Thursday, November 01, 2001

Another page in Yankee lore




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        NEW YORK — Curt Schilling had enough rest. What he needed was more work.

        Arizona's indomitable pitching ace, asked to throw for the first time in his career on only three days' rest, responded with seven superb innings Wednesday night. But he was a helpless spectator when the New York Yankees rallied for a 4-3, 10-inning victory that squared the World Series at two games apiece.

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Derek Jeter celebrates his game-winning HR.
(AP photo)
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        The same people who wondered why Bob Brenly had rushed his ace right-hander are now wondering why he gave Schilling the early hook. Reliever Byung-Hyun Kim, one out from a save that would have given the Diamondbacks a 3-1 lead in the best-of-seven series, allowed a game-tying, ear-splitting two-run home run by Tino Martinez in the bottom of the ninth inning and, soon after, a game-winning solo shot by Derek Jeter with two outs in the 10th.

        When Schilling left the game, the Yankees' chances at a fourth straight World Series championship were about as remote as Rangoon. But in the last hour of October, and the first minutes of November, baseball's enduring dynasty staged one of its most remarkable comebacks.

        Maybe the most remarkable.

        “It's got to be right at the top,” Yankees manager Joe Torre said. “It's surprising. But it's not surprising when you think about this team. They never quit. It's a cliche, but it's true.”

        For 8 2/3 innings, the Yankees specialized in making outs Wednesday. For the second time in the series, Schilling held them to three hits over seven innings. This time, he struck out nine.

        “It was an easy decision to take him out, considering he was starting on three days' rest,” Brenly said of Schilling. “We had a lead and we insisted all along we would go to (Kim) for two innings if necessary and try to close the game out. It just didn't work out that way.”

        The move seemed sound enough when Kim was summoned from the bullpen and struck out the side in the bottom of the eighth inning with his submarine delivery.

        But with one out in the ninth, Paul O'Neill slapped a single to left field. Kim struck out Bernie Williams for the inning's second out, but he was unable to get a pitch past Martinez.

        The Yankees' first baseman, a free agent at season's end, drove Kim's first delivery over the wall in straightaway center field to tie the game and rock the House That Ruth Built. There has been talk that the Yankees will let Martinez go to pursue Oakland slugger Jason Giambi. That decision became a lot more difficult Wednesday night.

        “The beauty of the postseason is every time you're at the plate you have a chance to do something special,” said Jeter, who was 1-for-15 in the series before his walk-off home run. “I don't think Tino had a hit, either.”

        Say this for the Yankees: They know how to ration their offense. They are hitting only .160 for the series, yet have reduced it to a best two-out-of-three falls.

        “This is obviously a huge boost,” Jeter said. “But it doesn't mean anything if we don't come back and play well tomorrow. They (the Diamondbacks) are a tough team. Schilling might pitch tomorrow night, too.”

        E-mail tsullivan@enquirer.com. Past columns at Enquirer.com/columns/sullivan.



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