Revenge complete. The American League pennant is back in the Bronx.
And when it was over, the first thing on the Yankees' minds was Darryl Strawberry, their teammate who underwent cancer surgery Oct. 3. Seconds after the final out, his picture went up on the scoreboard behind the right-field bleachers.
"Darryl, this is yours. You pushed us," manager Joe Torre said. "I know you're going to be all right."
Scott Brosius seemed to finish Cleveland off with a three-run homer for a 6-0 lead in the third inning. But David Cone nearly gave it all back, allowing a grand slam to Jim Thome that pulled the Indians within a run.
Derek Jeter then restored the safety margin with a two-run triple in the sixth, a drive to right that Manny Ramirez tried to snag with a leap at the top of the wall -- only the ball landeon a hop at his feet.
New York, which opens the World Series at home Saturday night against Atlanta or San Diego, won an AL title at home for the first time since the Reggie Jackson-Thurman Munson-Ron Guidry team in 1978.
"It was something we fought hard all year for -- these guys are wonderful," said David Wells, who went 2-0 and was voted ALCS MVP. "This is for you, Darryl."
Clebveland, which beat the Yankees
| David Cone gets the win for New York. (AP) |
"Absolutely disappointed that we didn't go on," Indians manager Mike Hargrove said, "but we have to recognize the Yankees have a very good ballclub and they played better than we did."
The game included another controversial umpiring call, a line drive that hit an umpire on the backside and a pumped-up crowd that took every opportunity to make up for the taunts Wells endured in Cleveland last week.
After going 114-48 during the regular season and sweeping Texas in the first round, the Yankees felt pressure to reach the Series, which they won in 1996.
"It's only fun when you win," Yankees outfielder Paul O'Neill said.
Cleveland felt pressure, too after losing Game 7 of the World Series to Florida last October. But after falling behind two games to one, New York turned it around at Jacobs Field behind strong pitching from Orlando "El Duque" Hernandez in Game 4 and Wells in Game 5.
By the eighth inning, fans were taunting the Indians with chants of "1948." Responding to a remark by Cleveland's David Justice that the only way Yankees fans could get tougher would be if they brought Uzis to the ballpark, one fan hung pictures of a machine gun from the upper deck for each strikeout by Cone, who fanned eight.
"I try to get the guys fired up any way I can," Wells said. "Sometimes, it's not the right way."
Forgotten with the win was Chuck Knoblauch's blunder in Game 2, which allowed Cleveland to blunt New York's momentum.
"What a great team we've got," Knoblauch said. "They gave me a lot of support when I was down. We don't have to worry about that now."
Umpires again were in the center of controversy. TeHendry, the second-base umpire, appeared to blow a call in the third inning, ruling New York's Chili Davis safe on a force play, claiming Omar Vizquel was pulled off the base by the throw. Two outs later, Brosius' homer made it 6-0.
Brosius' homer came after Williams' leadoff single and the controversial call by Hendry. Davis grounded to second and Enrique Wilson's throw to second for the force was wide to the shortstop side. While Vizquel appeared to keep a foot on the bag, Hendry called Davis safe.
Cleveland starter Charles Nagy, who took the loss, quickly got in trouble, and Cleveland fell behind on consecutive one-out singles in the first by Jeter, O'Neill and Williams. Davis followed with a sacrifice fly.
New York made it 3-0 in the second on an error by left fielder Brian Giles. Joe Girardi singled with one out, Knoblauch doubled into the left-field corner and Giles, after picking up the ball, let it fall out of his glove.
Cone took a shutout into the fifth. After singles by Wilson and Kenny Lofton put runners on first and third, Vizquel hit a liner up the middle that hit Hendry in the rear end. Lofton remained on third instead of scoring and a walk to Justice forced in a run. After fanning Ramirez, Cone gave up the grand slam to Thome, who set an AL championship series record with his fourth homer.
© 1998 SportsLine USA, Inc. All rights reserved