Happy Birthday, Brian Downing, let's see how the Angels did on your birthday in the postseason...
1982 - Angels lose 9-5 to the Brewers to even the best of 5 ALCS at 2 games apiece
Tommy John took the mound for the Angels but was done in by his defense. bad throws by Fred Lynn and Doug DeCinces on the SAME PLAY allowed two unearned runs and turned a on-run single into a bases-clearing single in the bottom of the second inning and the Angels were down 3-0. Three more runs crossed the plate in a tense fourth inning, the first of which was on a wild pitch and the last of which was a run-scoring Paul Molitor groundout off of reliever Dave Goltz making it 6-0 Brewers.
Like the night before, the Angels would make a valiant comeback. Fred Lynn would double home Reggie Jackson and Don Baylor would hit a grand slam and make it 7-5, but it ended up a 9-5 loss forcing a winner-take-all game for a trip to the World Series the next day.
On his 32nd birthday, Downing was 1 for 4 and scored a run on that Baylor slam... thirty years ago today.
2002 - Angels beat the Twins 6-3 in Minnesota to even the ALCS at a game apiece
Darin Erstad hit a solo homerun in the first inning and the Angels never looked back. The indelible image of this game is the homreun ball lodged high up in the folded football seats of multipurpose Metrodome. Up 2-0 in the second with Soctt Spiezio on 3B and Adam Kennedy on 1B, a delayed double steal and terrible throw to second allowed Speez to record a steal of home, and AK to end up on third on a SB-E2.
Ramon Ortiz scattered ten hits over 5.1 innings, but it wasn't until the Twins were down 6-0 that they came across, scoring three runs in the top of the sixth before Brendan Donnelly put out the fire. The Twins put two on in the eighth against Frankie but Troy Percival came in early and struck out Bobby Kielty looking and had a 1-2-3 ninth for the Save.
This game was scheduled for the night before but was rained out. Unbeknownst to the Angels it would be the first of four straight games in three cities.
Chone Figgins broke a scoreless tie in the top of the sixth with a run scoring double off of Shawn Chacon and was double home by Orlando Cabrera. In the bottom of the frame John Lackey walked Alex Rodriguez and he would come around to score on a Gary Sheffield base hit. Scot Shields then took over and ended the threat but was terrible in the seventh inning, giving up two runs an thus the lead. A Ruben Sierra pinch hit single tied the game and a Derek Jeter fielders choice scored Jorge Posada from 3B to make it 3-2.
That was all that the Yankees would need, clamping the door with two innings of Mariano Rivera retiring six straight Angels. The teams would take a red-eye flight to Anaheim for a winner take all game.
Jered Weaver struck out seven Chowds in 7.1 IP of 2 hit ball. Those two hits came in the fourth, a Jacoby Ellsbury triple and a Victor Martinez single to score him. A Kendrys Morales sac fly scored Bobby Abreu to make it 1-1 after 4.
The big hit in the game was a two-out base hit by Maicer Izturis to score Howie Kendrick in the seventh inning. Josh Becket had walked Vladimir Guerrero and Mike Scioscia had Howie Kendrick pinch-run for the aging superstar. Howie stole second to prove it was the right call. Howie crossed the plate to make it 2-1 Angels.
Mike Napoli was up with Izturis on first and Izzy stole 2B, rattling Beckett who then hit the Napster. Erick Aybar redeemed his 2008 missed bunt with a triple to make it 4-1. In the ninth, Brian Fuentes got Mike Lowell, representing the tying run with two on and two out, to fly out to end the game. The Angels were going to Fenway Park needing only to win one game.