Even with that fat cushion, lefthander Andy Pettitte, also working on three days' rest, could not get through the fourth inning. He left with the tying runs on base in a 7-5 game. That moment, though, is precisely when the Yankees' crisis passed. Mike Stanton, Jeff Nelson and then Rivera-set up by a one-out emergency cameo by Game 3 winner Orlando Hernandez-locked down the series. Stanton, Nelson and Rivera have a 1.08 ERA over 125 postseason innings. Rivera, whose 0.34 postseason ERA is the best in baseball history, ended the series only eight outs shy of breaking Whitey Ford's record of 33 consecutive scoreless postseason innings. "That's where their experience kicks in," Beane said. " Stanton struggled in September, and then it's October and he was lights out. Nelson has struggled against lefties, and he was lights out. And trying to get past Mariano is like trying to climb Mount Everest."
After the final out Torre bawled because "of what this team has come through all year," including an 0-7 finish to the regular season. Meanwhile, the Yankees bought 10 cases of champagne from the Athletics. So subdued was their celebration that they didn't even crack open two of the cases. Torre's Yankees have been here before, though never quite like this.