Wells meant it too. As Costner left, Wells called out, "You want my jock?" Costner politely declined.
The Indians tied the series the next day, breaking a 1-1 tie in the 12th inning on the now infamous bunt play. After Martinez, slow to field the bunt by Travis Fryman, shot-put an awkward changeup to first base; after second baseman Chuck Knoblauch failed to give Martinez a proper target at the bag and then argued petulantly for interference after the throw hit Fryman and as the ball rolled untouched for what seemed like forever on the infield dirt; after Knoblauch made a poor throw home, just failing to nail the staggering pinch runner Enrique Wilson—after all that butchery—die Yankees blamed home plate umpire Ted Hendry for not ruling Fryman out. "I wouldn't change anything if I had to do it again," Knoblauch said after the game. The next day, after discussing the episode with his wife, Lisa, and Pirozzolo during the flight to Cleveland, he finally admitted, "I screwed up."
Colon kept the Yankees in a funk in Game 3, during which Manny Ramirez hit one of four Indians home runs. It was Ramirez's 13th career postseason dinger, more than anyone except Mickey Mantle and Reggie Jackson (18 each) and Ruth (15). When asked about joining the company of Ruth, Ramirez replied, "I don't know. You'll have to go ask him."
Said Cleveland shortstop Omar Vizquel, "The guy has no pressure on him. He doesn't know much about situations. He just likes to hit. He could be in a jungle naked surrounded by lions and still hit."
Hernandez brought a similar calm to the mound in Game 4. Working in a Championship Series is no bigger to him than pitching for Industriales in a Havana bandbox or against Japan in a world tournament or, if his story of his escape from Cuba is to be believed, riding a rickety boat to freedom.
As New York's No. 4 starter, Hernandez hadn't pitched in the sweep of the Rangers in the Division Series. "He thinks and acts like a Number 1," Cone says. "He couldn't understand why he didn't start Game 1 of this series. He thought it was his turn."
After Hernandez restored the Yankees' confidence, Wells restored their series lead. He overcame a two-run first inning caused, he said, by pregame hecklers in the bullpen who flustered him with disparaging comments about his mother. Said Torre, "I'm probably prouder of this effort than maybe the [five] shutouts or even the perfect game, because of when it happened, what it meant to us and how he didn't panic."
Wells's win occurred on the 50th anniversary of Cleveland's last world championship and, again according to the El Duque legend, the 29th birthday of Hernandez, whom some baseball people think may be as old as 32. "I say I am 29, and my birth papers say I am 29, so I am 29," Hernandez said through an interpreter.
After Game 5 someone wheeled into the New York clubhouse a cart carrying a large birthday cake topped with candles in the shape of a 2 and a 9. One by one, feeling much better about themselves and their clubhouse fare than they had 48 hours earlier, the Yankees dug in. They were so close to the World Series, they could taste it.