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Piniella Doesn't Pull the Switch in Game 2

October 12, 2000|MIKE DiGIOVANNA

NEW YORK — This game can be uplifting one minute and humbling the next; it can make you look like a genius one inning and a knucklehead the next. Seattle Manager Lou Piniella knows this, and he was a perfect example of it Wednesday.

With a 1-0 lead and a runner on second with two outs in the top of the sixth, Piniella sent left-handed hitting Raul Ibanez into the on-deck circle, ostensibly to bat for third baseman David Bell.

Piniella was hoping the sight of Ibanez would spur Yankee Manager Joe Torre to abandon his plan of intentionally walking left-handed hitting Al Martin, who had doubled in his previous at-bat.

Torre didn't bite. Yankee right-hander Orlando Hernandez threw four pitchouts, Martin took his walk, and Piniella called Ibanez back.

Bell flied to right to end the inning, but the decision to keep him in the game looked brilliant when Bell made a backhand diving stop of Luis Sojo's grounder down the line to start the seventh and threw out Sojo from one knee.

Piniella wished he would have carried that emphasis on defense into the eighth. He usually replaces Martin in left field in the late innings of close games, but Piniella inexplicably left Martin in Wednesday.

After Bernie Williams' RBI single tied the game in the eighth, Tino Martinez lined a catchable drive to left.

"I saw the ball off the bat and broke, but I ran right into the lights," Martin said. "That one second threw everything off."

Martin made a lunging attempt, but the ball bounced off his glove on a play that was generously ruled a single. The miscue might not have prevented the rest of New York's seven-run rally, but it certainly changed the complexion of the inning.

Asked if he considered replacing Martin with Ibanez, Piniella said, "Sure I did. . . . It was a 1-0 ballgame [going into the eighth]. Yeah, I thought about it, to be honest with you."


Somewhere in the Palm Harbor, Fla., area, Woody Woodward probably was smiling Wednesday.

While current Seattle General Manager Pat Gillick shaped the Mariners into a pennant contender, signing free agents John Olerud, Mark McLemore, Aaron Sele, Kazuhiro Sasaki and Arthur Rhodes and trading for Mike Cameron, it was Woodward, who retired after 1999, who engineered the Randy Johnson trade that brought two pitchers to Seattle from Houston.

Both were on display in Yankee Stadium this week, and both shut down the defending champions, right-hander Freddy Garcia throwing 6 2/3 innings of shutout ball in Game 1 Tuesday and left-hander John Halama throwing six innings of shutout ball in Game 2 Wednesday.

Halama does not throw very hard, but he took advantage of umpire Angel Hernandez's generous strike zone by locating his fastballs and mixing in his slow curves to keep the Yankees off balance. Then hard-throwing reliever Arthur Rhodes was bombed for three of New York's seven runs in the eighth.

"It's hard to explain something like that," Yankee third baseman Scott Brosius said. "A guy comes in who's throwing 98 mph, and we string a bunch of hits together, but we couldn't hit a guy who's topping out at 84 mph."


Yankee closer Mariano Rivera blanked the Mariners in the ninth inning Wednesday, extending his streak of playoff scoreless innings to 31 2/3. . . . Sele, the Mariner right-hander, will oppose Yankee left-hander Andy Pettitte in Game 3 Friday in Seattle. . . . With their seven-run eighth inning Wednesday, the Yankees tied their own AL championship series record for runs in an inning, last accomplished in Game 2 of the 1981 championship series against Oakland.


Game 1: Seattle 2, New York 0

Game 2: New York 7, Seattle 1

Friday: New York (Pettitte 19-9) at Seattle (Sele 17-10), 5 p.m.

Saturday: New York (Clemens 13-8) at Seattle (Abbott 9-7), 4:30 p.m.

Sunday: New York at Seattle, 1 p.m.

Tuesday: Seattle at New York, 5 p.m.*

Wednesday: Seattle at New York, 5 p.m.*

TV--Ch. 4; *--if necessary

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