Yankees lose decisive World Series game at home for first time since 1981
Posted: Sunday October 26, 2003 6:37AM; Updated: Wednesday December 31, 2003 8:25PM
NEW YORK (AP) -- This wasn't how it was supposed to end.
Not with the pesky Florida Marlins celebrating on the hallowed field at Yankee Stadium.
Not with three straight losses to a penny-pinching team that's only existed for 11 years.
Not with a 23-year-old kid shutting out the best lineup money could buy.
For the New York Yankees, pennants aren't enough. A World Series flop equals an empty season.
That's the way it works around here: No title, no good.
"There's layers of success. We created a lot of special moments in this town," general manager Brian Cashman said in a virtually silent clubhouse. "There's a lot of things that our players and our club can be proud of. But we all wanted the big one."
It was the first time the Yankees were knocked out of the postseason at home since losing Game 6 of the 1981 World Series to the Los Angeles Dodgers.
"Nobody had scripted this end," Jason Giambi said. "It was supposed to come out different."
When Beckett fielded Jorge Posada's slow roller and tagged him along the first-base line for the final out, the Marlins poured out of the dugout and jumped into each other's arms.
More than 55,000 stunned Yankees fans simply headed for the exits.
"The Yankees win all the championships, that's our goal, and this is very disappointing," manager Joe Torre said. "This kind of pressure is good, even though it is a lot to ask, the rewards are so great that you never question that or feel sorry for yourself. This is something that's a challenge, and you'd like to believe everybody that puts on this uniform feels that respect and that challenge."
Now the only thing that remains to be seen is how angry owner George Steinbrenner will be, and which Yankees might lose their jobs.
"Obviously, everybody is very upset," center fielder Bernie Williams said. "The front office and people in charge designed this team not to play well in the postseason, but to win."
Pettitte, who pulled New York even 1-1 in all three series this October, spoke Friday about not wanting to let a visiting team celebrate a championship at Yankee Stadium.
Yet that's exactly what happened -- even though he pitched very well again. After the game, he said he had a "sick feeling" in his stomach.
"I'm happy with being able to get to the World Series, but that doesn't help the hurt right now," said Pettitte, who can become a free agent this offseason.
The 31-year-old left-hander, tied with John Smoltz for the major league record with 13 career postseason wins, gave up only one earned run in seven innings. He allowed six hits, struck out seven and walked three -- one intentionally.
But behind him, the banged-up Yankees came apart at the worst time, as they often did in this series.
All-Star shortstop and captain Derek Jeter made a crucial error and went 0-for-4 in the leadoff spot. It was a rare postseason failure for a player who has performed brilliantly in the clutch so many times. It was his first error in 27 Series games.
"It makes you sick," Jeter said. "How else can you feel? If it doesn't make you sick, you shouldn't be competing."
Giambi, hobbled by a sore knee that will require offseason surgery, was back in the lineup after not starting Game 5. But all he could manage was a walk in three trips to the plate.
All-Stars Alfonso Soriano and Posada slumped the entire postseason, and couldn't come through against Florida, either.
"We had a chance for a fifth ring and they took it from us," Posada said, tears welling in his eyes. "We just fell short, that's the only way to put it. I wouldn't say it's a failure, we just came up short."
Soriano, benched before Game 5, batted ninth and singled twice. But nobody could drive him in.
New York went 0-for-7 with runners in scoring position Saturday, and a horrendous 7-for-50 in the World Series.
"Obviously, in this series we didn't fire on all cylinders for whatever reason," Cashman said. "The Marlins had an opportunity and they took advantage of it. I know we're better than what we showed. Typically our guys are better than that."