Williams’ HR gives Yankees win

Published 12:00 am Thursday, October 14, 1999

The Associated Press

And the New York Yankees, trailing the Boston Red Sox, once again frustrated their rivals, snatching a win away with a little help from the umpires.

Thursday, October 14, 1999

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And the New York Yankees, trailing the Boston Red Sox, once again frustrated their rivals, snatching a win away with a little help from the umpires.

”If it took a break like that to get us going, it is welcomed,” Williams said Wednesday night after his 10th-inning homer off Rod Beck gave New York a 4-3 win over Boston.

Williams won the 1996 ALCS opener with an 11th-inning homer off Baltimore’s Randy Myers.

”That was all I was thinking about the inning before,” Williams said. ”But I tried to keep it off my mind because it is a different pitcher, different team, but the set-up is sort of the same. But what are the chances of it happening twice? Not too much.”

In the first postseason game ever between the traditional rivals, the Yankees stretched their postseason winning streak to 11, one short of the record they set when they swept the World Series in 1927, ’28 and 32.

”We feel we are under the gun because we are playing at home,” Yankees manager Joe Torre said. ”I think that it is important that we win on our home turf to keep the home-field advantage.”

Scott Brosius was Williams’ co-star, hitting a two-run homer in the second that pulled New York to 3-2, tripling in the fourth and bowling over catcher Jason Varitek in the seventh for the tying run following a single by Derek Jeter.

No one has ever hit for the cycle in postseason play. Given the chance, Brosius took a called third strike in the ninth.

”I knew if I ever had a chance, it will probably be tonight because I got that triple out of the way,” Brosius said. ”I don’t get too many of those.”

If not for a blown call, Boston would have had runners on first and second with no outs in the top of the 10th.

After Jose Offerman’s leadoff single off winner Mariano Rivera, John Valentin grounded to third, with Brosius throwing to second for the forceout.

Chuck Knoblauch, whose 26 errors during the season were tied for second in the AL, allowed the ball to pop out of the webbing of his glove as he tried to get ready for the relay to first.

”He never got control of the ball,” Offerman said.

Second-base umpire Rick Reed decided Knoblauch was transferring the ball to his throwing hand and called Offerman out on a force. Brian Daubach then hit into an inning-ending double play.

After looking at a replay, Reed admitted his mistake.

”As an umpire, it was my job to get it right. I didn’t,” he said. ”I feel awful.”

Darren Lewis thought it was a turning point.

”That changed the whole format of the game,” he said. ”You have men on first and second with nobody out. On that type of play, you need that call.”

Williams then opened the bottom half by sending an 0-1 pitch to straightaway center field. At first, Lewis appeared to have a chance at it, but the ball kept sailing and went over the 408-foot sign.

”It was a bad time for a bad pitch,” Beck said.

Williams also was the star of the first-round opener against Texas, hitting a three-run homer and driving in six runs.

With that, the Yankees started looking ahead to Game 2. David Cone, who hasn’t pitched since Oct. 2, tries to give New York a 2-0 lead in the best-of-7 series when he starts tonight against Ramon Martinez.

Boston, which has lost nine straight ALCS games, might still be thinking about the opener. The Red Sox took a 2-0 lead just seven pitches into the game on a run-scoring throwing error by Jeter at shortstop and Brian Daubach’s RBI single.

Offerman’s RBI infield single made it a 3-0 lead in the second.