to force a Game 5.
In the decisive game, Jaret Wright got the best of Andy Pettitte for the second straight time in the series, sending Cleveland into the ALCS against Baltimore on the way to a trip back to the World Series.