Mariners trounce Yanks in Game 3

Sunday, October 21, 2001

NEW YORK -- For an instant, Bret Boone's bases-loaded blooper nestled into Chuck Knoblauch's glove -- Seattle had blown yet another chance.

Then the ball popped loose, and the Mariners suddenly looked like a record-setting team again.

"Boy, once that ball fell in, the guys perked up and started swinging," Seattle manager Lou Piniella said after the Mariners' 14-3 victory over the New York Yankees in Game 3 of the AL championship series Saturday.

Boone drove in five runs, Mark McLemore hit a bases-loaded triple and Jamie Moyer saved Seattle's season again as the Mariners cut New York's ALCS lead to 2-1.

After showing no resemblance to a 116-win team in the first two games in Seattle, the Mariners got the break they needed on Boone's game-tying hit with two outs in the fifth inning.

The Mariners added 12 more runs in the next four innings for the most runs against the Yankees in 285 postseason games.

"We were sitting on the bench thinking that might be our chance, that might be our break. And it was," Al Martin said.

The Mariners coasted through the regular season with no must-win games, but they haven't taken long to get the hang of winning them in the postseason.

Seattle won two elimination games against Cleveland in the opening round.

"We know what they're capable of," Yankees manager Joe Torre said. "You don't win 116 games and put up the numbers they put up if you're not capable of beating your brains in."

Game 4 is today with Roger Clemens pitching for New York against Paul Abbott. The Mariners need to win one of the next two games to fulfill Piniella's promise that the series would return to Seattle for Game 6.

"I said the things I said because I have confidence in this team and I believe in them," Piniella said.

That prospect appeared unlikely when the three-time defending World Series champions took a 2-0 lead on Bernie Williams' first-inning homer and Orlando Hernandez shut out Seattle for four innings.

But baseball's highest-scoring team -- held to 20 runs in the first seven games of the playoffs -- finally broke through with help from sloppy New York defense and the ball that bounced out of Knoblauch's glove.

"It's been frustrating for me personally," said Boone, who had no RBIs in the first seven games of the playoffs. "It's been a little bit frustrating for all of us because we haven't been producing like we have all year. The blooper that fell in was big."

Moyer, who has three of Seattle's four wins in the postseason, kept the Mariners in it until the offense woke up.

Known for disrupting hitters' timing, Moyer has had perfect timing of his own in the postseason. After winning a career-high 20 games in the regular season, Moyer has had his three most important victories in the past nine days.

Moyer won Game 2 of the opening round to even Seattle's series against Cleveland and also beat the Indians in the clincher.

With the Mariners facing the prospects of falling behind 3-0 in the ALCS -- a deficit that has never been overcome in a best-of-seven series in baseball history -- Moyer baffled the Yankees.

"He's been pitching that way the whole second half of the season," Piniella said. "It's been fun to watch him the way he changes speed, pitches to both sides of the plate and makes the other team put the ball in play."

Moyer, helped by a home-run saving catch by Stan Javier, allowed two runs and four hits in seven innings to win for the 14th time in 15 decisions.

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