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Diamondbacks answer back

Posted: Sunday, November 04, 2001

PHOENIX -- The Arizona Diamondbacks made the New York Yankees pay dearly for all the merriment in the Bronx.

They set a World Series record with 22 hits and, behind Randy Johnson and Danny Bautista, beat the Yankees in a historic 15-2 rout Saturday night to set up every fan's fantasy -- Game 7.

When it was over, the sellout crowd was singing along to Frank Sinatra's ''New York, New York'' as it played throughout Bank One Ballpark, and looking forward to Sunday night.

It should be a classic: Arizona ace Curt Schilling pitching for the first time against the man he credits with jump-starting his career.

''I could not have come up with this -- Game 7 vs. Roger Clemens,'' Schilling said. ''I couldn't have dreamt this. I'm not that big a dreamer.''

After blowing two ninth-inning leads with one out to go at Yankee Stadium in Games 4 and 5, the Diamondbacks took out their pent-up frustration on Andy Pettitte and his relief.

''We left New York scratching our heads. We had those games won,'' Luis Gonzalez said.

Arizona bounced back to hand the Yankees their most lopsided loss in 293 postseason games. The Diamondbacks came within one run of matching the biggest rout ever in the Series.

''These games, especially in the postseason, are an aberration. It's a freak thing,'' Arizona manager Bob Brenly said.

''As heartbreaking as those games were, all three losses in New York, they had no bearing on this game,'' he said. ''You can stink up the joint one night and come back and win the next.''

Matt Williams doubled twice during an eight-run eruption in the third, while Bautista added five RBIs and Reggie Sanders had four hits.

Gonzalez hit an RBI single that made it 15-0 in the fourth and was pulled by Brenly. Yankees manager Joe Torre yanked Derek Jeter the next inning, and later considered letting a non-pitcher take the mound.

''Nobody likes to get beat up as badly as we got beat up,'' Torre said. ''The only saving grace is that it was only one game. We were in the position to be able to take this.''

By then, it was clear both teams and the crowd of 49,707 already were anticipating the first Game 7 in the Series since 1997, when Florida rallied past Cleveland in 11 innings.

''Everybody came out hitting the ball well tonight,'' Johnson said. ''Tip your hat to all of our hitters tonight. It makes your job easier.''

It will be the Yankees' first Game 7 since the 1964 World Series, when Bob Gibson led St. Louis past New York and its current pitching coach, Mel Stottlemyre.

Stottlemyre sent Clemens home in the middle of the game.

''I told him to go back early. I didn't want him to see anymore,'' Stottlemyre said.

The home team has won all six games in the Series despite a strange statistic -- Arizona has outscored the Yankees 34-12.

The fans were in a partying mood all night, from the time Tony Womack led off with a double and scored on Bautista's single, to the moment they sang along to ''New York, New York.''

''I heard it over and over and over in Yankee Stadium, and so we decided to have a little fun,'' Diamondbacks owner Jerry Colangelo said. ''Hey, it's still a game. And if they can't take a little fun, then the hell with them.''

The fans were forgiving, too.

Reliever Byung-Hyun Kim, who gave up a pair of crushing home runs the previous two games, got a big cheer when his picture was shown on the scoreboard. The fans above the left-field bullpen even chanted, ''We want Kim!'' in the later innings.

Greg Colbrunn's single in the sixth gave Arizona 21 hits, breaking the mark shared by the New York Giants (1921) and St. Louis (1946).

Yankees owner George Steinbrenner, who skipped last weekend's games at Arizona, showed up but had nothing to cheer about. Neither did their No. 1 fan, New York City Mayor Rudolph Giuliani, who attended with 25 family members of rescue workers killed in the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks.

They saw Johnson, who threw a three-hit shutout in Game 2, beat Pettitte and the Yankees for the second time in a week. The Big Unit blanked them until the sixth, exited after the seventh and left open the possibility of pitching in relief in Game 7.

''Nothing is out of the question,'' Johnson said. ''I only threw 103 pitches and this is the World Series and it would be Game 7. I have four months to rest.

''If I can help in any way, I'll be available.''

Johnson also helped out with his bat. He was hitting only .087 this year when he delivered an RBI single in the game-breaking third. He also scored two runs for the first time in his career, making him the first pitcher to do it in a Series game since Gibson in 1968.

Pettitte, who won the 1998 clincher that started the Yankees' run of three straight championships, was awful. He lasted only two-plus innings, the shortest of his 24 postseason starts.

''Obviously, I was expecting a lot more out of myself,'' he said. ''It was a shock. To see that inning go on, it was almost as amazing as those home runs we hit.''

After three innings, every Arizona starter had a hit. By the fourth, they all had at least one RBI.

Jay Witasick, who relieved Pettitte, was tagged for a Series-record eight earned runs.

Schilling will start on three days' rest for the second time in the series. He won the opener, then was in position to win Game 4 before Kim blew it.

Clemens won Game 3, and will be pitching the biggest game of his Hall of Fame career.

A decade ago, in a weight room at the Astrodome during an offseason workout, Clemens chewed out Schilling, telling the young pitcher he was wasting his talent.

Chastised, Schilling started changing his ways, on and off the field. Earlier this week, Schilling said Clemens' sharp words pointed him in the right direction to becoming a top pitcher.

Schilling, who cheered Johnson from the dugout, began thinking about Game 7 after Arizona's big third inning.

''I started breathing like I was pitching, which was odd, because I realized it was probably going to happen,'' Schilling said. ''I started to get a little nervous about it.''

Notes: Williams became the first player to hit two doubles in an inning in a Series. ... Johnson struck out Jeter in the first inning for his 412th strikeout of the year, combining the regular season and postseason. Sandy Koufax set the old record of 411 in 1965.



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