1997: The Yankees and Braves meet again!
The first year of interleague play gave the Yankees and Braves a chance for a rematch after their World Series classic the year before as New York hosted a three-game set against Atlanta at Yankee Stadium. The pitching matchup for the first game of the series was a battle between two elite southpaws in Andy Pettitte and Tom Glavine. It was a classic duel with both pitchers tossing up zeroes for four innings.
There was a scary moment in the top of the fifth when Andy Pettitte was struck hard on the calf by a Javy Lopez comebacker. Pettitte stayed in the game to get Mike Mordecai to ground into a double play to end the inning, but after throwing four warm-up pitches in the sixth inning, Joe Torre decided to take Pettitte out of the game and bring in Kenny Rogers. Rogers picked things up where Pettitte had left off, blanking the Braves and matching Glavine zero for zero. Glavine, despite allowing 12 hits to the Yankees over nine innings, never allowed them to score, but he was pulled after the ninth with 128 pitches thrown. Mike Bielecki relieved him. Rogers also pitched shutout baseball for four innings after coming in for Pettitte, but Joe Torre decided to go with former Braves reliever Mike Stanton to start the 10th inning.
Stanton struck out the first two Braves batters he faced, then allowed a single to Jeff Blauser and hit Michael Tucker with a pitch, which brought Chipper Jones to the plate. Chipper worked the count full but grounded out to third to end the inning.
Mike Bielecki started the bottom of the 10th by striking out Mark Whiten. He then allowed back-to-back singles to Chad Curtis and Joe Girardi, but Curtis was thrown out trying to get to third. Derek Jeter singled next, but Girardi only moved up to second. Luis Sojo then singled up the middle for the Yankees' fourth straight hit, scoring Girardi for the walk-off win. It was the first extra-inning 1-0 win for the Yankees since 1993 and their first 1-0 walk-off win in extra innings since 1976.
1977: Cliff notes - Johnson has historic game vs. Jays
Cliff Johnson had been acquired in a trade with the Astros just two weeks earlier to address the Yankees’ need for a right-handed power bat. He had gotten off to a slow start with the Yankees since he was largely only starting against left-handers and pinch-hitting, but in a start against the Blue Jays on the road, his bat came alive and he made a little history in the process.
The Blue Jays had rookie southpaw Jerry Garvin on the mound and in Johnson’s first plate appearance against him in the second inning, Garvin hit him. Johnson got his revenge when he led off the fourth inning by taking Garvin deep. Garvin walked Johnson in the sixth. It had been a largely quiet game to that point with Garvin and Catfish Hunter dueling to a 2-1 score through seven innings.
That all changed in top of the eighth. Johnson led off the inning by taking Garvin deep for a second time. Lou Piniella followed a batter later with a home run of his own. After a Graig Nettles single, Garvin got pulled for Jerry Johnson who restored order for one batter by getting Bucky Dent to fly out. Johnson then gave up six consecutive hits. Willie Randolph and Mickey Rivers singled, scoring Nettles. Thurman Munson then cleared the bases with a three-run blast. Chris Chambliss doubled. Cliff Johnson then took Jerry Johnson deep for his second homer of the inning and third of the game to cap the Bombers’ eight-run inning.
With that homer, Johnson became the third Yankee in team history to hit two home runs in an inning, joining Joe DiMaggio (1936) and Joe Pepitone (1962). He was also the 12th Yankees player to hit three home runs in a game. Surprisingly, it was the first time in team history that the Yankees hit four home runs in an inning.