Friday, November 02, 2001

Yankees always down, never out

The Associated Press

        NEW YORK - Scott Brosius must have learned something from watching Tino Martinez. Brosius matched his teammate's feat from the night before, hitting a game-tying homer with two outs in the bottom of the ninth inning Thursday as the New York Yankees beat the Arizona Diamondbacks 3-2 in 12 innings in Game 5.

        “It's pretty amazing,” Brosius said. “To have a situation two nights in a row and have it happen is pretty unbelievable.”

        Brosius saved the Yankees from going on the brink of elimination in the World Series with another homer off Arizona closer Byung-Hyun Kim. New York now heads back to the desert up 3-2 after Alfonso Soriano's winning hit.

        Before Wednesday, there had been just three homers that tied or won a Series game with two outs in the bottom of the ninth. So the Yankees just went out and did it on consecutive nights.

        “I can't be surprised, it just happened the night before,” manager Joe Torre said.

        That's the kind of run it's been for New York, winning four titles in five years under Torre.

        New York's bats have been unable to solve the Diamondbacks' pitching staff, except for their side-arming closer, Kim. They had scored just four runs in 41 innings against the rest of the staff before Brosius' drive gave them five runs in 3 1-3 innings off Kim.

        “One of the strengths of our team is that we play hard for 27 outs,” Brosius said. “You don't want to make your living waiting until the 26th out to make something happen, but it has worked the last two nights.”

        Like Martinez, Brosius is also in the final year of his contract. With prospect Drew Henson waiting in the minors, Brosius might have played his last home game at Yankee Stadium. He sure made it memorable.

        Acquired before the 1998 season from Oakland, all Brosius has done is win in New York. He has a .349 career average with four homers and 13 RBIs in 63 Series at-bats, winning the MVP in 1998 against San Diego and helping New York to two more titles.

        He has struggled this postseason with a .160 average, but he has had a knack for big hits. There was a two-run double in a 3-2 Game 2 victory against Seattle in the ALCS, and a go-ahead hit in the sixth inning of Game 3 against Arizona.

        None could match his feat in the ninth inning against Kim — not even his go-ahead homer in Game 3 of the 1998 Series against San Diego's Trevor Hoffman.

        Torre admitted he has considered pinch hitting for Brosius at times this postseason.

        “Every time I sort of think about it, I can't help but look at the statistics he's had in the World Series especially,” Torre said. “Sometimes the matchups don't seem right but human beings play this game and dig down deep. It sounds sort of corny, but it seems to work.”

        With the Yankees facing the prospect of must-win games against Arizona aces Randy Johnson Curt Schilling, Jorge Posada doubled leading off the ninth.

        After Shane Spencer and Chuck Knoblauch grounded out, Brosius delivered, driving a 1-0 pitch into the left-field seats that sent Yankee Stadium into delirium.

        Brosius ran around the bases with his arms raised over his head as his teammates poured out of the dugout in yet another wild celebration. The stadium shook as Brosius took a curtain call.

        “I did get goose bumps,” Brosius said. “This is a World Series game.

        Brosius then contributed to the winning run with a sacrifice bunt that set up Soriano's hit and sent Brosius and his teammates leaping out of the dugout again.

        “It's pretty amazing,” he said. “You can't draw up two better endings than what we had.”


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