Then Witt faced Baylor, the former Angel designated hitter who led California to its first postseason appearances in 1979 and 1982. On a full count, Baylor reminded the home crowd why he had captained both those teams--hitting a pressure home run that cut the Angels' advantage to a nervous 5-4.
"The way it was at the start of the inning, the fans were on their feet and hanging over the railing," Witt said. "The whole scene really pumped me up. But Buckner broke the ice and then Baylor, doing what he did, calmed the crowd down. It took a lot out of the crowd."
Witt came back and got Dwight Evans to pop out to DeCinces at third base. One out to go, and the crowd was back.
Down in the Angel bullpen, Lucas tried to warm up amid pandemonium.
"The bullpen was filled with security guards," Lucas said. "Bob Clear (Angel bullpen coach) was yelling at them, 'Get outta here! We gotta have the mounds!'
"All the way down the foul line, the fans were lined up, ready to run onto the field. It was so loud in the bullpen, we could barely hear the phone ring."
After Witt had retired Evans, Mauch made the pitching change that will be forever scrutinized. He summoned Lucas, a left-hander, to pitch to Gedman, another left-hander who had hit a home run, a double and a single in three at-bats against Witt.
Lucas, who had struck out Gedman twice during the regular season and hadn't hit a batter in four seasons, hit Gedman with his first pitch. That brought on the confrontation between Moore, the Angels' sore-armed bullpen ace, and Henderson, a .189-hitting reserve outfielder.
On a 2-and-2 pitch, Henderson became an instant New England legend and the Angels fell behind, 6-5.
Mauch was second-guessed by people ranging from the national media to his own players. Witt was 18-10, the Angels' most valuable player, a Cy Young Award contender. He was Mauch's best pitcher, a man who had pitched 14 complete games during the regular season.
"Yeah, I was surprised when he took him out," Moore said. "I thought it was Mike's game to win or lose. I thought I wasn't going to pitch again until the World Series."
DeCinces figured that the game was over when he caught Evans' pop up. "There was no doubt in my mind," he said. "Mike was pitching well. Don Baylor had hit a good pitch. Mike came right back to get Evans. The emotions were so high, I felt there was no doubt."
Witt said his removal from the game became an instant--and endless--conversation piece during the off-season.
"Everybody I ran into asked me, what would've happened if he left me in," Witt said. "Like I've got an answer for it.
"If he left me in, anything could've happened. I thought I had a good game plan going in for Gedman, but it wasn't working too successfully. Would I have tried anything different? I never got around to it.
"I wanted to end the game, but it could've gone either way. If Lucas comes in and gets him out, I might be talking to you as a world champion. I guess it's a waste of time to think about what might have been."
Flash back to 1982. The Angels lose Game 5 to the Milwaukee Brewers when Mauch fails to bring in left-handed reliever Andy Hassler and allows right-hander Luis Sanchez to pitch to Cecil Cooper. Cooper, a left-hander, singles in the winning run.
In '86, Mauch is criticized for bringing in a left-hander. In '82, he's criticized for not bringing one in.