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Starters differ on Game 1 lessons

By MARC TOPKIN, Times wires

© St. Petersburg Times, published October 26, 2000

NEW YORK -- Andy Pettitte and Al Leiter have plenty of experience in big games. And having faced off in Game 1 of the Series, they will have even more to draw from when they meet again tonight.

"I don't know if I learned a lot (in the opener)," said Pettitte, who gave up eight hits and three runs in 62/3 innings. "I was making a lot of quality pitches and usually, when you make good pitches, you're going to get guys out.

"I pretty much threw a pretty good game. I was keeping the ball down, moving it in and out, the way I like to."

Pettitte, who pitched the Series clincher in 1998, said he is ready for the challenge. "I never really approach a game any differently," he said. "I'll just try to relax out there. If I get too caught up in the things that are going on I tend to struggle a little bit in those situations."

Leiter, who allowed two runs over seven innings Saturday, said he may do some things differently.

"I've already envisioned the lineup," he said. "I know what I want to do. There are certain things that I might make adjustments on, certain hitters in the lineup as far as location and pitch selection."

FAN CLUB: Orlando Hernandez's 12-strikeout performance Tuesday marked the 11th time a pitcher struck out at least 12 in a Series game, the first since Tom Seaver did it for the Mets in Game 3 of the 1973 Series against Oakland. Bob Gibson holds the record by striking out 17 Tigers in Game 1 of the 1968 Series. There has been one 15-strikeout performance (by Los Angeles' Sandy Koufax in 1963), one 14 (by Brooklyn's Carl Erskine in 1953), two 13s and six 12s. ... The teams tied the combined record by striking out 25 times.

BAT MEN: Marlins owner John Henry and Fox-TV's Keith Olbermann ended up with two pieces of the most valued souvenir of the Series: pieces of Mike Piazza's shattered bat. Both, so the story goes, simply asked the bat boys. Henry got the barrel, the same chunk Roger Clemens infamously tossed aside. Henry, trying to get financing for a new stadium, won't be putting it on display anywhere. "I gave it to my guest sitting with me; he's with Merrill Lynch, one of my biggest clients," Henry said. Olbermann has the handle and reportedly hasn't decided whether to keep it, auction it off for charity or loan it to the Hall of Fame. One New York collectibles dealer said either piece could bring $10,000.

YOU SAW IT COMING: What began as a tavern argument over the Series led to a stabbing and an attempted murder charge. Michael Maffia, 23, of Wappingers Falls, N.Y., is accused of stabbing Darryl Wassil, 23, of Putnam Valley, early Sunday in a parking lot. Wassil was in good condition at Westchester Medical Center.

HEATING UP: It seemed odd because the Mets were at home, but reliever Dennis Cook got into a shouting match with some heckling fans during Tuesday's game. The fans apparently were not impressed with Cook's pitching in the seventh inning, and he popped out of the dugout three times to voice his displeasure.

A-ROD ON HAND: Alex Rodriguez, the prize of the free-agent class, was in attendance at Shea Stadium on Wednesday. Is it just coincidence that the Mets are among the teams rumored to be interested in him?

RATINGS: The Mets' victory Tuesday drew a 12.4 national rating and 21 share. That's 26 percent lower than Game 3 of the 1999 World Series, and it left the Series on pace to becoming the lowest-rated one ever.

MISCELLANY: Mariano Rivera earned his sixth Series save, tying Rollie Fingers' record. He is 17-for-18 in post-season save opportunities. ... Tino Martinez is hitting .387 in the post-season. ... At 40 years, 1 month, 7 days, John Franco was the second-oldest pitcher to win a Series game. Dolph Luque of the New York Giants was 43 when he won for Washington in Game 5 of the 1933 Series. ... Having honored their 1969 championship team Wednesday, the Mets tonight will have stars from their 1986 team throw out the first pitch. ... Marc Anthony will perform the anthem, replacing Aretha Franklin, who is ill. ... Veteran Los Angeles Times writer Ross Newhan was elected to the baseball Hall of Fame on Wednesday by members of the Baseball Writers' Association of America.

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