- 1989 American League Championship Series
alcs = yes
year = 1989
Tony La Russa
champion_games = 99-63, .611, GA: 7
Toronto Blue Jays(1)
runnerup_games = 89-73, .549, GA: 2
October 3– October 8
Bob Costasand Tony Kubek
radio_network = CBS Radio
Dave Phillips, Dan Morrison, Dale Ford, Derryl Cousins, Steve Palermo, Rick ReedThe by|1989 American League Championship Serieswas played between the Oakland Athleticsand the Toronto Blue Jaysfrom October 3to October 8. A dominant Oakland team took the Series 4 games to 1, en route to a sweep of their cross-bay rivals, the San Francisco Giants, in a World Series marred by the destructive Loma Prieta earthquake.
The Athletics finished the 1989 regular season as the best overall team in baseball, with a 99-63 record (.611). They easily won the
American League Westdivision title by seven games over the Kansas City Royals. The Blue Jays finished the 1989 regular season with an 89-73 record (.549). However, their winning of the American League Eastdivision title was by a much narrower margin: only two games over the Baltimore Orioles.
The ALCS began with Games 1 and 2 being played at the
Oakland-Alameda County Coliseum, with the Athletics winning both. The Series then shifted to the SkyDomein Toronto, where the Blue Jays managed a win in Game 3 before losing Games 4 and 5 to Oakland. Athletics ace Dave Stewart earned two wins (in Games 1 and 5), while closer Dennis Eckersleysaved three games (Games 2, 4, and 5) to send Oakland to the World Series.
Athletics left fielder
Rickey Hendersonwas named the ALCS MVP. During the Series, Henderson had doubled, tripled, hit two home runs (in Game 4), and knocked in five runs batted in.
Toronto Blue Jays vs. Oakland Athletics
Oakland wins the series, 4-1
October 3, 1989at Oakland-Alameda County Coliseum in Oakland, CaliforniaLinescore
WP=Dave Stewart (1-0)|LP=
Ernie Whitt(1)|HomeHR= Dave Henderson(1), Mark McGwire(1)|
The A's went off as heavy favorites largely due to their status as defending American League champions. The Blue Jays had been in second place much of the year before catching and passing the Baltimore Orioles on the final weekend of the season. Both teams threw their aces against each other, as Dave Stewart, the twenty-game winner, took the mound for Oakland against
Dave Stiebfor Toronto.
In the bottom of the first,
Rickey Hendersonset the tone by walking and stealing second. Although he was stranded at third, it was a mere prelude of what was to come. In the top of the second, George Bell singled and went to third on a single by Tony Fernández. Fernandez stole second, and Bell scored on a sacrifice fly by Ernie Whitt. Nelson Lirianothen singled home Fernandez to give the Jays a 2-0 lead. In the bottom half of the inning, Dave Hendersonhomered to cut the lead in half, but in the top of the fourth, Whitt drove in his second run of the game with a solo homer that gave the Blue Jays a 3-1 lead. In the fifth, Carney Lansfordsingled and stole second on a José Cansecostrikeout. He came home on Dave Parker's single to make it 3-2. The game then turned in the bottom of the sixth. Mark McGwiretied the game with a solo homer to lead off the bottom of the sixth. Then, after Tony Phillipsreached with one out, Blue Jays manager Cito Gastonpulled Stieb and replaced him with the recently acquired Jim Acker. Phillips stole second and stayed on an infield single by Mike Gallego, and Acker then hit Rickey Henderson with a pitch to load the bases with one out. Needing a double play to get out of the inning, Acker did his job by inducing Carney Lansfordto ground to Fernandez. He got the first out by firing to Liriano at second, but Rickey Henderson upended Liriano, who threw the ball into the stands, scoring both Phillips and Gallego to give the A's their first lead of the game, 5-3.
It stayed that way until the bottom of the eighth, when Blue Jays reliever
Duane Wardreplaced Acker. After striking out Terry Steinbach, Ward walked Phillips. Gallego hit a double in the gap, but a perfect relay nailed Phillips at the plate for the second out while Gallego moved to third. Rickey Henderson then walked and stole second, and Gallego scored on a wild pitch by Ward. On the wild pitch, Henderson moved to third and subsequently scored on Lansford's single. The game was now out of reach, 7-3, as the A's prevailed to take Game 1. Henderson walked twice and reached as a hit batsman, stole two bases, and scored a run. Stewart got the win while Stieb was saddled with the loss.
October 4, 1989at Oakland-Alameda County Coliseum in Oakland, CaliforniaLinescore
WP=Mike Moore (1-0)|LP=
Todd Stottlemyre(0-1)|SV= Dennis Eckersley(1)
Game 2 saw the A's throw their number two starter, Mike Moore, against the Blue Jays'
Todd Stottlemyre. All was quiet until the top of the third when the Blue Jays' Lloyd Mosebyscored after singling, moving to second on a single and third on an error and coming home on a fielder's choice ground out to make it 1-0. The A's captured the lead in the bottom of the fourth with the 'Rickey Rally,' a familiar run-scoring method of bygone years. Rickey Hendersonsingled, stole second and then third, and came home on Carney Lansford's single to tie the game. Lansford then scored on Mark McGwire's double to give the A's a 2-1 lead. The game stayed close until the sixth.
In the bottom of the sixth,
Dave Parkerled off with a home run. After McGwire singled, Cito Gastonpulled Stottlemyre in favor of Jim Acker. Acker then gave up a double to Dave Hendersonand a single to Tony Phillipsthat scored two more runs and made it a 5-1 Oakland lead. Gaston pulled Acker and replaced him with David Wells, who got the final two outs of the inning, but the game was for all intents and purposes over.
Another 'Rickey Rally' ensued in the seventh when Henderson walked, stole second, stole third, and scored on an error by
Fred McGriff. The steal of third elicited a reaction from Blue Jays third baseman Kelly Gruberwhen Henderson walked the last several steps to the base because the catcher didn't throw. Gruber accused Henderson of showing up the Blue Jays in the post-game interview. Henderson's run made it 6-1 Oakland.
The Blue Jays put together a mini-rally in the eighth when they loaded the bases against
Rick Honeycuttwith nobody out and A.L. home run champion Fred McGriffat the plate. The A's countered by bringing in Dennis Eckersley, who minimized the damage by yielding a one-run single to McGriff and then giving up another run on a double play. Eckersley retired the Jays in order in the ninth, and the A's won 6-3 to go up two games to none in the series. Moore was the winning pitcher, Stottlemyre the loser, and Eckersley got his fifth save in his last five chances in the ALCS dating back to 1988.
October 6, 1989at SkyDome in Toronto, OntarioLinescore
Jimmy Key(1-0)|LP= Storm Davis(0-1)|SV=
The two teams arrived in Canada for the first-ever post-season game in the new Toronto Skydome. The A's were looking to take a commanding 3-0 series lead while the Blue Jays needed a win to get back into the series. The game pitted
Storm Davisagainst Blue Jays starter Jimmy Key. As was the case in the first two games, the team that scored first lost.
The A's scored in the top of the first without benefit of a hit. Key walked both Rickey Henderson and Carney Lansford. Henderson moved up on Canseco's fly out and scored on McGwire's sacrifice fly to give the A's a 1-0 lead. In the third, Henderson continued his series dominance by doubling, stealing third (his seventh steal of the series in just 21 innings), and scoring on a Lansford single to give the A's a 2-0 lead. When
Dave Parkerhomered in the fourth, the A's had a 3-0 lead to go with their series momentum.
But the Blue Jays responded in the bottom of the fourth. They loaded the bases on a walk to Moseby and singles by
Mookie Wilsonand Fred McGriff. George Bell hit a sacrifice fly to center to score Moseby and cut the lead to 3-1. Tony Fernándezthen doubled to right, sending Wilson and McGriff home with the tying runs. Fernandez also moved to third when Canseco misplayed the ball in right field. When Ernie Whittsingled, Fernandez scored to give the Jays the lead and bring the crowd back into the game cheering wildly.
The score stayed 4-3 until the bottom of the seventh. With one out and runners at first and third,
Tony LaRussapulled Davis and inserted Rick Honeycutt. Honeycutt's relief appearance in game two had been disastrous; this time, it was worse and cost the A's any chance to win. Honeycutt gave up singles to two light-hitting Blue Jays, Manuel Leeand Junior Felix, scoring Tony Fernándezand loading the bases with only one out. A walk to Lloyd Mosebyforced in another run giving the Jays a 6-3 lead. Of the last six hitters Honeycutt had faced in the two games he had walked three and given up three hits and three had scored. Gene Nelsonrelieved Honeycutt and gave up a single to right by Wilson that scored Lee, but a great throw from Canseco nailed Felix at the plate. Nevertheless, the Blue Jays now had a 7-3 lead with two innings to play.
In the last two innings, Acker and closer
Tom Henkeonly faced seven batters, getting six outs and giving up a walk to McGwire. The last out was, appropriately enough, Rickey Henderson, who grounded out to Fernandez to end the game. The win by the Blue Jays was their first post-season win since game four of the 1985 ALCS. Prior to this game, they had lost their previous five contests in LCS play. Key was the winning pitcher while Storm Davis was the loser. The result cut the A's series lead to two games to one in the best-of-seven series.
October 7, 1989at SkyDome in Toronto, OntarioLinescore
WP=Bob Welch (1-0)|LP=Mike Flanagan (0-1)|SV=
Rickey Henderson2 (2), José Canseco(1)|HomeHR=|
Game 4 was a critical game for both teams. Toronto could guarantee a return of the series to Oakland with a win while the A's would gain a significant lead of three games to one if they prevailed. The match-up featured a former Cy Young winner, Mike Flanagan (1979) against a future one (1990), Bob Welch.
The game was scoreless until the third when
Walt Weissdoubled and stole third. Rickey Henderson, who was 3 for 8 with four walks, five runs scored, and seven stolen bases, drilled a two-run homer to give the A's a 2-0 lead. After Flanagan retired Dave Henderson, José Cansecosecured the most memorable moment of the series by socking the first home run ever hit into the fifth-tier upper deck of the SkyDome. The Toronto crowd sat in stunned silence as Canseco circled the bases, and while there were whispers of a 500-foot blast, the official measurement was 480 feet. Canseco's home run gave the A's a 3-0 lead and also likely gave Toronto fans a measure of comfort, since the team scoring first had lost each of the first three games.
The Blue Jays got a run back in the fourth, but it was disappointing because they loaded the bases with nobody out and only scored once. In the top of the fifth, however,
Rickey Hendersonstruck again with another two-run blast that increased the A's lead to 5-1. By this time Henderson was hitting .500 for the series with two homers to go along with his other accomplishments. The Jays got a run back in the sixth when Gruber singled and scored on a double by Junior Felix. Tony LaRussagambled with Honeycutt, who had retired no batters out of the last six he had faced over two games. After walking Lloyd Moseby, Honeycutt induced a ground out that left the score 5-2 in favor of the A's.
The A's got another run in the seventh when
Dave Hendersondoubled and scored on José Canseco's single. The Blue Jays got that run back in the bottom of the inning when Tony Fernándezdoubled and scored on pinch-hitter Pat Borders' single. Rick Honeycuttran into trouble in the eighth. Manny Lee singled and went to second on a ground out by Junior Felix. Honeycutt walked Moseby, bringing the tying run to the plate in the person of Mookie Wilson. With two on and one out, LaRussa summoned his closer, Dennis Eckersley. Eck induced a fielder's choice ground out by Wilson that scored Lee then faced 1989 home run champion Fred McGriff, who had not hit a homer in over a month. McGriff won the battle, lining a single to center field that scored Wilson, but when Eckersley got George Bell to pop up for the third out, the A's still led by one with just an inning to play.
In the bottom of the ninth, Eckersley gave up a single to
Kelly Gruberbut otherwise retired the side, getting pinch-hitter [http://www.baseball-reference.com/m/mazzile01.shtml Lee Mazilli] to pop out to end the game. Welch got the win and Eckersley the save while Flanagan was saddled with the loss. Despite a noble comeback effort, the Blue Jays now trailed three games to one and would need to win the final two games on the road in order to reach the Fall Classic.
October 8, 1989at SkyDome in Toronto, OntarioLinescore
WP=Dave Stewart (2-0)|LP=
Dave Stieb(0-2)|SV= Dennis Eckersley(3)
Lloyd Moseby(1), George Bell (1)|
Game 5 was the mirror image of Game 4: an early A's lead and a Blue Jays comeback that fell just short of victory. The end result was a 4-3 win for the A's and a return trip to the Fall Classic to face their Bay Area neighbors, the
San Francisco Giants. The game was also a rematch of Game One aces Dave Stewart for Oakland and Dave Stiebfor Toronto.
Once again, it was
Rickey Hendersoncreating havoc for the Blue Jays. Henderson again walked - his seventh of the series - and again stole second - his eighth stolen base of the series - and came home on Canseco's single to give the A's a 1-0 lead less than four minutes into the game. In the third, Henderson tripled to right, scoring Walt Weissto give the A's a 2-0 lead. It stayed that way until the seventh when Stieb tired. Dave Hendersonwalked and moved to third on a Mark McGwiresingle and scored on Terry Steinbach's single. Stieb got the hook and Jim Ackergot out of the inning, but not before McGwire scored on a squeeze buntby Mike Gallego. The A's now led 4-0 and Toronto had only nine outs left in their season.
The game tottered into the eighth before the Blue Jays finally scored on a home run by
Lloyd Moseby. But entering the ninth, the Jays needed three runs just to tie. They got the first when George Bell led off the ninth with a home run that ended Stewart's bid for a complete game. Dennis Eckersleycame on with a chance to earn his seventh save in the last nine ALCS games. And he got it although Tony Fernándezscored a cosmetic run by singling, stealing second, moving to third on a fielder's choiceand scoring on Gruber's sacrifice fly. With a 4-3 lead and two outs in the ninth, Eckersley struck out Junior Felixto finish the last American Leaguebaseball game of the 1980s.
1989 ALCS (4-1):
Oakland Athleticsover Toronto Blue JaysLinescore
Toronto Blue Jays
| Total Attendance: 249,247 Average Attendance: 49,849
Rickey Hendersonwas the unanimous choice for Most Valuable Player. He had six hits in fifteen trips to the plate for a .400 battering average including one double, one triple, two home runs, and eight runs scored. He drove in five runs, walked seven times, and stole eight bases. The only thing Henderson did wrong the entire series was commit an error in game four, and the recipient (George Bell) failed to score. But other A's put together tremendous series as well. Dennis Eckersleysaved three games in three opportunties while Dave Stewart gave up only five runs in sixteen innings, going eight full innings in both appearances and gaining the win in both the opener and the closer. Mark McGwirehit .389 with a homer while Dave Parkerhit a miserable .188, but two of his three hits were home runs that made the difference in the first two games.
The most forgettable series for the A's surely belonged to
Rick Honeycutt, who could not retire any of the six batters he faced in games two and three, but who came through for the A's at a critical juncture in Game 4.
The one Blue Jay who had a very good series was
Tony Fernández, who hit .350, scored six runs, and stole five bases in a losing cause.
Quotes of the series
Radio and television coverage
NBC Sportsannouncer Bob Costasunexpectedly came under fire by many Blue Jay fans. After the A's won the first two games, Costas said the Blue Jays had better win Game 3 (which they did, as it turned out) or "Elvis has a better chance of coming back than the Blue Jays." The Blue Jay fans decided to retaliate by displaying signs reading "Nuke Bob Costas" around the SkyDome.
* Besides calling the 1989 American League Championship Series for NBC, Bob Costas also filled-in for a suddenly ill
Vin Scully(who had come down with laryngitis.) for Game 2 of the 1989 National League Championship Series. Game 2 of the NLCS occurred on Thursday, October 5, which was an off day for the ALCS. NBC then decided to fly Costas from Toronto to Chicago to substitute for Scully on Thursday night. Afterwards, Costas flew back to Toronto, where he resumed work on the ALCS the next night.
* [http://www.baseball-reference.com/postseason/1989_ALCS.shtml Baseball-Reference.com] - 1989 ALCS
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