10/05/2002 9:51 pm ET
It will be forever etched: The inning
Bust-out frame may have been the end to The Curse
By Doug Miller / MLB.com
ANAHEIM, Calif. -- Maybe years down the road, when Angels fans ponder the history of their team, they'll forget for one minute about the misery brought on by Dave Henderson.
They'll let the year 1995 just roll by without even a sneer.
They'll look up at the sky and maybe even smile while thinking of Donnie Moore.
One thing's certain: They'll never forget The Inning.
Angels fans, conditioned to practically Pavlovian pessimism, convinced of a curse, reduced a packed Edison Field to a library-like hush Saturday.
The Yankees led Game 4 of the American League Division Series, 2-1, going into the bottom of the fifth inning.
David Wells was cruising through their lineup with a low pitch count, and the team charter was probably rolling from the hangar out to the tarmac.
"Start spreading the news," thought Angels fans. "They're leaving today."
Leaving for a certain Game 5 showdown in a Yankee Stadium packed like a 56,000-seat subway car of adrenaline.
Leaving their plucky, unlikely season behind in another one-and-out playoff series scenario.
Then came The Inning.
Shawn Wooten led off by hammering a Wells offering over the center-field wall to tie it at 2-2 and wake up the crowd.
"I got to 2-and-0, I saw a good pitch to hit, and I put a good swing on it," Wooten said. "I guess that kind of got things rolling."
Indeed. After Bengie Molina flew out to right, the barrage began.
Benji Gil singled to center, David Eckstein singled to right, Darin Erstad blooped a single to center, Tim Salmon singled to left-center, Garret Anderson singled to right, and all of a sudden the Angels led, 5-2.
There was a brief pause in the avalanche while Troy Glaus flied out to right, and then the roll continued.
Scott Spiezio singled, the Yankees took out Wells and put in Ramiro Mendoza, Wooten singled and Molina doubled.
The Angels led, 9-2, and the American League Division Series was, for all intents and purposes, over. The curse had been lifted. For the first time in their history, the Angels had advanced in the playoffs.
The Angels scored eight runs and banged out 10 hits before the Yankees could get three outs.
"It's kind of been the club all year long," Salmon said. "That's been the trademark of this club. A guy gets on base, a base hit, first and third. Before you know it, I mean, it was like every time there's a hit, it was first and third. We've had innings like that where things kind of come together. It was just awesome."
That seemed to be the operative word.
"It was awesome to be a part of it," Gil said. "We started the inning just saying we needed focus, having just gone down, 2-1. We knew once Woot hit that ball and the game was tied that if we could get something going, this could be a huge inning."
Gil didn't realize how huge it was. It was the first time a team got 10 hits in a postseason inning since the Philadelphia A's accomplished the feat in Game 4 of the 1929 World Series.
The Angels also set ALDS records for most batters and at-bats in one inning (13), most singles in one inning (eight), and most runs in an inning (eight). It was the first time the Angels recorded 10 hits in an inning this year.
So what do they do for an encore?
Get back to work, according to drenched-in-champagne closer Troy Percival.
"We're ready to move on, whether it's Oakland or Minnesota," Percival said. "You've got two very tough teams ahead of us. I think our celebration will be over here in about 30, 40 minutes. The guys are already starting to focus in on the next series."
But they'll never forget The Inning.
Doug Miller is a reporter for MLB.com and can be reached at email@example.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.