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Jeter the first Mr. November

Yankees star caps comeback just after midnight with winning homer in 10th.

By MARC TOPKIN

© St. Petersburg Times,
published November 1, 2001


photo
[AP photo]
Derek Jeter gets mobbed after his homer in the 10th, completing a comeback from a 3-1 ninth-inning deficit.
NEW YORK -- The decision Arizona manager Bob Brenly made to start Curt Schilling on short rest turned out to be a good one. It's the decision he made to take Schilling out after seven innings that didn't work out too well.

The Yankees tied the score when Tampa's Tino Martinez hit a two-run home run with two outs in the ninth inning off closer Byung-Hyun Kim, then won it 4-3 when Derek Jeter homered on a full-count pitch with two outs in the 10th.

It was the first Series game to start on Halloween, and the first to finish in November, ending at 12:04 a.m. with much of the Yankee Stadium crowd of 55,863 still on hand.

The Series is tied at 2, but the Yankees have history on their side. Of the 37 teams to win Game 4 to even a Series, 21 went on to claim the championship.

The Yankees might have the pitching matchups in their favor in what is now a best-of-three.

The Yankees have Mike Mussina, Andy Pettitte and Roger Clemens rested and ready to pitch in order. Having pitched Schilling on Wednesday, the D'backs will use journeyman Miguel Batista tonight, Randy Johnson on full rest Saturday and Schilling on short rest if there is a Game 7 on Sunday.

Much was made of Brenly's decision to pitch Schilling on one less day's rest than normal, but there didn't seem to be any noticeable difference.

Schilling again was dominant, allowing three hits over seven innings while striking out nine. The Yankees helped him early by allowing several quick innings, and Schilling finished strong, stranding runners at third in his final two innings. He threw 88 pitches and Brenly, perhaps thinking ahead to a potential Game 7, decided that was enough.

Kim retired the Yankees in order in the eighth but was not nearly as effective in the ninth. Paul O'Neill got the Yankees started with a bloop single to left, and one out later Martinez ripped the first pitch he saw over the fence.

Of the 10 homers Kim allowed during the regular season, eight were to left-handed batters.

The Yankees looked as if they might win the game right there when Jorge Posada walked and second baseman Craig Counsell slipped trying to field David Justice's seemingly routine grounder, but Kim struck out Shane Spencer.

Yankees closer Mariano Rivera didn't allow a ball to be hit out of the infield in the 10th. The first two Yankees went down quickly in the bottom half and Jeter, 1-for-15 to that point, drove Kim's pitch over the rightfield wall.

New York starter Orlando Hernandez did a pretty good job himself when it mattered most, holding the D'backs to one run despite allowing 10 baserunners (four hits, four walks, two hit batters) in his six-plus innings.

The score was tied at 1 until the eighth, when Erubiel Durazo doubled in Luis Gonzalez and pinch-runner Midre Cummings scored on an ground ball to give the D'backs a 3-1 lead they carried to the ninth, one out from a comfortable 3-1 Series lead.

The Yankees took a brief lead in the third. Schilling retired his first six hitters, but Spencer, a surprise starter ahead of Chuck Knoblauch in leftfield, knocked a 1-and-0 pitch over the rightfield fence.

The Diamondbacks answered right back. Mark Grace, the 14-year veteran who said he was honored by the chance to play in a Series game at hallowed Yankee Stadium, became part of the history, driving a 3-and-1 pitch from Hernandez into the third deck.

Spencer, for the second straight night, made a key defensive play, keeping the score tied in the fifth. After catching Gonzalez's fly ball, Spencer fired a one-bounce throw home. Catcher Posada grabbed the ball inside of the plate and stretched back across the line, with the ball in his bare hand, to tag Tony Womack just before he slid across the base.

The Yankees got out of another jam in the seventh. Hernandez walked Grace with one out and hit Damian Miller, but Mike Stanton came on and got Womack to hit into a double play.

Schilling worked his own way out of trouble in the bottom half of the inning. He started by allowing a single to Bernie Williams, the third Yankees hit of the night, and walked Martinez but then got Posada to bounce into double play and struck out Justice for the third time.

The D'backs went ahead in the eighth. After Gonzalez singled with one out, Durazo, a left-handed hitter facing lefty Stanton, ripped a ball into the right-centerfield gap. Gonzalez stumbled around second but rumbled home, scoring easily as Alfonso Soriano's relay went well wide of the plate.

Durazo took third on the errant throw, and that was important, too. Matt Williams bounced a ball to shortstop, but pinch-runner Cummings slid across the plate ahead of Jeter's throw and was ruled safe when Posada dropped the ball.

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