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Don't forget Chuck

Knoblauch's homer sends game into extra innings

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Posted: Wednesday October 27, 1999 06:18 PM

  Chuck Knoblauch's game-tying homer made Yankees fans briefly forget his 26 errors this year. AP

NEW YORK (AP) -- Chuck Knoblauch can't find first base, but game-tying World Series homers appear easy.

For the second straight year, Knoblauch hit one, delivering a two-run homer in the eighth inning Tuesday night and the New York Yankees came back to beat the Atlanta Braves 6-5 in 10 innings to take a 3-0 Series lead.

"If it's a pattern, I hope it continues tomorrow," Knoblauch said.

Knoblauch has been the focus of a lot of attention this postseason, but not for anything positive. Instead, all people want to talk to him about are his throws.

Knoblauch made 26 errors, most by a second baseman this year and most by a Yankee since third baseman Graig Nettles had 26 in 1973.

"I think enough has been said about it and it needs to be put to bed," Knoblauch said. "I can't control what people talk about and say about me. All I can control is go out and work hard and focus on every play."

He made 14 throwing errors and every throw to first is an adventure. There are the lollipop ones that take an eternity to reach first base, the sidearm ones that put fans near the first-base dugout in danger and even underhanded tosses that make people laugh.

"Any way I make a play is good," he said.

There are also the clutch home runs.

In Game 1 of the World Series last year against San Diego, Knoblauch hit a game-tying three-run homer in the seventh inning off Donne Wall that helped start the Yankees on the way to a sweep.

On Tuesday night, he did it in the eighth inning against Tom Glavine.

"He has such command. He'll lull you to sleep -- away, away, away," Knoblauch said. "I just wanted to react to this ball. On 2-0, I was just ready for anything."

Knoblauch has often been criticized in his two years in New York for using an uppercut swing for the fences instead trying to hit line drives.

This time it worked.

With the Yankees trailing 5-3 with Joe Girardi on first, Knoblauch hit a high fly to right. Brian Jordan went back to the fence and leaped to make the catch. The ball deflected off his glove and over the fence.

"I knew I hit it pretty good," Knoblauch said. "Jordan's a great outfielder. He jumped, and I prayed. I got a break."

Knoblauch held the bat as he jogged toward first base and the ball carried over the wall. He dropped his bat and rounded the bases. His teammates, who have stuck by him during his struggles in the field, poured out of the dugout to greet him.

The Yankees eventually won it in the 10th inning on Chad Curtis' second solo homer. But Knoblauch made it possible.


 
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