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Yanks last longer

A 12th-inning single by Jose Vizcaino sinks the Mets 4-3 in the longest game in Series history.

By MARC TOPKIN

© St. Petersburg Times, published October 22, 2000


NEW YORK -- Bad things just seem to happen to good teams at Yankee Stadium in October.

Saturday night -- actually early this morning -- the Mets found out just how bad. How painfully, agonizingly bad. It was the longest World Series game in history, and it had to feel like it.

Having survived a handful of odd mistakes early, the Mets were two outs from a one-run victory only to see the Yankees tie the opening game of the 96th World Series in the ninth and win it 4-3 in the 12th.

Jose Vizcaino drove in the winning run with a bases-loaded single to left off Turk Wendell.

photo
[AP photo]
Jose Vizcaino celebrates as he rounds first for the winning hit in the 12th inning of game 1.
"I'd like to believe we find a way to win," Yankees manager Joe Torre said. "I'd like to believe we don't quit."

The game took 4 hours, 51 minutes, and if the rest of the games are anything like the opener, this Subway Series is going to be quite a ride.

"I thought it was a heck of a game," Mets manager Bobby Valentine said. "We gave them a pretty good run for their money, and we just came up a little short."

Tampa's Tino Martinez started the winning rally with a one-out single to right. Jorge Posada followed with a double to right-center. The Mets intentionally walked Paul O'Neill to load the bases. After Luis Sojo popped out, Vizcaino delivered.

Starting pitchers Al Leiter and Andy Pettitte dominated early. The Yankees took a 2-0 lead in the sixth, but the Mets went on top 3-2 in the seventh with former Devil Ray Bubba Trammell delivering a two-run pinch single.

The Mets seemed to have things just as they wanted them going into the ninth. They had closer Armando Benitez on the mound, the bottom of the Yankees order coming to the plate and the Yankee Stadium crowd of 55,913 somewhat on its hands.

But O'Neill, after fighting off a half-dozen pitches from Benitez, drew a one-out walk. Pinch-hitter Luis Polonia, who had two post-season at-bats, dropped a single into right. With the crowd now in full roar, Vizcaino singled to left to load the bases, and Chuck Knoblauch's sacrifice fly to left tied the score.

Mariano Rivera ripped through the heart of the Mets order in the 10th, and the Yankees had what seemed like an excellent chance to win it, with runners on second and third with no outs.

But Mets left-hander Glendon Rusch got Martinez on a fly to short leftfield and, after an intentional walk, made an even bigger pitch, getting O'Neill to ground into a double play.

The Yankees threatened again in the 11th when Vizcaino singled with one out and Rusch bounced a full-count pitch that went to the backstop, allowing Vizcaino to race to third. But Wendell got Glenallen Hill to fly to right.

Yankees relievers held the Mets to one hit over the final five innings.

With the victory, the Yankees set a record by winning their 13th straight World Series game. They won final four in 1996 over Atlanta, then swept San Diego in 1998 and Atlanta in 1999. The only other team to win 12 straight were the great Yankees teams of 1927-28-32.

With Leiter and Pettitte starting strong, the Mets didn't get a runner past second in the first five innings, and the Yankees got just one.

The Mets came close, very close, to a run in the sixth. With Timo Perez on first with two outs, Todd Zeile ripped a ball to left that struck the very top of the padded wall and bounced back onto the field. Zeile, thinking it was a home run, pumped his first as he got to first. Perez, unfortunately for the Mets, did the same as he turned second.

But the ball was in play -- credit due to the fans who knew enough to not touch it -- and David Justice relayed it to Derek Jeter, who made a strong off-balance throw to the plate to nail Perez.

Earlier, Zeile and Jay Payton both stood at home plate and watched as balls rolled fair and they were called out. Mike Piazza inexplicably got picked off first.

The Yankees quickly seized the momentum from the Mets' miscues to take a 2-0 lead. Vizcaino led off with a single and, after an unsuccessful bunt, Jeter walked. Then Justice, whose three-run homer was the key hit in Tuesday's pennant-clincher, came up big again, ripping a double that went well over the head of centerfielder Payton, who seemed to be playing too shallow.

But the Mets came back and took the lead, chasing Pettitte in the process. Benny Agbayani, whose supposedly joking prediction that the Mets would win the Series in five games made front-page news, and Payton slapped back-to-back singles. Todd Pratt drew a walk to load the bases, and Valentine decided then to send Trammell to the plate to hit for shortstop Mike Bordick.

Trammell went to a 1-and-1 count and lined a single to left, driving in two to tie the score.

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