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Ten Years On: Diamondbacks 3, Yankees 4 - Halloween Horror House That Ruth Built

Coming to a theater near you... [Pic: Doug Pensinger/ALLSPORT]
Coming to a theater near you... [Pic: Doug Pensinger/ALLSPORT]

I wonder if they have Halloween in Korea? After tonight, they'll probably use the video of this game to terrorize small children, because Byung-Hyun Kim gave up a two-run homer with two outs in in the ninth inning, to Tino Martinez, allowing the Yankees to tie the game. Worse to follow as, left in there for a third inning, Kim let Derek Jeter and the Yankees walk it off with another homer, to become the first team since the 1929 Philadelphia A's to win a World Series after being two runs down in the bottom of the ninth. That's 72 years.

Remember when we were 2-0 up in this series? Me neither. You can cross that all off, for this series has now become, effectively, a best of three. Though we do still have two games in Arizona, so whatever happens tomorrow in New York, it'll be decided at Bank One Ballpark.

It would be very easy to blame Kim for this one, but there's plenty of responsibility to go around. First of all, what was Brenly doing, leaving Kim out there for a third inning in a pivotal World Series Game? This was Kim's 168th appearance in an Arizona uniform. Know how many times he has got nine outs? Three. Admittedly, those have gone pretty well - over those nine innings, he allowed one hit with, get this, seventeen strikeouts. But that's the difference: none of them saw him concede a run or require more than 37 pitches. He threw 61 pitches tonight. Kim never threw that many in the regular season.


Well, it's understandable, seeing how the bullpen was thin, having been so overworked in the previous three ga.... Argh, who am I kidding? Since the end of the NLCS on October 21 - that's ten days - the Arizona bullpen had thrown a grand total of 4.2 innings. Mike Morgan and Greg Swindell were the only pitchers the Diamondbacks used. Are we operating with a three-man relief corps or something? "We hadn't talked about (Kim pitching three innings) before the game," Brenly said. "But BK throws every day and throws a lot of pitches. It wasn't really pushing him beyond what he can do." Well, the scoreboard begs to differ on that one, Bob.

Worth pointing out the offense were even less clutch than last night, going 0-for-7 with runners in scoring position. The 1st and 3rd innings proved similar. Tony Womack got on to lead things off, was bunted to second by Craig Counsell, with Luis Gonzalez then getting a free pass to put two on with one out. In the first, Erubiel Durazo drew a walk to load the bases, but Matt Williams struck out on a full-count and Steve Finley popped out on the infield. In the third, Durazo flew out to right and Womack advanced, but Williams grounded out. One wonders, in hindsight, about the wisdom of batting Durazo clean-up. Sure, he'd gone 2-for-3 with a walk last night, but had had only four PAs over the first two rounds of the post-season.

The fifth inning was another missed opportunity. Womack doubled to lead off this time - the fourth time in five attempts we'd got the lead-off man aboard, with Counsell yet again bunting him over. [Craig's three sacrifice hits in one game were only the second time a player has done that in World Series history. The last was way back, before the war... No: the other war, the Great one. Back in 1906 when Joe Tinker, of "...to Evers to Chance" fame, did it for the Cubs. Curiously, Placido Polanco, in Game 4 of our series against St. Louis this year, is the third guy in post-season history with three SHs in a game.] Gonzalez got the desired fly-ball, but Womack was out at the plate on a very close play, the catcher's tag just brushing him.

By that point, both pitchers had shown themselves unhappy with the strike-zone of home-plate umpire Ed Rapuano. The Yankees' Orlando Hernandez barked at the man in blue in the third, prompting Rapuano to remove his mask and walk almost to the mound. Curt Schilling similarly had something to say in his half, the same inning when the Yankees struck first. Shane Spencer got a fastball away - the commentators knew it was coming, so I'd not be surprised if Shane did too - and went the other way, into the right-field bleachers. But Arizona fought back, with Mark Grace hitting his 1st World Series homer in his 14th season.

That was all the scoring off either starter, so we reached the end of the seventh inning locked at one. Despite working on short rest, Schilling had been excellent - outside of the homer to Spencer, he gave up only two hits and a walk, striking out nine more batters. That brought his K:BB ratio over 41 innings in this post-season to 47:6, with a 0.88 ERA over five starts. Schilling was at 88 pitches, and the general opinion was that he should go out there for the bottom of the eighth - an online poll by Fox had that supported by about two-thirds of viewers. After the game, Schilling said he could have done it.

They were asking me and I told them I felt like I had another one. But he felt that was enough. I told him I had at least another one in me, but he felt that the decision was to bring B.K. in. We've done it all year and it's worked, but tonight it didn't. I felt good. I told him there was no reason to take me out right there. He's the manager. I just need to be honest with him. Sixth inning, seventh inning, I made a lot of what I call big pitches. It's 1-1, runners in scoring position, game's on the line. That can take a lot out of you, but I felt like I had another one in me.

Having won his last four outings, Curt was in line for a fifth W, thanks to events in the top half. Gonzalez singled to left-center and Durazo went just over the head and out of the reach of the Yankees' CF, and Gonzo motored all the way round to score - just tagging second base, the Yankees' appeal there being denied. Durazo went to third on the throw, and pinch-runner Midre Cummings scurried home to score, on Williams grounder to short Replays showed Cummings just beat the throw, but also knocked the ball out of the catcher's mitt. That gave Arizona a 3-1 lead, and Kim was impeccable in the bottom half, striking out the side, albeit after running the count full to each batter.

Nothing for the Diamondbacks off Mariano Rivera in the ninth, and Jeter bunted out on the first pitch. A bloop to left brought the tying run up, and though Kim got Bernie Williams swinging, Martinez dispatched the first offering he saw from Kim to right-center. Byung-Hyun had blown his fifth save opportunity of the season, and allowed his first runs of the 2001 post-season. By the time Kim finally escaped the inning, he would have allowed three hits and a walk, and his pitch-count was already at 45. He had faced a total of ten batters, and perhaps most importantly, the Yankees were now getting a second look at him - that had only happened in eight PAs all season.

Scott Brosius and Alfonso Soriano flew out - perhaps another indication that Kim was flagging. But as the clocks chimed midnight, and the calendar turned to November, Derek Jeter got just enough wood on the ball to push it down the right-field line and into the bleachers, sending the capacity crowd at Yankee Stadium into a completely delirious frenzy. It was the first walk-off home-run of Jeter's career, and left Arizona stunned. Instead of a 3-1 lead in the series, it's back to all square. Battle has been well and truly joined.

Fangraph2_medium
[Click to enlarge, at baseball-reference.com]
Laurie Strode: Curt Schilling, +34.8%
Sam Loomises: Erubiel Durazo, +26.9%; Mark Grace, +13.4%
Michael Myers: Byung-Hyun Kim: -64.8%

For the record, that -64.8% ranks 12th-worst in World Series history to this point. It's the worst since Mitch Williams notched a -78.9% in Game 6 of the 1993 World Series for the Phillies, courtesy of Joe Carter's walk-off three-run homer. I'm thinking it might be quite some time before the number gets matched again. Probably at least a decade. The question is, will the meltdown have any effect on the Diamondbacks in the next three games?

As in my last recap, let's give the comment of the night to Curt.

Like I said, it's a best of three. Momentum? Don't buy into that. It's a best of three and we got home field. I'm planning on pitching Game 7, if there is one.

I'd rather Arizona render this moot by winning Games 5 + 6. Tonight had more than enough drama for me.