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2001 World Series game-by-game recap

2001 World Series game-by-game recap

2001 World Series game-by-game recap
On just about every level, the 2001 World Series between the D-backs and the Yankees lives in baseball lore as one of the greatest of all-time. Ten years later, the drama, the conclusion and the cultural significance of those seven games hasn't been matched.

MLB.com takes a game-by-game look back at the series.

Game 1: D-backs 9, Yankees 1

Right away, Curt Schilling set the tone for the way the Arizona pitchers would throw all series. He tossed seven innings and allowed only one run, while his counterpart, Mike Mussina, got rocked.

Craig Counsell homered for Arizona in the bottom of the first inning to tie the game at 1-1, and from there, it was all D-backs. They scored four in the third to chase Mussina and tacked on four more in the fourth to build a 9-1 lead that would hold up as the game's final score.

Arizona left fielder Luis Gonzalez hit a two-run homer off Mussina that gave the Snakes a lead they would never relinquish. Mussina was out of the game after he allowed four of the next six batters to reach base.

The D-backs had easily disposed of the Braves in the National League Championshp Series, meaning manager Bob Brenly could set his powerful rotation as he saw fit. Schilling got the call in Game 1, and his relatively easy outing meant he could take the hill in Games 4 and 7 on short rest.

Game 2: D-backs 4, Yankees 0

Those glancing at a box score will see Matt Williams' three-run blast in the seventh inning as the difference maker in Game 2. It gave the D-backs a 4-0 lead that would also be the eventual final score, and it gave starting pitcher Randy Johnson breathing room.

Those who watched the game will tell you Williams' home run meant very little. The way Johnson was pitching, no breathing room was needed. The ice-cold Yankees bats weren't going to score off the 2001 NL Cy Young Award winner, who was pitching one of the best World Series games of the decade.

The Big Unit tossed a complete-game shutout in which he allowed just three hits -- all singles -- and a walk. A fifth-inning Jorge Posada grounder through the right side was the only hit the Yankees could muster until after Williams' homer.

Meanwhile, Danny Bautista singled home Reggie Sanders in the second inning to give Arizona all the cushion it would need. Andy Pettitte was solid on the hill for the Yankees, but he was no match for Johnson, whose gem gave the D-backs a 2-0 series lead heading to the Bronx, where the series would start to get even more interesting.

Game 3: Yankees 2, D-backs 1

In the first World Series game in New York since the 9/11 tragedy, the lasting memory from Game 3 was President George W. Bush throwing out the ceremonial first pitch -- a perfect strike. As thousands of flash bulbs clicked, Bush took the mound to a loud and emotional Yankee Stadium crowd that was waving flags and chanting "U-S-A."

Yankees starter Roger Clemens made sure the buzz among the 55,820 fans lingered all night, throwing seven innings, with a sacrifice fly as his only blemish.

Brian Anderson pitched well for Arizona, but got into trouble in the sixth of a tie ballgame. He gave up a single to Bernie Williams and walked Jorge Posada before Brenly called on Mike Morgan to get out of a two-on, one out jam. Morgan struck out a batter, but Scott Brosius singled home Williams for the go-ahead run.

Mariano Rivera was in his usual form on the chilly October night, retiring six D-backs in a row for a two-inning save.

Game 4: Yankees 4, D-backs 3, 10 innings

Everything was going according to plan for the D-backs: They got seven strong innings out of Schilling on short rest, they had a late lead, and their closer, Byung-Hyun Kim, was on the mound with two outs in the ninth, ready to seal a victory and a 3-1 series lead.

Then, under Halloween's full moon, the ghosts of the old Yankee Stadium made their mark.

New York first baseman Tino Martinez drove the first pitch he saw from Kim into the seats in right field, tying the game at 3-3 and breathing new life into the Yankees.

Brenly opted to leave Kim in for a third inning, and that's when Derek Jeter earned the nickname Mr. November, drilling a walk-off home run in the 10th.

Game 4 marked the first time ever that the World Series had lasted into November. The batter at the plate as the clock struck midnight on October? Jeter.

He earned his nickname in classic Jeter fashion, too. Not only did he win the game with a clutch hit, but he did so by driving the ball the opposite way. It barely cleared the short porch in right field. And just like that, the series was tied.

Game 5: Yankees 3, D-backs 2, 12 innings

Even the Yankee Stadium crowd wasn't anticipating another miracle comeback. Trailing, 2-0, in the top of the ninth, the Yankees faithful serenaded Paul O'Neill by chanting his name, assuming it was the last time they would see him manning right field in Yankee Stadium.

After all, before 2001 there had only been three game-tying or walk-off home runs with two outs in the bottom of the ninth inning of a World Series game.

Then, it happened for a second time in 24 hours.

Kim hung a slider to Brosius, and the Yankees third baseman hit a towering fly ball that stayed fair down the left-field line and sent the Yankee Stadium crowd into a frenzy. As soon as the ball left Brosius' bat, he raised his right arm in the air, while Kim crouched on the Yankee Stadium rubber in disbelief.

The Yankees, who had never lost a one-run game in the World Series under Joe Torre, won the game in the 12th inning, when Alfonso Soriano's single plated Chuck Knoblauch to seal a 3-2 win. The only solace for Arizona -- they wouldn't have to play another game in the Bronx, where the impossible, it seemed, was starting to become routine.

Game 6: D-backs 15, Yankees 2

From the start, the D-backs made certain there would be no late-inning heroics in Game 6. Andy Pettitte was a worthy challenger to Johnson in Game 2, but he fell flat in Game 6.

The D-backs tagged him for six runs in two innings and still weren't done. They pounded reliever Jay Witasick for nine runs in 1 1/3 innings. When the dust settled, the D-backs had tallied 15 runs before the Yankees could record two outs in the fourth inning.

The 15-2 final is still the worst postseason loss in Yankees history, but Arizona's margin of victory had more significance than just sending a statement. With the game already out of reach by the seventh inning, Brenly removed Johnson, planning to use him out of the bullpen the next night. The strategy would pay off 24 hours later, as Johnson worked a scoreless 1 1/3 innings for the win in Game 7.

Despite having outscored the Yankees, 34-12, in the first six games, the series was tied at 3-3. Game 7 would decide the 2001 season.

Game 7: D-backs 3, Yankees 2

Game 7 will always be remembered for the way it ended. But the way it began -- with a pair of Cy Young Award candidates on the mound -- only foreshadowed the drama to come.

In the first World Series Game 7 since 1997, the two teams entered the eighth inning tied at 1-1, with both Clemens and Schilling dominating. That's when Soriano crushed a solo homer to left field, giving the Yankees a 2-1 lead, with the game's best closer lurking in the bullpen.

Rivera, arguably the most dominant postseason pitcher in baseball history, boasted a 0.77 ERA and saves in 24 of 25 opportunities until that point.

But after a scoreless eighth, Rivera hurt himself in the ninth by throwing the ball into center field on a bunt attempt after Mark Grace had led off the inning with a single. Two batters later, Tony Womack tied the game with a double, and Counsell's hit-by-pitch set the stage for Gonzalez.

Gonzalez fought off a Rivera cutter over the head of the shortstop Jeter, who was playing in with the rest of the infield. Gonzalez jumped for joy on his way to first base, as Jay Bell touched home plate and the crowd entered a state of bedlam. It was the most prominent, lasting memory of a World Series -- and season -- that was full of them.

The up-and-coming D-backs had dethroned the mighty Yankees.

AJ Cassavell is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

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