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20 years ago today: Yankees edge back in

Home advantage continued to rule, as New York snuck past Arizona 2-1.

World Series At Yankee Stadium Photo by Doug Pensinger/Allsport/Getty Images

After the two games in Phoenix, the World Series moved back to New York. It was an enormously emotional Game Three, following only a few weeks after the events of 9/11 had killed thousands of the city’s residents and workers. There was so much about the presentation which was emotional. Perhaps the most striking was the singing of the National Anthem by Max Von Essen, son of the city’s fire commissioner. As the final notes hit, a bald eagle swooped in, landing on its handler’s arm perfectly in sync with “brave.” Then there was President Bush, throwing out the first pitch (above), in a bullet-proof vest. Hell, it was all almost enough to make me cheer for the Yankees. Almost...

It’s often easy to forget that the 2001 Diamondbacks had other starting pitchers apart from Randy Johnson and Curt Schilling. Indeed, in the regular season, 92 games were started by other people. Admittedly, some of those were not very good. Robert Ellis, for example, had an ERA of 5.77 over seventeen starts and two relief appearances. He did not trouble the post-season roster. But Randy and Curt weren’t able to start every playoff game. Which is how Brian Anderson, who went 4-9 with a 5.20 ERA over 29 regular-season games (22 starts), found himself standing on the mound for the first road game in the 2001 World Series. Below are his memories of the event from 2016.

He certainly stepped up to the occasion, and gave the team everything they could have asked for, ad more. He pitched into the sixth innings, and held the powerful Yankees’ line-up to two runs, despite only getting one strikeout. Anderson allowed five hits and three walks, including a home-run to Jorge Posada in the second inning, which gave New York their first lead since the opening frame of the series. Arizona fought back to tie things up in the fourth. They loaded the bases with one out, on a pair of walks and a Luis Gonzalez single, but were not able to get the breakthrough hit against Roger Clemens. Matt Williams was able to bring one run home on a sacrifice fly, but Mark Grace grounded out.

Arizona had a chance to take the lead in the sixth. With two outs, Reggie Sanders was hit by a pitch and stole second. Though Erubiel Durazo singled to put men on the corners, Williams was unable to come through this time. The Yankees also had a chance in the bottom half and did not waste it. Anderson finally ran out of gas, putting two on with one out, on a single, wild pitch and a walk. Bob Brenly lifted him, turning to his bullpen for their first high-leverage work of the World Series. Mike Morgan took over from Anderson and got David Justice to go down swinging. But Scott Brosius jumped on the first offering from Morgan, singling to left and giving the Yankees a 2-1 lead.

That was all it took, because the last 10 Diamondbacks went down in order. After seven innings of Clemens, he turned the ball over to legendary closer Mariano Rivera, He retired the final six batters, four of them by the strikeout. The D-backs offense was all but shut down, being held to just three hits, all singles, Durazo having two of them, while Steve Finley had a pair of walks. If the first two games were a statement by the Diamondbacks, this was one by the Yankees. Specifically, saying that maybe this wasn’t going to be quite as easy for Arizona, as the earlier games had made it seem.

Below is the full presentation of the game, adverts and all! :) If you just want the baseball, here it is.