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Yankees Earn Their Stripes

ALCS: New York eliminates Cleveland, 9-5, to win its 35th pennant and advance to the World Series.

October 14, 1998|MIKE DiGIOVANNA | TIMES STAFF WRITER

NEW YORK — The game began in a heavy mist, and at times both teams played as if in a haze, but it was the Cleveland Indians who were finally left in the dust Tuesday night, flattened by a runaway subway train known as the 1998 New York Yankees.

With a crowd of 57,142 on its feet, making Yankee Stadium literally shake with excitement, closer Mariano Rivera put the finishing touches on a 9-5 victory that clinched the Yankees' record 35th American League pennant.

New York's four-games-to-two victory over Cleveland in the American League championship series gave the Yankees a berth in the World Series against either Atlanta or San Diego, Game 1 of which will be played in Yankee Stadium Saturday night. It will mark the 49th time in 94 years that a World Series will be played in New York.

With the Yankees clinging to a 6-5 lead, Scott Brosius, who hit a three-run home run in the third inning, opened the sixth with a routine grounder to shortstop Omar Vizquel, whose wild throw to first snapped his 46-game playoff errorless streak, a string covering a span of 237 chances.

Joe Girardi walked, and Chuck Knoblauch struck out when he fouled off a two-strike bunt attempt. Derek Jeter then lofted a fly ball to the gap in right-center that Manny Ramirez appeared to have a good chance at catching.

But Ramirez completely misjudged the ball, turning his back from home plate at the warning track and leaping into the wall while the ball hit the base of the fence near his feet.

Jeter was awarded a triple, scoring two runs, and Bernie Williams came through with a two-out RBI single to give the Yankees a 9-5 lead.

The Indians and Yankees combined to hit .208 (69 for 332) and score 33 runs in the first five ALCS games, but through five innings Tuesday night they battered each other around for 11 runs and 15 hits.

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