The left-hander's masterful outing - three singles, 11 strikeouts - gives Arizona a 2-0 Series lead.
© St. Petersburg Times,
published October 29, 2001
PHOENIX -- It's not the humidity, it's the heat.
Specifically on Sunday night, the 98-mph heat coming from Randy Johnson's long left arm.
With Johnson flat-out dominating through all nine innings, with a run-scoring double by Danny Bautista and a three-run home run by Matt Williams, the Diamondbacks beat the Yankees 4-0 to take a 2-0 lead in the World Series.
The Yankees knew what to expect from Johnson, knew the Arizona ace would challenge them with a menacing combination of a blazing fastball and a filthy slider, and they still couldn't do anything about it.
"He was wonderful. He was sensational. He dominated like he's capable of doing," Yankees manager Joe Torre said. "He's terrific. He lived up to what he's supposed to be tonight, that's for sure."
Since extending his postseason losing streak to seven in the division series, Johnson has reeled off three impressive wins. He beat the Braves twice, allowing two earned runs over 16 innings, then was even better Sunday.
Johnson struck out 11, seven in the first three innings. He gave up just three singles, none until the fifth inning. He allowed only six fair balls to leave the infield. And he did it all in 110 pitches.
"He didn't make too many mistakes," catcher Damian Miller said.
When the Yankees actually mounted a rally by stringing together back-to-back singles to open the eighth, Johnson caught Scott Brosius looking at a 96-mph fastball, then got Yankees good-luck charm Luis Sojo to bounce into an inning-ending double play.
"He was amazing," Sojo said. "I don't think people should be surprised."
It was the first complete game shutout in Series play since Arizona teammate Curt Schilling threw one for Philadelphia in Game 5 of the 1993 Series. It was the fewest hits allowed since Orel Hershiser pitched a three-hitter for Los Angeles in Game 2 of the 1998 Series.
"He looked terrific to me, and I'm sure he looked that way to everybody else," Arizona first baseman Mark Grace said. "That's a great baseball team over there, and he just threw a three-hit shutout at them."
Johnson seemed more drained than elated over his first Series appearance. "I'm 38," he said. "Right now I feel like I am about 45. I really do. This is what every player in that clubhouse has waited for, the ones that have not been to a World Series. This is everybody's dream to be here, to be playing the Yankees. It's the biggest stage in sports."
"I'm so happy for him," Schilling said. "Any time somebody works so hard to be as good as he is, you just like to see them do well. He waited his whole career to be here."
New York's Andy Pettitte, who has been here before, pitched very well, too. And for a long time, it appeared Arizona's second-inning run might be the difference.
"There was pretty much a feeling among us that we were going to have to win that game 1-0," Grace said. "That guy is good, very good. Our left-handed hitters got abused by Andy Pettitte."
The score was 1-0 until the seventh, when the oft-maligned Williams did his part. The inning started with Pettitte hitting Luis Gonzalez, but before it ended the D'backs had hit back.
Gonzalez went hard into second to prevent Alfonso Soriano from turning a double play. Bautista smacked a ball that smacked Pettitte on the back of the right leg and caromed away, putting runners on first and second.
Williams didn't let them stay there long, launching Pettitte's 0-and-1 fastball high over the leftfield wall, a 412-foot blast that made him the first player to hit Series homers for three teams.
Williams struggled this season with injuries and inconsistency and was booed vociferously by the Bank One Ballpark fans during the division series.
He insisted Sunday it wasn't a big deal: "As I told you guys two weeks ago, it was nothing a couple hits wouldn't take care of. I'm glad to contribute."
In the first two games, Schilling and Johnson have held the Yankees to six hits and one run. "Randy and Curt feed off each other so much," Grace said. "It's a sorry thing to say, but you almost expect them to dominate."
The Series shifts to New York for Game 3 on Tuesday, and the Yankees can only hope the change in venues, in temperature and in the pedigree of Arizona's starting pitcher can alter the momentum. "We are looking forward to going home, no question," Torre said.
The D'backs, needing two wins to earn a championship in their fourth year, respectfully acknowledge there is more work to be done. "It was nice, obviously, to take two ballgames, but this is far from over," Johnson said.
Still, they're going to enjoy the ride.
"It's a pretty good feeling," Miller said.