Sloppy D'backs drop opportunity, take cold comfort

Misplays in N.Y. chill benefit Yankees

wrist of Gonzalez only bruised


World Series

October 31, 2001|By Roch Kubatko | Roch Kubatko,SUN STAFF

NEW YORK - The best-fielding team in the National League caught nothing but flak for its abysmal performance in Game 3 of the World Series.

Unable to get acclimated to temperatures more suitable for Canadian football, the Arizona Diamondbacks committed three errors and didn't make other plays that contributed to their 2-1 loss to the New York Yankees.

Shortstop Tony Womack booted one ball and bounced another to first that Mark Grace scooped up to end the sixth inning. Catcher Damian Miller failed to catch a pop-up near the screen in the fourth, then extended the inning when one in fair territory fell beyond his outstretched mitt.

The ball had so much backspin that it rolled foul without him touching it, but Miller still was charged with an error. He later collided with Grace on another pop-up in front of the Yankees' dugout.

"They gave us five or six outs. Usually we jump all over those situations," said Yankees pitcher Roger Clemens, offering a compliment to his opponents' resilience but illustrating their clumsiness.

The Diamondbacks also threw three wild pitches and had a runner picked off.

Manager Bob Brenly laid most of the blame for the errors on the blustery conditions. "It was extremely cold at field level," he said. "Especially on the pop-ups behind home plate, there seemed to be a swirling wind. It really played tricks with those balls. It was cold for both teams. We just didn't play particularly good defense tonight."

Gonzalez stays in lineup

Luis Gonzalez remained in Arizona's lineup despite being hit on the wrist by Andy Pettitte leading off the seventh inning of Game 2.

Gonzalez escaped with only a bruise, so the Diamondbacks retained the services of a player who hit 57 homers in the regular season and three more in the playoffs.

"I've been hit three or four times this season on my hands, pitchers trying to pitch up and in to me," said Gonzalez, who was 1-for-4 last night. "I'm thankful [Monday] was an off day because it would have been sore, but I probably would have ran out there anyway."

`El Duque' gets call

No matter what happened last night, Yankees manager Joe Torre planned to use Orlando Hernandez in Game 4 rather than bring back former Oriole Mike Mussina, who lost Game 1, on short rest.

"Once you do that, you start a domino effect," Torre said. "I have confidence in `El Duque,' as long as he's healthy."

Grace pays homage

Grace made his first visit to Yankee Stadium, which he anticipated with the enthusiasm of a small child. "It's perfect. It's more than I ever imagined," he said.

Walking through Monument Park, with plaques honoring legendary players like Babe Ruth, Lou Gehrig and Joe DiMaggio, reminded Grace of something his father once told him.

"He taught me to remove my hat in the presence of greatness," Grace said, "so when I went out there I made sure to remove my hat and pay my respects to all the great Yankees that have made history and made baseball the great game that it is today."

Ground zero visit

Brenly visited ground zero on Monday and was shocked by what he saw.

"I don't know if I am able to process the things that I saw," Brenly said. "It was surreal. It almost seemed like something from a bad movie set. It's hard to fathom that it's real, but the thing I drew from it more than anything else was the tremendous attitude of the workers down there."

Gonzalez, Grace, Randy Johnson and Curt Schilling were among a group of players who also traveled to the site.

"We did it out of respect to the families and to show our appreciation to the firefighters, to the police officers, to the many volunteers," Gonzalez said.

Just an average Joe

Torre was subjected to the same security checks as everyone else at Yankee Stadium, where fans and media entering the ballpark were searched and bomb-sniffing dogs roamed the premises.

"I insist on that," he said. "We all have to have patience for what's going on in the world today. We certainly want the world to be a safe place to live."

Hazardous-materials specialists and about 1,500 police officers, some in plain clothes, were assigned to the game, in which President Bush threw out the first pitch.

Strike from No. 1 pitcher

Bush, aiming to project an air of normalcy even after the government warned of possible new terror attacks, received a thunderous cheer as he strode to the mound from the Yankees' dugout, wearing a sweat shirt emblazoned with "FDNY," a tribute to the New York City Fire Department.

He stood on the pitcher's mound and scanned the upper reaches of a sellout crowd of more than 57,000, then gave a thumbs-up sign.

Then, with a quick windup, he threw the ball just off the center of the plate - a strike - to Yankees backup catcher Todd Greene, and walked off the mound to chants of "U-S-A, U-S-A."

Bush's appearance "shows we're not afraid, we're undeterred and that life is moving on as it should," Mayor Rudolph Giuliani said.

Ratings are a mix

World Series television ratings were mixed, with the average for the first two games up 6 percent from last year even though Saturday night's opener set a record low.

Fox's coverage of Arizona's two wins averaged a 12.7 rating and 21 share, Nielsen Media Research said yesterday. That's up from a 12.0/21 for last year's first two games.

The Associated Press contributed to this article.

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