The great escape II
Another miracle comeback pushes Diamondbacks to brink
Updated: Friday November 02, 2001 8:50 AM
NEW YORK (AP) -- Once was amazing. Twice was too hard to believe -- even for Joe Torre and the New York Yankees.
The Yankees were one out away from defeat for the second straight night when they victimized Kim again.
"I can't be surprised. It just happened the day before," Torre said.
Once Brosius tied it with his homer, there seemed to be little doubt about the eventual outcome. Especially for a team that makes a habit of late comebacks in the postseason.
"It seemed like the whole situation was set again, and it happened again," Brosius said.
The Yankees became the first team in postseason history to win two straight games when trailing after eight innings, according to the Elias Sports Bureau.
"You know they have to be thinking, 'I can't believe this is happening.' Not one night, but two nights in a row," Yankees starter Mike Mussina said.
"I think we're all feeling the same emotions we were feeling 24 hours ago," he said.
Chuck Knoblauch opened the 12th with his first hit of the series and moved up on Brosius' sacrifice. Soriano followed with a single off losing pitcher Albie Lopez, and Knoblauch scored ahead of right fielder Reggie Sanders' throw.
"No disrespect to the fans or the Diamondbacks, but you have to sit back and kind of chuckle a little bit because it's so unbelievable," Knoblauch said.
Sanders had a shot at Knoblauch, but his one-hop throw skipped and could not be handled cleanly by catcher Rod Barajas.
"You can't win them all. We would like to win them all, but the Yankees are very tough here in their house, and we know that," Arizona manager Bob Brenly said.
Soriano made a key defensive play in the 11th as the Yankees won their Series-record 10th straight home game. Sterling Hitchcock got the victory.
Now, the three-time defending champions will try to wrap up another crown in Game 6 Saturday night at Bank One Ballpark.
New York has won seven straight extra-inning games in the Series, dating to 1964.
Brenly, second-guessed for pulling Curt Schilling and bringing in Kim with a late lead a day earlier, was not afraid to make a similar move.
But the sellout crowd of 56,018 roared as the Yankees came to bat in the ninth, and the noise level got even louder when the fans realized Kim was coming in to pitch.
"He is our closer, he wanted the ball in that situation," Brenly said.
At that point, Barajas walked toward the young closer and held up a finger, seeming to indicate: one more out.
But Brosius, the 1998 World Series MVP launched a long drive to left field and immediately raised his arm in the air. Kim couldn't believe it, and crouched on the mound for a full 30 seconds as the ballpark erupted.
Brenly did not move. From the dugout, he stared glassy-eyed at the wild scene unfolding in front of him.
Then, as Barajas rushed to the mound, Brenly slowly walked out and signaled for reliever Mike Morgan.
Before this week, only three times had there been a two-out homer in the bottom of the ninth that tied or won a Series game. Now, add two more to the record book -- and add to the Yankees' mystique.
"This is the most incredible couple of games I've ever managed," Torre said.
Soriano, playing back in hopes of a double play, saved the Yankees with a diving catch on Sanders' liner up the middle. Rivera ended the threat by getting Mark Grace on an easy grounder to Brosius at third.
Batista, a 30-year-old journeyman, outpitched Mussina and kept the Yankees in their hitting funk.
A few days ago, after Schilling and Johnson excelled, Batista chafed at the notion that Arizona was merely a two-man team. Yet on this night, Batista and Barajas were almost too much for the Yankees.
Barajas, a backup who hit just .160 this season, and Steve Finley homered in the fifth inning for a 2-0 lead.
Finley hit his first career postseason homer, leading off with a drive against the facing of the upper deck in right field.
Barajas, making his first start of the postseason only because catcher Damian Miller was scratched with a strained right calf, hit his first home run since April 21.
Paul O'Neill was cheered all night long. The 38-year-old right fielder, who said after the game that he will retire after this season, drew two walks. He also grounded into a double play, slamming his helmet in disgust.
O'Neill tipped his cap to the sellout crowd of 56,018 when he ran in from right field after the top of the ninth.
"I can't think of a better way to go out in my last game at Yankee Stadium," O'Neill said. "You don't want to put yourself in this position every night, but it makes for exciting baseball."
Notes: Andrew Giuliani, the mayor's teen-aged son, reached far over the front-row railing to snag two balls. No security men were about to stop him. ... Former Yankees stars Reggie Jackson and Don Mattingly threw out the ceremonial first balls. ... Craig Counsell has not had a hit since homering off Mussina in the opening inning of Game 1. Counsell is in an 0-for-19 slump.