Game 1 Is 'Extra' Special ... For Yanks
FILE - In this Sept. 6 2011 file photo, children's book author Maurice Sendak is photographed doing an interview at his home in Ridgefield, Conn. Sendak, author of the popular children's book "Where the Wild Things Are," died, Tuesday, May 8, 2012 at Danbury Hospital in Danbury, Conn. He was 83. (AP Photo/Mary Altaffer, file) / Mary Altaffer
The game had just about everything; baserunning blunders, a bunch of stranded runners, a ball bouncing off the top of the wall, batters hit by pitches, a blown save, extra innings and finally ... a winner.
Jose Vizcaino singled home the winning run with two outs in the 12th inning late Saturday night, giving the Yankees a 4-3 win over the Mets and a 1-0 lead in the World Series of battling boroughs.
The longest World Series game ever - 4 hours, 51 minutes - also marked the Yankees' record 13th straight Series victory, bettering the streak their Murderers' Row clubs set.
"We came in with very little World Series experience and got a lot of it in one night," Mets manager Bobby Valentine said.
Vizcaino's first-pitch single off loser Turk Wendell was his fourth hit of the game and it came at 1:04 a.m. EDT as the teams surpassed the 4:17 that Atlanta and the Yankees took in Game 4 in 1996.
"I'd like to believe we find a way to win," Yankees manager Joe Torre said.
It's been 44 years since this city had its last Subway Series. If Game 1 was any indication of what's to come, New Yorkers may be talking about this one for quite some time.
The fans appeared almost too tired to shout at the end, especially after the Yankees kept missing chances to win it.
"We knew we had to bounce back," Torre said.
Tino Martinez singled with one out in the 12th, Jorge Posada followed with a double and an intentional walk to Paul O'Neill loaded the bases.
After Luis Sojo fouled out, Vizcaino got the crowd roaring by slapping an opposite-field single to left off Wendell, a former Chicago Cubs teammate.
And once again, one of Torre's hunches paid off - Vizcaino was a surprise starter, only in the lineup because of his career success against Mets starter Al Leiter.
Vizcaino was one of eight players acquired in midseason now on the Yankees' roster. An ex-Met, he came from the Los Angeles Dodgers in late June, taking the first flight to join his new team.
"I was thinking I would be going to the World Series, but I didn't think I'd be the hero in the first game," he said.
Mike Stanton was the winner as Yankees relievers retired the final 11 batters.
Game 2 will be Sunday night with Roger Clemens pitching against NLCS MVP Mike Hampton. Clemens will be facing the Mets for the first time since beaning Mike Piazza on July 9.
Despite the huge hype and buildup, fans were fairly civilized toward each other, especially since there wasn't much to shout about until the sixth inning.
Pockets of Mets fans could be heard throughout the ballpark, but it hardly matched the cheers led by the Yankees' No. 1 fan, Mayor Rudolph Giuliani, in the front row next to his favorite team's dugout.
Benitez, with a history of October failure, could not hold a 3-2 lead in the ninth. He walked O'Neill with one out and gave up singles to pinch-hitter Luis Polonia and Vizcaino that loaded the bases for Knoblauch.
Guilty of lolly-gagging on the bases three times earlier - especially on a disputed drive by Todd Zeile - the Mets hustled to a 3-2 lead in the seventh. Edgardo Alfonzo barely beat out an infield single with two outs, capping a three-run rally.
The entire ballpark was on its feet during pregame introductions, and nearly every Mets player moved to the top step of the dugout to watch the first pitch.
But with Leiter and Andy Pettitte dueling, it was fairly quiet and scoreless for five innings. Then in the sixth, it got real interesting in a hurry.
With two outs and Timo Perez on first for the Mets, Zeile lined a drive toward the jutted-in corner in left field. Zeile raised his right arm as he approached first base and Perez jogged toward second, both of them sure it was gone.
"That's a home run! That's a home run! That's a home run!" Mets bench coach John Stearns yelled from the dugout.
But the ball hit the very top of the padding on the fence that measures 7 feet, 5 inches, and bounced back into play. A longtime Yankees fan said he let the ball go unlike young Jeffrey Maier in the 1996 ALCS because he knew interference might cost his team.
Left fielder David Justice alertly pursued the ball and made a nice relay to shortstop Derek Jeter, whose throw home cut down the speedy Perez.
Valentine emerged from the dugout, twirling his finger to indicate it should've been a home run, but the umpires did not agree. Replays showed the umps called it correctly.
"I thought when he hit it, it was a home run," Torre said.
With the ballpark still buzzing, Justice reprised his role as ALCS MVP in the bottom of the sixth. He lined a two-run double up the left-center field alley, but Leiter limited the damage by getting two outs to keep it at 2-0.
But the wild card Mets were not finished. Held in check in key spots all night by Pettitte, they broke through in the seventh.
Benny Agbayani and Jay Payton singled with one out and Todd Pratt, in the game at catcher with Piazza serving as the DH, walked on a full-count pitch.
Up stepped Bubba Trammell, pinch-hitting because of his 7-for-18 lifetime success against Pettitte. Batting for ninth-place hitter Mike Bordick, Trammell lined a two-run single tleft that tied it.
After Perez was thrown out on a bunt, moving the runners to second and third, Jeff Nelson relieved.
Alfonzo then delivered, not with a sharp single but instead a tapper just past Nelson. Third baseman Scott Brosius charged the ball and made a quick, barehanded throw that Alfonzo barely beat as Pratt scored.
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