BRONX, New York (Ticker) -- The Arizona Diamondbacks simply dropped the ball.
Roger Clemens and Mariano Rivera combined on a three-hitter and Scott Brosius snapped a sixth-inning tie with an RBI single as the New York Yankees took advantage of sloppy play by the Diamondbacks to post a 2-1 triumph in Game Three of the World Series.
Leading two games to none, Arizona had a chance to put a stranglehold on the series with a win. The Diamondbacks got a great outing from starter Brian Anderson but committed three errors, threw three wild pitches and ran themselves out of the opening inning.
The Yankees again struggled offensively. They got only seven hits, including a home run by Jorge Posada in the second inning, but Clemens and Rivera throttled an Arizona attack that scored 13 runs in the first two games.
Clemens (1-0) improved to 3-0 in five career World Series starts, allowing a run, three singles and three walks in seven innings. He struck out nine and lowered his World Series ERA to 1.59.
"For a pitcher as great as Roger has been, he's really had to defend himself a lot," Yankees manager Joe Torre said. "And after this game tonight, I don't think he will have to defend himself again. He was dynamite, dynamite. He gave us more than we had hoped to and wanted to go out there very badly in the seventh inning. And even though we had people warming up in case he went through the inning 1-2-3, it was great."
"I expect things out of myself, no matter what the situation is, big game or little game or whatever you want to call it," Clemens added. "I get excited about what I'm trying to do. I focused back in and was able to finish a couple of guys off. It was a good night. We played ourselves back into this a little bit now and face another huge challenge tomorrow."
Pitching for the first time in eight days, Rivera struck out four of the final six batters for his record eighth career World Series save.
"It felt great to get back in there," Rivera said. "I was glad it worked out. I felt great. It's the World Series, you have to do whatever it takes to win. I'll do whatever they need me to do to win. We just have to win."
No team ever has erased a three games to none deficit in the postseason and Arizona may look back at this effort as the turning point. New York improved to 17-3 in its last 20 World Series games and sends postseason ace Orlando Hernandez to the mound in Game Four on Wednesday.
With momentum now on the side of the three-time defending champions, Arizona manager Bob Brenly opted for Game One winner Curt Schilling. The veteran righthander is 4-0 with a 0.79 ERA in four postseason starts but never has pitched on three days' rest. He did return from a suspended outing in July to throw seven strong innings three days later.
Pitchers on three days' rest are just 1-9 with a 9.73 ERA in the postseason since 1999.
"Like I said all along, if we were up 3-0, Batista would still take the baseball, but for a lot of different reasons, including the low pitch count in Schilling's last start, the conditions out there very much favor pitchers right now; and we had Miguel Batista up a couple of times warming up in the bullpen," Brenly explained. "Schilling will pitch tomorrow and Miguel will be the Game Five starter."
"This was a game we wanted to win. This was a game we had to have," Brosius said. "They held us down again and it was just a game where 'Rocket' threw a great game tonight and got the ball to Mariano."
Making his first start in nearly two months, Anderson justified Brenly's faith. He allowed two runs and five hits in 5 1/3 innings, walking three and striking out one. He worked out of a jam in the first and rebounded after surrendering the leadoff homer to Posada in the second.
Anderson got a double play in the third and overcame an error by shortstop Tony Womack in the fourth. He cruised through the fifth but could not survive the sixth.
"Well, we got exactly what we expected from him," Brenly said. "We knew we would not be rattled by the situation, we would not be rattled by the surroundings. He went out and pitched a tremendous ballgame and gave us a couple more innings than we thought we were going to get out of him."
"He was prepared, he threw a lot of pitches," Arizona third baseman Matt Williams added. "I didn't expect him to throw that many tonight, but he said he felt good and the weather was cool. He pitched great."
The Diamondbacks had a chance to get Anderson a lead right way as Craig Counsell reached on an error by rookie second baseman Alfonso Soriano. But with Steve Finley at the plate, Counsell was picked off. Finley worked out a walk, but Luis Gonzalez swung through a 3-2 fastball and Finley was cut down trying to steal.
The Diamondbacks drew even in the fourth as Clemens lost the plate. Finley drew a leadoff walk and Gonzalez singled to left. A long fly ball by Reggie Sanders moved Finley to third and Clemens walked designated hitter Erubiel Durazo on five pitches.
With the bases loaded, Williams lined to right for a sacrifice fly that moved Gonzalez to third. But Clemens got Mark Grace, who is just 1-for-9 in the series, to bounce weakly to second for the final out.
In the top of the sixth, Sanders was hit by a pitch with two outs and stole second. Durazo grounded sharply between first and second, but Soriano made a diving stab to keep the ball in the infield. With runners at the corners, Williams smoked a 1-1 pitch to left field and Shane Spencer made a diving catch to preserve the tie.
"Matt hit the ball hard," Clemens said. "I tried to elevate again and left it up and over the middle. When he hit it, he hit it just hard enough to stay in the air. Spencer came on and was aggressive. It was nice to see and it ended up working out for us."
"Matty came up and hit an absolute bullet," Diamondbacks catcher Damian Miller said. "If it gets by Shane out there, it's two runs, maybe a triple. That's how they won the ballgame. That's how you win ballgames, playing great defense."
In the bottom of the inning, Bernie Williams beat out a single to deep shortstop. Miller, who failed to field a pair of pop-ups in the fourth, collided with first baseman Grace on another with Tino Martinez at the plate.
Martinez flied out, but Anderson, perhaps unnerved by the miscues, uncorked a wild pitch that Miller failed to block. Posada walked and Brenly turned to former Yankee Mike Morgan. The 42-year-old righthander struck out pinch hitter David Justice, but Brosius hit the next pitch near the left-field line to plate Williams with the go-ahead run. Morgan uncorked a wild pitch before Soriano grounded out to end the inning.
"It was a slider," Miller said of the pitch to Brosius. "He hit it off the end of the bat. It was probably the right pitch, but he kind of left it just over the plate just enough. If he keeps it down, maybe we get a ground ball right there."
"I wasn't sure if I could get to it or not," Diamondbacks left fielder Gonzalez said. "I was just kind of indecisive. When you are indecisive, you don't go diving for the ball because you don't know. I was fortunate to get it because it almost got by me anyway. I can't look back at that play and second-guess myself. It was just one of those things and it happened. We weren't able to scracth out any runs after that."
The game-time temperature was 52 degrees with swirling winds and conditions got colder as the night went on.
"I think it was the temperature more than anything else tonight," Brenly said of the reason for the poor fielding. "It was extremely cold at field level, especially on the pop-ups behind home plate, there seemed to be a swirling wind behind home plate and backstop. It really played tricks with those balls. It was cold, it was cold for both teams. We just didn't play particularly good defense tonight."
The Diamondbacks never threatened New York's one-run cushion as Clemens struck out two in the seventh and Rivera did not allow a ball out of the infield over the final two innings.
Rivera has converted all five of his save chances this postseason and 23 straight dating to 1997. Of his eight World Series saves, seven have been more than an inning and his ERA in the "Fall Classic" is 1.19.
"I thought we had some good swings against him and some not-so-good swings," Brenly said. "I mean, he comes exactly as advertised, no secrets, there's no tricks and you know what he's going to throw you. ... He's just one of the best in the business. Even though you know he's coming, he's still extremely tough to hit."
Arizona struck out 13 times and has fanned 32 times in the series.