Clemens, Rivera pitch Yankees back into Series
Updated: Wednesday October 31, 2001 8:10 AM
Clemens won when the Yankees couldn't afford to lose, shutting down Arizona over seven innings for a 2-1 victory Tuesday night that cut the Diamondbacks' lead to two games-to-one.
And that made a gambler out of Arizona manager Bob Brenly. He'll start Schilling, who overwhelmed the Yankees in the opener, on three days' rest in Game 4.
"He's the right guy," Brenly said.
Said Yankees manager Joe Torre: "It doesn't surprise me. We'll be there."
The outcome also ensured something new: Baseball will have a Mr. November, with Game 5 scheduled for Thursday.
Pumped and psyched, Clemens put on quite a performance for President Bush, who threw his own strike with the ceremonial first pitch.
The Rocket allowed only three hits and struck out nine. Rivera threw two perfect innings in relief, and that was it.
"I knew it was a game that we had to have," Clemens said. "It was exciting to be part of everything. It was something I'll always have with me."
The Yankees, who hit only .102 in losing to Schilling and Randy Johnson at Bank One Ballpark, are still struggling at the plate with a .144 average.
"We're capable of hitting," Torre said. "We just haven't done it."
There was a chance Miguel Batista would start Wednesday night, but Schilling and even the Yankees knew those plans were scrapped when he began warming up in the Arizona bullpen in the seventh inning.
"He said all along he's prepared to pitch," Brenly said, referring to Schilling. "I mean, he didn't do cartwheels or anything like that and he didn't look at me like I was crazy."
Asked about his history of pitching on three days' rest, Schilling said, "Don't have one. Never done it before in the big leagues."
Orlando Hernandez is set to start for New York on Halloween night.
An early home run by Jorge Posada and a tiebreaking single by Scott Brosius in the sixth were enough to win for the Yankees on this night. Especially when Arizona managed three hits, the same total Schilling and Johnson served up.
No baseball team has ever rallied from an 0-3 deficit to win a postseason series. Thanks to Clemens' win and Rivera's save, the defending three-time champions won't have to try to do it, either.
The Yankees do have a history of coming back from 0-2 margins. They did it in 1996 against Atlanta.
The win came before Bush and a quieter-than-usual crowd of 55,820 bundled up against the cold and wind at Yankee Stadium.
"I don't think it was that intense," Yankees DH Chuck Knoblauch said. "Maybe it's because the president was here and people are worried about the threats. Hopefully it will be different tomorrow."
Clemens was a little late taking the mound, prompting some to wonder whether he was talking to a George -- president or owner, as in Steinbrenner.
From the very start, Clemens was in control. When Craig Counsell reached on an error to start the game, Clemens picked him off.
Once he got rolling, it was clear the five-time Cy Young Award winner was charged up. He pumped his fists after key outs and was a one-man cheerleading squad. He shouted encouragement to teammates and ran over to congratulate them on crucial plays.
Despite an injured right hamstring, Clemens improved to 3-0 lifetime in the World Series. He evened his often-checkered postseason record at 6-6 for 20 starts.
"After this game, I don't think he'll have to defend himself again," Torre said. "He was dynamite."
Rivera, the most dominant reliever in Series history, struck out four.
Brian Anderson pitched well enough for Arizona, but took the loss.
Tied at 1, the Yankees scored in the sixth. Bernie Williams opened with a leadoff single, Posada drew a one-out walk and Mike Morgan relieved. With two outs, Brosius hit a soft single to left field for the go-ahead run.
The Diamondbacks, starting five players who had never appeared at Yankee Stadium, made three errors and threw three wild pitches.
"It's tough to come here," Anderson said. "We knew it was going to be tough trying to beat them on their home field."
The Yankees hoped to get a big hit early and Posada delivered it, leading off the second inning with a home run.
Posada ended the Yankees' scoreless streak at 18 innings, their longest drought in Series history.
Arizona tied it in the fourth on Matt Williams' bases-loaded sacrifice fly.
Shane Spencer, starting in left field because he's a better defensive player than Knoblauch, saved the Yankees in the sixth. With two on and two outs, he ran in to make a diving catch on a liner by Williams.
Still sprawled on the grass, Spencer checked his glove to make sure he had made the catch, and a great sense of relief crossed his face when he saw he had the ball. Clemens raised his arm in the air to cheer the play and waited at the first-base line to congratulate Spencer.
The Diamondbacks, who led the NL in fielding this year, had not given up an unearned run in the postseason.
With two outs and none on in the fourth, Spencer lifted a foul pop behind the plate. Unfamiliar with the tricky winds at Yankee Stadium, catcher Damian Miller couldn't make the play -- no error was charged, though.
But Miller again missed, and the ball landed in fair territory before spinning foul. The Yankees thought Miller had touched it, with Spencer scoring and Derek Jeter cheering from the dugout.
The umpires, however, ruled it a foul ball and Torre disputed the call. Miller was given an error, yet Arizona escaped when Soriano ended a 13-pitch at-bat with a long flyout.
"There was a meeting on the mound. I told Skip I had better games. He didn't argue," Miller said.
Later, Miller and first baseman Mark Grace collided on a foul pop and ball dropped. Grace got the error.
Bush began the night by throwing a strike -- his pitch even featured a little late movement, much like a cut fastball.
"Very nice throw, Mr. President," Brenly told the former Texas Rangers owner. "Good stuff, good stuff."
Bush became the first president to throw out the opening ball at a Series since Dwight Eisenhower in 1956 at Ebbets Field in Brooklyn.
Bush watched three innings from an upstairs box with commissioner Bud Selig, Steinbrenner and New York Gov. George Pataki before leaving.
Notes: Ronald Reagan was the last president to attend a Series game, in 1983 at Baltimore. ... New York City Mayor Rudolph Giuliani watched from his usual front-row seat near the Yankees' dugout. Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., sat next to the mayor. ... The Yankees' scoreless streak was the longest since Oakland's 18-inning slump in 1988 against Los Angeles.