Yankees do it again, 3-2

Brosius' two-run HR in 9th ties it

Soriano's RBI wins it in 12th

N.Y. takes 3-2 Series lead

D'backs closer Kim again allows tying HR with two out in 9th

World Series

November 02, 2001|By Joe Strauss | Joe Strauss,SUN STAFF

NEW YORK - The New York Yankees followed Wednesday night's improbable win with the unbelievable last night.

Alfonso Soriano's opposite-field, 12th-inning single off Albie Lopez scored Chuck Knoblauch to complete a carbon comeback from the night before and give the Yankees a 3-2 win over the Arizona Diamondbacks in Game 5 of a rapidly shrinking World Series.

Three innings before Soriano's game-winning hit, third baseman Scott Brosius extended the game with a two-out, two-run home run against star-crossed Diamondbacks closer Byung-Hyun Kim. Brosius' ninth-inning homer repeated the identical feat of first baseman Tino Martinez from the night before.

"It's Groundhog Day," said Yankees manager Joe Torre, referring to the Bill Murray movie in which the same day keeps repeating itself. "I don't know what's going on."

After losing the first two games of the Series on the road, the Yankees have grabbed a 3-2 lead in a manner as levitating to them as it is devastating to a fourth-year franchise that has lost three consecutive one-run decisions.

In a lightning span of four hitters, Kim undid the remarkable work of starting pitcher Miguel Batista, who allowed the Yankees nothing more than five singles in 7 2/3 shutout innings. As Yankee Stadium quaked around him, Kim crouched down at the mound and could not bring himself to look as Brosius circled the bases.

Several of his teammates drew close to console the 22-year-old South Korean before manager Bob Brenly summoned Mike Morgan to complete the inning.

Kim surrendered Martinez's two-out, two-run homer on Wednesday that erased a 3-1 Diamondbacks lead. Last night, Brosius was all that stood between the Yankees falling behind in the Series for a second time.

"I tried not to throw the same as yesterday, but things didn't go my way," Kim said through an interpreter. "I can't wait to have that chance again. As long as the manager gives me that chance, I'll be up to the challenge."

The series now returns to Phoenix, where the Yankees will attempt to clinch a fourth consecutive world championship and fifth in sixth years. The Diamondbacks will try to rally behind aces Randy Johnson and Curt Schilling but must first try to forget a recurring nightmare.

As stunning as the Game 4 loss had been, last night's was unthinkable to a team that today would be celebrating its first world championship had it simply closed a pair of two-run, ninth-inning leads.

"I know there'll probably be a lot of different opinions tomorrow, but I've said all along we make decisions based upon what we see with our eyes," Brenly said when asked if he considered an alternative to Kim as closer. "We have been around the ballclub all year. We know what our guys are capable of doing, what matchups we like, what matchups we don't like."

Brosius entered his telling at-bat only 3-for-16 in the series, prompting questions of whether Torre considered pinch hitting for him against Kim's sweeping sidearm motion. Torre, however, recalled Brosius' past World Series achievements. Brosius, the 1998 Series MVP, hit .391 with three home runs and 10 RBIs in 13 Series games prior to this October.

"If the situation presents itself, I can't help but look at the statistics he's had in the World Series," Torre said. "Sometimes, the matchup doesn't seem right, but human beings play this game and they dig down deep. I know it sounds a little corny, but it still seems to work."

Lopez started the 12th inning and took the loss after surrendering a leadoff single to Knoblauch, a sacrifice bunt to Brosius and Soriano's opposite-field slash. Right fielder Reggie Sanders' throw beat Knoblauch to the plate but short-hopped catcher Rod Barajas and bounced away.

The comeback only adds to the mystique of a team virtually invincible in tight games. Brenly wasn't among those buying the explanation of the Yankees winning because of an aura.

"I think that's cheapening what the Yankees are all about," he said. "They are a great baseball team. Trying to play it off to something supernatural, I think, takes away from the ability of their players."

This much is indisputable: The Yankees have won a record 10 consecutive World Series games at home and have taken six of their past seven World Series wins by one run. They also became the first team to win two games in the same World Series when trailing by at least two runs entering the ninth inning.

"I don't think you can go though the clubhouse and find anyone who's gone through two games like this. I'm a lot grayer than I was two days ago," said Yankees starting pitcher Mike Mussina, who left after eight innings trailing 2-0. "These guys for some reason believe they can come back no matter what the situation is because they've done it so often. It just so happens that two nights in a row on the biggest stage there can be, it's happened for us. The last two nights have been phenomenal."

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