2001 MLB Postseason

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New York Yankees 4
Arizona Diamondbacks 3
Posted: Thursday November 01, 2001 03:48 AM
Arizona Diamondbacks
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New York Yankees
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BRONX, New York (Ticker) -- New month, same old magic.

Tino Martinez hit one of the most dramatic homers in World Series history with two outs in the bottom of the ninth inning and Derek Jeter won it with a two-out homer in the 10th as the New York Yankees evened the 2001 World Series with a 4-3 triumph over the Arizona Diamondbacks in Game Four.

As baseball crept into November for the first time in history, Jeter capped one of the most memorable World Series games of all time by lining a 3-2 pitch from Arizona closer Byung-Hyun Kim just over the right-field wall for the game-winner.

"When I first hit it, I had no idea whether it was going to go out, but once it goes out, it's a pretty special feeling," Jeter said. "I've never hit a walk-off home run before so it was a special experience."

But the 12th walkoff home run in World Series history would not have been possible had Martinez not delivered the biggest homer of his career in the most pressure-filled of situations.

Handcuffed by Curt Schilling on three days' rest, the three-time defending champions were staring the possibility of a three games to one deficit. With one out, Paul O'Neill flared an opposite-field single in front of left fielder Luis Gonzalez and after Bernie Williams struck out, Martinez hit the first pitch he saw from Kim over the wall in right-center field.

As center fielder Steve Finley gave up pursuit, the crowd of 55,863 erupted and Yankees spilled out of the dugout. A stadium that fell deadly silent after the Diamondbacks scored two runs in the eighth would not stop celebrating until Martinez came out for a curtain call.

"I came in in the eighth inning into the clubhouse to watch him face the hitters that he hit before me, and I just saw a fastball, slider, so I went up there in that situation and was looking for a fastball, something over the middle of the plate I could just try to drive out, just try to take a big hack at it and I got a hold of it," said Martinez, who was hitless in 10 at-bats in the series.

"You know, things, surprising things happen, and yet when you really think about it, it doesn't surprise you because this ballclub never quits," Yankees manager Joe Torre said. "I know it's an old cliche but I have lived it for six years. I've watched these guys just play hard right to the last out, play every inning."

The win evened the series with Game Five at Yankee Stadium on Thursday. New York sends Mike Mussina, who was hammered in Game One to the mound against Arizona's Miguel Batista, who was bumped Wednesday in favor of Schilling.

"You win a game like this, when you have -- you're on the threshold of going down 3-1, it's huge," Torre added. "It's huge for our confidence, and we pitched well enough to win but of course they had pitched better up to that point. I think we have to settle down (Thursday) a little bit to understand that there's plenty of work to do yet."

"I mean, 3-1, that's a pretty deep hole for us and we are able to tie the series," Jeter added. "But this win means absolutely nothing unless we come out ready (Thursday) and we play well. They are a tough team."

Schilling quieted the critics and justified his manager's faith by allowing a run and three hits in seven innings he stood to earn his fifth victory of the postseason -- a major league record -- had Kim not faltered in the ninth.

"It looked like it was the right decision at the time. BK came in and looked phenomonal," Schilling said. "We were just one out away from winning. Give them credit. They just beat us, flat out. Tip your hat and move on."

After shutting down the Yankees in Game One, he returned Wednesday to limit New York to four runners while striking out nine.

Since 1999, playoff starters on three days' rest had been 1-9 with a 9.73 ERA. But Schilling was economical on Saturday night and needed just 88 pitches to get through seven innings Wednesday.

Arizona manager Bob Brenly turned to Kim in the eighth and he delivered, striking out the side. But as has been the Diamondbacks' Achilles heel throughout most of their four years in the league, they could not close the deal.

"It was an easy decision to take him out, considering he was starting on three days' rest," Brenly said. "We had a lead and we insisted all along we would go to BK for two innings if necessary and try to close the game out, just didn't work out that way. That was a tremendous outing by Curt Schilling tonight."

"I told them, 'I had at least another inning in me,' said Schilling about his conversation with Brenly before the eighth. "He said, 'B.K is fresh. Let's get him in there and close this out.' Tonight it just didn't work."

Yankees closer Mariano Rivera (1-0) -- possibly the best closer ever -- cruised through the 10th and improved to 2-0 with five saves and a 0.71 ERA in nine postseason appearances in 2001.

When Schilling struck out Justice to end the seventh he took a seat on the bench with the game deadlocked, 1-1.

Mike Stanton, the Yankees' lefthanded setup man, opened the eighth by retiring his 22nd straight batter in World Series competition. But Finley singled up the middle and Erubiel Durazo, getting a rare at-bat against a lefthander, launched a double just out of the reach of center fielder Bernie Williams.

Gonzalez scored ahead of a wide throw to the plate that allowed Durazo to take third. The decision to throw home proved costly when Matt Williams bounced to shortstop and pinch runner Midre Cummings was able to beat the throw home.

Yankee postseason ace Orlando Hernandez matched Schilling, allowing a run and four hits in 6 1/3 innings. He walked four, struck out five and managed to throttle the Diamondbacks' attack by working around their dangerous lefties and getting their three righthanded hitters out. Matt Williams, Reggie Sanders and Damian Miller were a combined 0-for-8 against Hernandez.

The Diamondbacks had Hernandez on the ropes from the start. Tony Womack singled and was bunted over -- the first of three sacrifices by Craig Counsell. Gonzalez was hit in the foot by a pitch and Durazo walked. But Hernandez struck out Game Two hero Matt Williams and retired Finley on a popout.

Womack, who was 0-for-11 in the first three games, got Arizona going again in the third. He walked and took second on a sacrifice. Gonzalez walked and Womack took third when Durazo flied to right. Hernandez then escaped the jam by getting Matt Williams to bounce out.

Shane Spencer opened the bottom of the third by lining a 1-0 pitch just over the wall in the right-field corner for his first homer of the postseason.

Finley led off the fourth with a single but Sanders -- one of those righthanded batters -- bounced into a double play. The play proved huge when Mark Grace crushed a 3-1 pitch into the upper deck in right field.

With Schilling in a groove, Arizona threatened again in the fifth as Womack doubled into the right-field corner. Brenly again opted to have Counsell sacrifice and Gonzalez followed with a fly ball near the right-field line. Spencer got under the ball and uncorked a one-hop throw that catcher Jorge Posada scooped and applied a barehand tag to Womack.

The Yankees had a golden opportunity to take the lead in the sixth as Scott Brosius became the second Yankee to reach base, lining a double over the head of Finley in center field. Rookie Alfonso Soriano bunted foul with two stikes out and Jeter, just 1-for-11 in the first three games, grounded weakly to first. O'Neill followed with a squib to first, stranding Brosius.

Hernandez ran into a bit of trouble in the seventh as Grace walked with one out and Miller was hit by a pitch. Torre opted for Stanton, who induced Womack to bounce into an inning-ending double play.

"Clearly we had a lot of chances to score early in the ballgame," Brenly added. "We had runners on base seemingly every inning. We had Hernandez on the ropes several times. Just could not come up, a couple double plays and could got get some rallies. Certainly, if we cash in, we win the ballgame but it didn't happen."


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