BRONX, New York (Ticker) -- The New York Yankees' dynasty rolled on as the Seattle Mariners' dream season came to an end.
Andy Pettitte was masterful before tiring and Bernie Williams, Paul O'Neill and Tino Martinez homered as the three-time defending world champions closed out their American League Championship Series against the record-setting Mariners with a 12-3 rout in Game Five.
The Yankees clinched their 38th American League pennant and became the first team since the advent of Division Play in 1969 to win four straight League Championship Series.
En route to earning a shot at the Arizona Diamondbacks, New York made history by rallying to defeat the Oakland Athletics in the Division Series. The Yankees then soundly defeated the Mariners, who tied a major league record with 116 wins in the regular season.
"A lot of what went on in this city, and down 0-2 to Oakland, makes this special," Yankees manager Joe Torre said. "That young pitching staff in Oakland was scary and Seattle had a great year and as balanced a team as I have ever seen."
After capturing both games in Seattle, the Yankees were blown out in Game Three on Saturday before rebounding Sunday on a ninth-inning homer from rookie Alfonso Soriano. But Monday's clincher belonged to three players that have been at the center of the latest Yankees' dynasty.
Pettitte (2-1), who was voted the Series' Most Valuable Player, took a shutout into the seventh. He allowed three runs and eight hits in 6 1/3 innings for his second win in as many starts this series. The 29-year-old lefthander improved to 10-5 lifetime in the postseason -- 5-1 in ALCS play.
"It's special for me. I'd be lying if I didn't say that," Pettitte said of the MVP honor. "I'm not a pitcher that goes out and dominates. I don't strike out a lot of hitters and stuff like that, so I never expected to win something like this. It's a nice surprise."
Williams made sure Pettitte had plenty of room for error by capping a four-run third inning with his 16th career postseason homer and third in as many games. The two-run shot off starter Aaron Sele gave New York a 4-0 lead.
"It was a tough at-bat," Williams said. "Sele threw everything at me. I fouled off a couple of pitches and he threw a pretty good pitch on the outer half. I was just hoping it would go out."
"I think Bernie had the most important at-bat," Torre added. "It was such a big home run because two runs and four runs, it's a big difference."
O'Neill made it a five-run cushion with a solo homer in the fifth. The Yankees' right fielder during their championship run, the 38-year-old O'Neill has intimated that this season will be his last.
Martinez, eligible for free agency at the end of the season, struggled in the playoffs after leading New York with 34 home runs and 113 RBI in the regular season. But the first baseman and former Mariner hit his second homer of the postseason, a three-run bomb with one out in the eighth inning to cap New York's 13-hit attack.
A four-run sixth inning turned the game into a rout and set the celebration in motion as New York improved to 40-11 in the postseason since 1998.
Monday's game ended as so many others have during the Yankees' championship run, with closer Mariano Rivera surrounded by teammates in a moment of glory on the mound.
Sele (0-3) had another brutal postseason start. The veteran righthander, who has the most wins in the American League since 1998, was tagged for five runs -- one earned -- and four hits in four innings.
Sele was victimized by third baseman David Bell's error in the four-run third inning but did little to pick up his teammate. After Bell booted Scott Brosius' chopper, Sele surrendered a single to Soriano and two-out RBI hits to Justice and Williams that broke open the contest.
In seven career postseason starts -- five against the Yankees -- Sele is 0-6 and has surrendered 25 runs and 42 hits in 36 1/3 innings.
"I don't feel any differently," he said. "You have to go out and make quality pitches to keep your team in the game."
"We needed a good game from Aaron, that was obvious," Seattle manager Lou Piniella said. "They scored the four runs and then the solo homer and things got out of hand a bit. But whether you lose, 3-2, or whether you lose, whatever the score was tonight, it doesn't really matter. A loss is a loss."
With the win the Yankees avoided a return trip to Seattle -- a journey Mariners manager Lou Piniella guaranteed after Game Two.
Game One of the World Series is slated for Saturday night at Bank One Ballpark. The Diamondbacks, who clinched their series with Atlanta on Sunday, are expected to start Curt Schilling while New York has a number of ways it could set its rotation.
"We are looking forward to this series," Williams said. "I think it will be good. We have some experience with Randy (Johnson) and Curt. We are going to have our work cut out for us. ... They have two of the premier pitchers in the NL. We are going to have to do our homework."
For the Mariners, a remarkable regular season will be overshadowed by an ALCS appearance in which they were beaten in nearly every conceivable fashion. They were outpitched early in the series, stung by Soriano's homer in Game Four and tattooed in Game Five.
"Today, (116 wins) means nothing," Sele said. "It doesn't matter if you get in the playoffs or win 185 to get in the playoffs, it is all how you finish."
"It has nothing to do with what our record was, what it could have been, none of that," Seattle utilityman Mark McLemore said. "We didn't win the World Series, which was our main objective -- not to set the AL record for wins. It was to win the World Series."
Piniella had a different take.
"I'm proud of our guys," he said. "I told them we had a fantastic season. Getting 116 wins is something that's been done once ever in the history of baseball. I congratulated them on a great season and thanked them for the way they played for us -- for me and this organization."
"We have nothing to be ashamed about in here," center fielder Mike Cameron added. "We played well all season long. A lot of guys did some pretty amazing things this year. Unfortunately, we didn't get to where we needed to be, but we still have some work to do."
The game was scoreless into the third. Bell botched Brosius's grounder to open the inning and Soriano lined a single to center field. Chuck Knoblauch bunted the runners over and Jeter lined a sacrifice fly into left-center field. Justice then buried a double into the right-field corner for a 2-0 lead and Williams followed with a long homer to left-center field for a four-run cushion.
O'Neill's homer in the fourth made it 5-0 and the Yankees tacked on four in the sixth. Martinez opened the inning with a single and Jorge Posada and O'Neill followed with hits to load the bases. Joel Pineiro struck out Brosius but uncorked a wild pitch that allowed Martinez to score. Soriano walked and Knoblauch dumped a single into right for a 7-0 lead.
Pineiro lost control with Jeter at the plate and walked the Yankees shortstop to force home pinch runner Shane Spencer. Justice capped the inning with an RBI single to right.
After Pettitte spent a long time on the bench in the bottom of the sixth, Seattle mounted its only significant offense of the game in the seventh. Former Yankee Jay Buhner and John Olerud opened the inning with singles but Pettitte got Dan Wilson to pop out. Carlos Guillen loaded the bases with an infield single and Bell got the Mariners on the board with a two-run single. Japanese rookie sensation Ichiro Suzuki beat out an infield hit that plated a run and finished Pettitte.
Ramiro Mendoza came on and retired the next two batters to escape the jam. He got the first out of the eighth before giving way to Mike Stanton, who got through the inning.
After Martinez made it 12-3 by crushing an 0-1 pitch off Jose Paniagua into the right-field stands, Rivera cruised through the ninth.