Since we have some time to reflect before the big Game 6 tonight, let’s look back into the books to find us a Yesterday’s Hitter. Or, as Jane refers to our throwbacks – a YesterYear’s Hitter.
Caroline… this one’s for you.
It’s November 4th, 2001 in Arizona’s Bank One ballpark for Game 7 of the Series between the NY Yankees and the Arizona Diamondbacks. Each team has won every game in their own ballpark to reach this point, the first time that happened since the 1991 season.
Game 6 (don’t look Jane) was a massacre blowout of NY and Andy Pettitte by the Diamondback offense to reach Game 7. They set a World Series record for hits with 22 and handed NY their biggest defeat in 293 post season games. Pettitte was hammered for 6 runs in just two innings in the 15-2 Series tying win.
World Series Game 6 Played on Saturday, November 3, 2001 (N) at Bank One Ballpark
The Yankees were trying to win their 4th World Series ring in a row. They beat the A’s and the Mariners to reach the Series, both were 100 game winners!
True to form, these two battled each other for 5 scoreless innings (hmmm, what do we say about when these big games get “started”?) before the D’Backs finally broke through in the bottom of the 6th. Steve Finley singled and was driven home by Danny Bautista’s double to make it 1-0.
The Yankees, just as they have this year, answered right back in the 7th when an RBI single from Tino Martinez plated Derek Jeter for the tying run.
Curt Schilling stayed on the mound for the 8th inning. Curt was pitching on 3 days rest and had thrown over 300 innings in 2001. It was his 3rd start in the WS, Games 1,4 and 7. In the top of the 8th Alfonso Soriano crushed a Curt Schilling pitch into the seats to give the Yankees a 2-1 advantage.
But, this World Series featured several late inning comebacks (Including the 1st Mr. November Home Run) that marked it as one of the more thrilling contests in recent memory.
Rivera mowed down the D’Backs in the 8th. He struck out the heart of the lineup; Luis Gonzales (who had 57 HRs in ’01), Matt Williams (who HR’d in Game 2) and Danny Bautista who was having a big Series. The Yankees still led 2 to 1 going into the 9th.
The bottom of the 9th inning brought one of my favorite players to the plate to leadoff, former Cub Mark Grace (now a Fox Sports analyst). Mark led off the inning with a single into center.
The crowd got a little louder. Remember, this was indoors… this being Game 7.. .you can imagine the noise. Well, I hope you can.
Next up was Damian Miller. Bob Brenly, manager for the D’Backs, had put in a Pinch Runner for Grace (not the fastest guy you ever met) and was playing small ball with Miller. Miller’s bunt was fielded by Mariano Rivera who turned to 2nd and threw it away!
The tying, and winning, runs were on base with no outs!
Now can you hear the crowd?
Brenly ordered another bunt from the next hitter, Jay Bell, in an attempt to move up the runners. It didn’t work. Rivera threw out Pinch Runner David Dellucci at 3rd. 1 out and the tying run was at 2nd.. the potential winning run was at 1st.
Bob Brenly was pulling all the strings. He sent in another Pinch Runner at 1st, speedster Midre Cummings. When Tony Womack ripped a 2-2 pitch down the right field line for a game tying RBI double, the place went bonkers.
Now can you hear em?
The winning run was at 3rd base with only one out. Joe Torre did the only thing he could do.. he pulled the infield in trying to choke off the run. It backfired when Luis Gonzalez (he of the 57 HRs) hit it where they weren’t… a tiny little bloop that just cleared Derek Jeter and landed softly in the outfield grass… barely.
The winning run scored and now I know you can hear the crowd. If not, wait until tonight and then magnify the crowd by about ten : )
Hope you enjoyed our YesterYear’s Hitter – Luis Gonzalez.