Yankees also stay alive with easy win
Monday, October 15, 2001
OAKLAND, Calif. -- This dynasty just won't be beaten. It won't even be worried.
Playing with poise and pride in the face of postseason elimination, Bernie Williams and the New York Yankees escaped Oakland with their second victory in two days -- and forced a decisive Game 5 back in their ballpark.
Williams drove in five runs as the Yankees' offense finally emerged from its slumber, tying the AL division series at two games each with a 9-2 victory over the Athletics on Sunday.
"We're playing with a fearless mentality," Williams said.
With two gutsy wins at the Coliseum -- where Oakland had won 17 straight -- the three-time World Series champs returned to Yankee Stadium for a deciding game tonight. Roger Clemens will face Mark Mulder in a rematch of the opener.
"Surprised? I guess I can't be," Yankees manager Joe Torre said. "We've done a lot of things in the last six years that make me proud, and this certainly goes up there among the proudest (moments)."
The day was disastrous for the young A's, who lost their fourth straight home playoff game to the Yankees and were forced into another cross-country trip. What's more, cleanup hitter Jermaine Dye broke his leg on a foul ball in the third inning and was lost for the rest of the postseason.
Dye will be in a cast for 8-to-12 weeks, Athletics trainer Larry Davis said.
Last year, the Athletics beat Clemens on the road in Game 4, sending their first-round series back to Oakland. The Yankees built a big lead and hung on for a 7-5 victory.
After hanging on for a 1-0 win on Saturday night, New York had no problem evening the series on a balmy California afternoon. The Yankees were baffled by the A's starters in the series' first three games, but they chased Cory Lidle in the fourth inning.
"We're not shaken at all. I expected this to go five games," A's manager Art Howe said. "We were pretty fortunate to come in here two up. I wish I wasn't a soothsayer, but I thought it would go five. Hopefully, we can turn the tables on them tomorrow."
Williams had a two-run double in the third inning and a two-run single in the fourth, connecting for the big hits that neither team had seemed capable of getting early in the series.
He added an RBI double in the ninth and scored. Afterward, he admitted the Yankees were the picture of calm before the biggest game of their season.
"We were just getting on each other, saying, 'Let's go,' things like that, but just joking," Williams said. "We were all aware of the situation. There was no sense in rubbing it in. We knew we were down two games to one, and it was a must-win situation ... but you don't want to be pins and needles out there."
While the Yankees scored early and often against Lidle, Orlando Hernandez -- who didn't win a game until September in a regular season filled with injuries and inconsistency -- survived for 5 2-3 innings on veteran guile.
El Duque faced his biggest test in the first inning after the A's put runners on first and third with no outs. He retired Jason Giambi and Dye on popups and, after a walk loaded the bases, got Jeremy Giambi on a foul pop.
Those three outs made Oakland 0-for-26 with runners in scoring position in the series.
Hernandez gave up eight hits, but limited Oakland to two runs while constantly pitching out of trouble.
"It seemed like we were ahead in the series," Hernandez said. "Everyone was focused on winning, not necessarily on what would happen if we lost."