For most of the night, Game 3 looked like a lock for the Atlanta Braves.
They got hitting, they got pitching, they even got New York fans mad enough to boo their hometown heroes.
And then whack! The Yankees struck again.
"I'm still amazed, and yet I'm not amazed," Yankees manager Joe Torre said. "We go out there and play nine innings."
Or as long as it takes.
Curtis homered in the fifth to begin New York's comeback from a 5-1 deficit, and homers off Tom Glavine by Tino Martinez and Chuck Knoblauch, the latter off right fielder Brian Jordan's glove in the eighth, tied it.
"It would have been nice to have won tonight," Atlanta manager Bobby Cox said. "It would have gotten us going real good. This was a big one to lose."
In the 10th, Curtis sent a 1-1 pitch from Mike Remlinger far over the left-field fence for the Yankees' 11th straight World Series victory. It was the first game-ending homer in the Series since Joe Carter's Game 6 shot won it all for Toronto in 1993.
"I have a tendency when I get up there in that situation, I try to hit a home run," Curtis said. "So I went up there and tried to hit it up the middle and I hit a home run."
Curtis made his first ever start in the Series and ended up as the hero with the first walkoff homer he could remember.
"Always somebody you don't expect," Cox said. "You never know where it's going to come from."
No team in baseball history has overcome an 0-3 deficit in postseason play. The Yankees are trying to win their third World Series in four years, a streak that began when they beat Atlanta in 1996.
"We swept four before, but not in the World Series," Cox said.
Mariano Rivera, Mr. Automatic in October, pitched two innings for the victory. He has not allowed a run in his last 41 2-3 innings, and has a postseason streak of 24 1-3 scoreless innings.
While the Braves lost their seventh straight Series game, the Yankees moved within one victory of tying the longest winning streak ever. The record was set by their Murderers' Row teams of 1927, 1928 and 1932 the 11th win in that streak was the game in which Babe Ruth supposedly called his shot at Wrigley Field against Charlie Root.
Up until the Yankees turned from singles hitters into the Bronx Bombers, the Braves were in control.
Glavine, scratched from his Game 1 start because of the flu, fortified himself with a plate of ravioli and pitched like a two-time Cy Young Award winner. And Atlanta looked every bit like the team that led the majors with 103 wins.
Bret Boone hit three doubles in the first four innings against Andy Pettitte and finished with four hits. Every Braves batter had a hit by the fifth and by then, it was 5-1 and the sellout crowd of 56,794 was booing.
|Chuck Knoblauch's home run went just off the glove of Brian Jordan.|
It all worked in the early going for a team that hit .121 in the first two games.
Then, though, the Yankees flexed their muscles.
"We're not a home-run hitting team, but sometimes these thigs happen," Torre said.
Curtis hit the 11th game-ending homer in the Series history, and fifth in extra innings. It also was the Yankees' second such shot in this postseason Bernie Williams did it to Boston in Game 1 of the AL Championship Series.
"It was a changeup," Remlinger said. "It looked like it got too much of the plate."
Which was fine for Curtis. Scratched from the lineup in the opener when Glavine became ill, he took advantage of this opportunity.
"I was really fired up to play in Game 1," he said.
The Series win was the 11th in a row for Torre, breaking the record set by Joe McCarthy of the Yankees.
New York won in its 200th World Series game the Yankees are 120-79-1 overall, with the St. Louis Cardinals' total of 96 games ranking second.
Curtis hit New York's first home run of the Series, a solo shot with two outs in the fifth. Martinez made it 5-3 with a solo drive in the seventh, and Glavine dropped his head in disgust.
Joe Girardi opened the eighth with a single and Knoblauch followed with a high drive to right field. Jordan jumped at the wall and the ball bounced out of his glove and into the stands for a tying home run.
"I knew I hit it pretty good," Knoblauch said. "Jordan, who's a great outfielder, jumped and I prayed, `Come on.' I got a break."
Said Jordan: "My glove went over and it hit the top of my glove. Believe me, I wish I would have leaped an inch higher."
Last October, Knoblauch struck for a tying, three-run homer in the seventh inning of Game 1 against San Diego's Donne Wall.
"We got beat with a pop to right field," Cox said.
Boone became the first player to hit three doubles in a Series game since Junior Gilliam for Brooklyn in 1953. Frank Isbell hit a record four for the Chicago White Sox in 1906.
©1999 The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed