Sunday, November 04, 2001

Destiny deserts Yanks in desert

The Associated Press

        PHOENIX — The magic the New York Yankees enjoyed at home sure didn't follow them to the desert for Game 6.

        Plenty of fat pitches, shoddy fielding and, once again, a lack of hitting Saturday night led to New York's worst loss in its 293-game postseason history, 15-2 to the Arizona Diamondbacks.

        “Nobody likes to get beat up as badly as we got beat up,” manager Joe Torre said. “The only saving grace is that it was only one game. We were in the position to be able to take this.”

        If the Yankees aren't sharper in Game 7 Sunday night, their bid for a fourth straight World Series title will fall one game short.

        Nothing went right for the Yankees this night as they dropped to 0-3 in Arizona. They trailed two batters into the bottom of the first inning — a deficit that grew to 15-0 after four innings, the most runs the Yankees had ever allowed in a postseason game.

        “They blew us out. There's no way to sugarcoat it,” shortstop Derek Jeter said. “They killed us.”

        On a night when the 10-run mercy rule was needed, New York manager Joe Torre pulled Jeter, Tino Martinez and Jorge Posada in the fifth inning.

        Frank Sinatra's “New York, New York” — a song played endlessly after New York wins at Yankee Stadium — was played after the game.

        “They do that in Baltimore, too,” Torre said. “The fans are having fun. This is their ballpark.”

        Andy Pettitte, one of Torre's most trusted big-game pitchers, lost for the second time this Series, failing to retire a batter in the third inning.

        He was sharp in a 4-0 loss in Game 2 — throwing 64 of 80 pitches for strikes with what he described as his best stuff of the year. Only Matt Williams' three-run homer and a dominating performance by Randy Johnson turned that game into a frustrating loss.

        “We were ready to close this thing out tonight. I've been fortunate enough to be to be in that opportunity several times now,” said Pettitte, who has started five of New York's 14 series clinching wins since 1996. “It's disappointing. I was expecting a lot more out of myself tonight.”

        Pettitte had nothing from the start, allowing a leadoff double to Tony Womack and an RBI single to Danny Bautista.

        A poor decision in the field by third baseman Scott Brosius contributed to a three-run second inning that proved to be more than enough for Johnson against a Yankees' team that has scored only 12 runs in six games.

        New York has scored only six runs in the Series before the ninth inning. But two game-tying two-run homers with two outs in the bottom of the ninth helped the Yankees win Games 4 and 5 in extra innings.

        “In our stadium a lot of things happened,” outfielder Bernie Williams said. “When we play here, it seems like we can't get anything going.”

        With the bases loaded and one out in the second inning, Johnson hit a grounder to Brosius. Instead of stepping on third to start an inning-ending double play, Brosius went home.

        His throw was slightly off line and Posada was unable to throw to first for a double play. That proved costly when Womack followed with a two-run single, and Bautista had an RBI single that made it 4-0.

        “It's just frustrating to be able to have a chance to get out of that second inning with Womack up,” Pettitte said. “I fell behind in the count on him. You can't walk him there. So I just had to throw balls basically right down the middle.”

        Posada then struck out with the bases loaded to end the third inning, and Arizona put the game away in the bottom half.

        Pettitte left after the first two batters reached, including Williams' double to right field over a slow-reacting Shane Spencer. Pettitte allowed six runs and seven hits in his shortest outing in 24 postseason starts.

        Jay Witasick came in, but provided no relief. He allowed hits to the first four batters he faced — including an RBI single by the hitting-challenged Johnson.

        After striking out Womack, Witasick gave up four more hits in a row and the Yankees were down 12-0 and thoughts were already turning to Roger Clemens vs. Curt Schilling on Sunday.

        A wild pitch on a third strike by Witasick and an error by second baseman Alfonso Soriano contributed to a three-run fourth inning, but by then the game was already out of hand.

        “You forget about it whether it was 15-2 or 3-2. It's still a loss,” Jeter said. “It doesn't matter what the score was if we win tomorrow.”


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