Clemens throws off D"backs

"Rocket," Rivera whiff 13 in 2-1 victory to slice Arizona lead

Schilling moved up

Diamondbacks drop pop-ups, game as N.Y. shines in field

World Series

October 31, 2001|By Joe Strauss | Joe Strauss,SUN STAFF

NEW YORK - Showing they"ll remain defending world champions until some one can prove otherwise, the New York Yankees exploited seven driven innings from starting pitcher Roger Clemens, an ugly defensive performance by a nervous opponent and a dominant performance from closer Mariano Rivera to beat the Arizona Diamondbacks, 2-1, in Game 3 of the World Series last night at Yankee Stadium.

Played out before a chanting crowd of 55,820 including President George W. Bush, the combination three-hitter allowed the three-time world champions to halve the Diamondbacks" lead to 2-1 in the best-of-seven event.

More importantly, the Yankees forced rookie manager Bob Brenly into the Series" pivotal decision: to start Game 1 winner Curt Schilling tonight on three days" rest for the first time in his career.

Third baseman Scott Brosius" two-out, sixth-in ning single against Diamond backs reliever Mike Morgan broke a 1-1 tie that had defied three errors, as many wild pitches and Clemens" lock down.

Brenly had clutched his choice of starters before the game like a poker player holding an uncertain hand. Though his team still leads the Series, pitching Miguel Batista tonight as originally projected would leave the Diamondbacks vulnerable to a possible Game 7. Schilling's return tonight potentially makes him available for the decisive game.

Yankees manager Joe Torre has no such predica ment. He will send Orlando Hernandez tonight knowing that Clemens could return on regular rest for a Game 7. The Diamondbacks would be well advised to come dressed tonight for All Hallows as National League champions.

Bush arrived via helicopter about an hour before the first pitch. His presence became the centerpiece for a security sweep that had all fans pass through metal detectors and media stand in hour-long lines to have equipment and identification checked.

Police passed magnetic wands over players as they entered the stadium, a procedure no one complained about given the unprecedented circumstances in which the game was played.

"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. We"ve all been spoiled by being free to go wher ever we please." said Torre.

Met by a powerful wave of applause, Bush emerged from the Yankees dugout to throw a ceremonial first pitch strike followed by a thumbs up. The president then sat in shirt sleeves in owner George Steinbrenner's box with, among others, his wife and daughter, national security adviser Condoleezza Rice, New York Gov. George Pataki, comedian Billy Crystal and Regis Philbin, who became the answer to the trivia question: Who wants to be a hanger-on?

Beyond the bomb-sniffing dogs and Jersey walls, the night was wrapped poignantly within reminders of Sept. 11, including a torn American flag from the World Trade Center that fluttered from atop the center-field facade. An F-14 shook the stadium after the son of a New York City fire chief sang the national anthem.

The moment of reflection then became a night of immediacy for the Yankees, well aware that no team had ever rallied from a 3-0 deficit to win a best-of-seven post season series. Indeed, no team in such a predicament has ever forced a seventh game.

Anderson vs. Clemens resembled a Classic mismatch. The Diamondbacks left-hander had not started since Sept. 8 and allowed 25 home runs in 133M-- innings this season.

Better known in Baltimore as the Cleveland Indians" pivotal 11th pitcher in their upset of the Orioles in the 1997 American League Championship Series, Anderson entered with a 8.50 ERA against the Yankees.

Clemens, the presumptive AL Cy Young Award winner, again defied a tender right hamstring to throw his team a lifeline.

The Yankees took a 1-0 lead on catcher Jorge Posada's second-in ning leadoff home run. It was Posada's second home run in four career at-bats against Anderson. It also broke a string of 18 consecutive scoreless innings for the Yankees, longest by a Series team since the 1988 Oakland Athletics.

Brenly's explanation for giving Anderson a start was his left-hand edness and his disregard for pressure. Anderson, after all, is more renowned for singeing himself with an iron, taking a nude sleepwalk and cutting his finger on a cologne bottle.

For six innings, the teams zagged between scoring chances. The Diamondbacks lost two outs on the bases in the first inning and managed just one run after loading the bases with one out in the fifth as Game 2 hero Matt Williams" sacrifice fly scored Steve Finley to force a 1-1 tie.

Williams" next at-bat nearly brought the Diamondbacks a lead in the sixth inning. With two outs, Clemens hit Reggie Sanders on the elbow with a pitch. Sanders stole second base and took third when Yankees second baseman Alfonso Soriano smothered Erubiel Durazo's grounder for an infield hit.

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