7. 2001 World Series – Byung Hyun Kim and Mariano Rivera (Arizona Diamondbacks vs. New York Yankees)
Among many things, the 2001 World Series between the Yankees and Diamondbacks turned out to be a series filled with blown saves. Mariano Rivera successfully notched a two-inning save in Game 3 to finish a 2-1 win for the Yankees, but it was all downhill for the closers from there. In Game 4, Byung-Hyun Kim, the 22-year-old wunderkid from South Korea, was brought on to pitch the last two innings in a game Arizona led 3-1. Kim put down the Yanks in order in the eighth, but a one-out single by Paul O’Neill and a two-out homer by Tino Martinez tied the game at 3 in the ninth. Kim was sent out again in the bottom of the tenth, when he gave up a walk-off home run to Derek Jeter. Kim’s nightmare recurred the next night, when he was sent out to protect a 2-0 lead then gave up a tying two-run shot to the Yanks’ Scott Brosius with two outs. New York eventually won the game in the twelfth.
The D-Backs turned the series around though, forcing a Game 7 with a blowout 15-2 win in the sixth game. In the final game, it was Rivera blowing a save, failing to hold onto a 2-1 lead in the ninth inning. Rivera committed a throwing error trying to get the lead runner out on a sacrifice bunt attempt and eventually gave up the game-winning bloop single to Luis Gonzalez. In the end, the ’01 Series was just a bump in the road for Rivera’s amazing career. For Kim, it was more of a roadblock – he would never enjoy much success past 2001.
8. 2002 San Francisco Giants Blow 5-0 lead in 7th inning of Game 6 vs. Angels
The Giants may have just won the 2010 World Series, but they choked away a chance to end a long-standing championship drought (48 years at that point) in 2002 against the Anaheim Angels. The Giants built up a 5-0 lead heading into the bottom of the seventh, when starter Russ Ortiz was pulled from the game with a couple men on and one out. From there, Giants fans can blame it on the Angels’ Rally Monkey or the fact that Manager Dusty Baker gave the game ball to Ortiz as he left the mound, but it all went downhill from there.
A Scott Spiezio three-run shot cut the lead to 5-3, then a leadoff home run by Darin Erstad in the eighth brought the Angels even closer. Later in the inning, it was a two-run double by Troy Glaus with no outs that gave the Angels their 6-5 victory. As many teams have done, the ’02 Angels rode their Game 6 momentum to the title, taking Game 7 by a 4-1 score.