Carter crowns Jays 3-run HR in 9th foils Phillies, 8-6, for 2nd title in row

October 24, 1993|By Jim Henneman | Jim Henneman,Staff Writer

TORONTO -- It was almost as if this one was scripted by the gods of misadventures.

In one of the most storied World Series ever played, the Toronto Blue Jays staged one of the most remarkable turnarounds in history here last night. In the process, they beat the Philadelphia Phillies, 8-6, to become the first team in 15 years to win back-to-back championships.

A three-run home run by Joe Carter with one out in the bottom of the ninth inning off Mitch Williams, the Phillies' erratic closer, carried the Blue Jays to their dramatic victory.

The final rally rubbed out an equally stunning comeback by the Phillies, who wiped out a 5-1 deficit in the seventh to take the lead 6-5 with the help of Len Dykstra's three-run homer. But the Phillies could not live with the prosperity.

To the bitter end, Phillies manager Jim Fregosi stayed with the partners who took him to the dance. And in the end, he got stood up.

Williams, ineffective throughout much of the postseason, finally lit the fuse to an explosion from which the Phillies could not escape. He gave up a walk to leadoff hitter Rickey Henderson to start the ninth inning, got Devon White to fly out, then surrendered a single to series MVP Paul Molitor before Carter sent his shot down the left-field line.

Williams, who was also the loser in the Phillies' bitterly disappointing, 15-14 loss in Game 4, and his teammates didn't bother to look. The sound was all too familiar as 52,195 SkyDome spectators erupted to start a joyous celebration that would last into the wee hours of the morning.

Molitor, who had three hits, including a home run, a run-producing triple, and the hit that preceded Carter's home run, capped an incredible year by earning MVP honors.

"When I chose to sign with the Blue Jays, it was a difficult decision [after 15 seasons with the Milwaukee Brewers]," he said. "But once I came over here, I started to have visions that the Blue Jays could be the first team in 15 years to win the World Series back-to-back.

"I didn't want to say anything while we were still playing, but it's been the best year I've had. I can't explain why, at age 37 and with all of the injuries I've had, that would happen, but it did.

"To win a game like that is a feeling you can't describe," said Molitor. "What was it -- the first time since 1960?"

Indeed, Carter's game-winner marked the first time that the World Series ended with a home run since Bill Mazeroski's homer gave the Pirates a 10-9 win over the Yankees in Game 7 in 1960. But that home run merely broke a tie, it did not bring the Pirates from behind to win.

Carter, who caught the ball for the last out when the Blue Jays clinched the World Series last year and the ALCS this year, had said he either wanted to do it again, or drive in the winning run.

"When you're behind in the ninth inning, you can't very well catch the third out," said Carter. "But when Mitch [Williams] came in, we knew something good was going to happen," said Carter, fully aware that the Phillies closer had been having more than his share of problems.

"I hadn't faced him since he was in Texas [with the Rangers], but I knew his velocity wasn't good and that the only pitch he was getting over was the slider. On the 2-and-1 pitch, I swung through the ball, and then I told myself 'just get a hit, you don't have to hit a home run.'

"He threw me a slider, down and in, and I'm definitely a low-ball hitter. When I hit it, I lost it in the lights and I didn't know if it was high enough [to clear the fence]. When I saw it go over -- you saw me jumping up and down, but you can't believe how I felt."

Fregosi is certain to be criticized again for relying too heavily on Williams -- for the second time in three games Roger Mason was removed after pitching more than two scoreless innings. He went 2 2/3 in the scoring spree that was Game 4 and 2 1/3 last night.

Mason had retired seven batters in a row after giving up a single to Roberto Alomar, the first batter he faced in the sixth inning. David West and Larry Andersen proceeded to load the bases on walks in the eighth before catcher Pat Borders finally popped out to end a tense inning.

Then "The Wild Thing" appeared to start the bottom of the ninth and Fregosi was offering no apologies. "Mitch has been our closer all year," said Fregosi. "He's one of the reasons we're here."

And probably the primary reason why Canada today is celebrating its second straight World Series championship. Duane Ward, the last of four Blue Jays pitchers, got the win, while Williams was charged with his loss and second blown save of the series.

"I was trying to pitch him away," Williams said. "I'm not going to commit suicide. I have next year to worry about and we'll have a good team.

"I felt very good coming in," Williams added. "I didn't have anything in Game 4, but I can't say that was the reason this time. It was one pitch, the season is over."

In the beginning, it hardly looked like the end would be so dramatic.

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