San Diego's Game 1 starter, Kevin Brown, was supposed to be the one with the killer look. Asked to describe Brown's intimidating mien, Stewart replied, "Well, I wouldn't know what a serial killer looks like, but...." That tough-guy image, though, took a hit when Brown, suffering from a sinus infection, couldn't go the distance—after losing twice as a Florida Marlin in the World Series last year following a stomach virus. A hard grounder off his left shin in the second inning on Saturday night didn't help any.
A weary Brown began sending up red flares in the fifth inning, when he told Bochy, "You might want to have somebody ready [for relief]." Then, before the seventh, Brown told his manager to "pay attention" to him. Thus warned, Bochy yanked his ace at the first sign of real trouble that inning: a single and a four-pitch walk with one out. Brown had thrown 108 pitches and run his 1998 pitching odometer to 288⅓ innings.
"I was a little surprised he came out [so soon]," New York shortstop Derek Jeter said. "But I knew he wasn't going to last all night because we made him throw a lot of pitches."
It took only six batters for the Yankees to turn a three-run deficit into a four-run lead. No other World Series team in the past 30 years had a bigger inning than New York's seven in the seventh. First Chuck Knoblauch played Wall-banger, popping a room-service fastball from the righty reliever into the leftfield seats for a game-tying homer. Five batters later Martinez jacked an upper-deck grand slam off Mark Langston, one pitch after umpire Rich Garcia had called a borderline 2-and-2 heater a ball. "I've seen it a thousand times, and it's a strike every time," Langston said. "It was right there."
Until that inning the crowd had shown unusual restraint, probably due to the vanilla flavor of the opponent. "It was like they were thinking, Who are the Padres? What are these guys going to be about?" said New York pitcher David Cone. But Martinez's blast made an audible impression upon Gwynn. "This place is a different kind of loud," Gwynn said. "After the grand slam, I couldn't hear myself breathing."
What little fascination this World Series held came from the fact that interleague play happened to leave a Yankees-Padres matchup a mystery. That benefited New York's uniquely creative Game 2 starter, Orlando Hernandez. San Diego had to solve this Rubik's Cube of a pitcher while getting its first look at him. Like most everyone else who had faced that challenge, the Padres failed. El Duque allowed one run over seven innings, giving him a 10-2 record with a 2.98 ERA against the 16 teams who were seeing him for the first time. The Cuban émigré has found himself a home; he and Game 1 winner David Wells are a combined 22-2 at Yankee Stadium.
The Yanks and their invigorated fans appeared to sense San Diego's vulnerability. Candace Brown, Kevin's wife, would allow their seven-year-old son, Ridge, to venture unaccompanied to a stadium bathroom only after removing his Padres garb. The Yankees jumped on Ashby from the start, a quintessential New York at bat in which Knoblauch worked out an eight-pitch walk after falling behind 0 and 2. By the end of Game 2, New York had outwalked its postseason opponents 55-26.
"First pitch I was taking all the way," Knoblauch said. "It turned out it was good for me and everybody on the bench. We got to see everything he had except a change—a sinker, a little cutter and a slider."
The walk and the throwing error by Caminiti led to three unearned runs. By the fifth the Yanks led 9-1, in part because of two-run homers by Jorge Posada and Bernie Williams, who has become a modern-day Yankees ghost. A free agent next month, Williams has floated through the postseason with a faraway look one Yanks executive blamed on "a personal issue." Fittingly, though innocently, Sheppard forgot to announce Williams during the Game 1 introductions. Sheppard sought out Williams in the clubhouse before Game 2 to apologize.
"Shakespeare said to err is human, to forgive, divine," the announcer told him.