The 1986 American League Championship Series was a back-and-forth battle between the Boston Red Sox and the California Angels for the right to advance to the 1986 World Series. The Red Sox came in with a 95-66 record and the AL East division title, while the Angels went 92-70 during the regular season to win the AL West.
Umpires: Larry Barnett, Larry McCoy, Terry Cooney, Nick Bremigan, Rocky Roe, Rich Garcia
Game 1 of the best-of-7 series was played at Fenway Park on October 7. Angels' left fielder Brian Downing went 2-for-5 with 4 RBIs and Mike Witt pitched a 5-hit complete game, as California cruised to an 8-1 win.
The next day, the tables were turned. Bill Buckner scored the winning run in the 5th inning on a Dwight Evans double, and the Red Sox tacked on insurance runs in the 7th and 8th innings to win 9-2 and tie the series at 1 game all.
The scene switched to Anaheim Stadium, home of the Angels, for Game 3 on October 10. In the 7th inning, Dick Shofield homered for California to give the team a 2-1 lead. Gary Pettis followed shortly thereafter with a two-run home run of his own, and the Angels went on to win 5-3. California took a 2-1 series lead.
Roger Clemens, the Game 1 loser, started Game 4 for the Red Sox on October 11, and was solid for most of the game. Boston put up a run in the 6th, and two more in the 8th on two hits, a wild pitch, a passed ball, and two errors, but left the bases loaded. In the bottom of the ninth, Doug DeCinces led off with a home run. After the next batter grounded out, Shofield and Bob Boone singled. After coming within two outs of a complete game, Clemens was removed, and Boone was replaced with a pinch runner. Pettis, batting next, doubled to score Shofield. Ruppert Jones was intentionally walked to load the bases, a fatal mistake, as two batters later, Downing was hit by a pitch, forcing in the tying run.
Angels' relief pitcher Doug Corbett pitched a perfect 10th and 11th innings, and California broke through in the bottom of the 11th. Jerry Narron scored on Bobby Grich's one-out single to score, giving California a 4-3 win and a 3-1 series lead.
California looked set to earn their first ever trip to a World Series the next afternoon. Grich, the previous night's hero, homered to give California a 3-2 lead in the 6th inning. Rob Wilfong appeared to put the nail in the coffin with an RBI double in the 7th, and the Angels led 5-2 after eight innings.
The Angels came within one strike from their first-ever AL Pennant. Witt was two outs away from his second complete game victory of the series, when Don Baylor hit a two-strike, two-run home run to pull within 5-4. After retiring the next batter, Witt was replaced by Gary Lucas. Lucas hit Rich Gedman, and was replaced by Donnie Moore. Moore built up two strikes on Dave Henderson, and then "Hendu" homered, stunning the hometown crowd. Boston had taken a 6-5 lead.
The lead would not last, however, as in the bottom of the 9th, Boone singled, and Jones pinch-ran for him. Pettis sacrificed him to second, and Wilfong singled him home, tying the game. Schofield singled, sending Wilfong to 3rd, and Downing was intentionally walked to load the bases with 1 out. All of Boston's top-half heroics would be washed away with a sacrifice fly, but a short fly ball to right field by DeCinces, and a line-out to pitcher Steve Crawford ended the inning.
The teams settled down and the 10th inning was again scoreless, but the Red Sox loaded the bases in the top of the 11th for Henderson. Henderson hit a sacrifice fly, scoring the go-ahead run, and Calvin Schiraldi retired the Angels in order in the bottom of the 11th, completing a shocking comeback, and breaking the hearts of Angel Nation.
On October 14, the Angels, still reeling from their Game 5 loss, took an early 2-0 lead, but the Sox tied the score without a hit in the bottom of the 1st. Any remaining heart the Angels had appeared to have been crushed by a six-hit, five-run rally in the third inning. Boston went on to win 10-4 to tie the series.
On October 15, the Red Sox clinched the American League championship with three unearned runs in the 2nd inning and a 3-run home run from Jim Rice in the 4th. The Angels never mounted a comeback, and Boston won 8-1 to win the series 4 games to 3, another bitter defeat for the Angels.
Obviously, by virtue of winning the ALCS, the Red Sox advanced to the 1986 World Series, where they faced the New York Mets, with memorable results. In the end, the Red Sox lost the World Series in virtually the same manner as the Angels had lost the ALCS. And, on the other hand, for every winner, there is a loser, and for the 1986 ALCS, the goat was Donnie Moore, who gave up Henderson's home run in Game 5, and then his game-winning sacrifice fly two innings later. Moore was blasted by the sports media, and the fans. He sank into depression and alcoholism over the next two years, and committed suicide on July 19, 1989.
Visiting team listed first, winning team in bold
G#, Date 1, 10/ 7: California 9, Boston 2 (CAL leads 1-0) 2, 10/ 8: California 1, Boston 8 (Series tied 1-1) 3, 10/10: Boston 3, California 5 (CAL leads 2-1) 4, 10/11: Boston 3, California 4 (11 innings, CAL leads 3-1) 5, 10/12: Boston 7, California 6 (11 innings, CAL leads 3-2) 6, 10/14: California 4, Boston 10 (Series tied 3-3) 7, 10/15: California 1, Boston 8 (Boston wins 4-3)
Game 1 at Boston CAL 041 000 030 | 8 11 0 BOS 000 001 000 | 1 5 1
Game 2 at Boston CAL 000 110 000 | 2 11 3 BOS 110 010 33x | 9 13 2
Game 3 at California BOS 010 000 020 | 3 9 1 CAL 000 001 310 | 5 8 0
Game 4 at California BOS 000 001 020 00 | 3 6 1 CAL 000 000 003 01 | 4 11 2
Game 5 at California BOS 020 000 004 01 | 7 12 0 CAL 001 002 201 00 | 6 13 0
Game 6 at Boston CAL 200 000 110 | 4 11 1 BOS 205 010 20x | 10 16 1
Game 7 at Boston CAL 000 000 010 | 1 6 2 BOS 030 400 10x | 8 8 1