M’s take first bite

  • KIRBY ARNOLD / Herald Writer
  • Tuesday, October 10, 2000 9:00pm
  • Sports

Big Apple tastes sweet as Garcia leads Seattle to 2-0 win in Game 1


Herald Writer

NEW YORK — The left-handed hitters lined up like taxi cabs on Fifth Avenue and Freddy Garcia looked like a pedestrian caught halfway through the crosswalk.

The New York Yankees had runners on first and second, nobody out and a back-to-back-to-back opportunity to pound the Seattle Mariners into the Yankee Stadium turf in the sixth inning.

And, left-handers be damned, Garcia made it to the other side of the street.

Garcia, left on the mound by manager Lou Piniella to pull out of his own dire situation, struck out Paul O’Neill and Bernie Williams, then got David Justice on a 407-foot fly ball … to the 408-foot center field fence.

That crucial moment of truth, plus three more shutout innings by the pitching staff, gave the Mariners a 2-0 victory over the Yankees on Tuesday in Game 1 of the American League Championship Series.

With an RBI single in the fifth inning by Rickey Henderson and a home run high off the left field foul pole by Alex Rodriguez in the sixth, the Mariners’ offense produced more than enough for Garcia and friends.

"Freddy can pitch," manager Lou Piniella said. "Last year he won 17 ballgames for us. He’s got a pretty darned good feel for what he wants to do and not do with that baseball. When he’s on his game, he can spin you a good one."

On Tuesday, he had the New York players spinning back to the dugout with a fastball-changeup-sinker combination that seemed, to the Yankees, nearly unhittable.

"He pitched well when he had to," Yankees manager Joe Torre said. "He pitched pretty well when he didn’t have to."

When he had to the most, in the sixth inning, Garcia was at his best.

Alex Rodriguez had just given the Mariners a 2-0 lead with his home run high off the foul pole down the left-field line, but the Yankees came right back when Chuck Knoblauch led off with a double. Garcia walked Derek Jeter, and then stared down a string of left-handed Yankees.

O’Neill, Williams and Justice had combined to hit .288 with 47 home runs and 190 RBI this season off right-handers.

Piniella made a slow stroll to the mound and asked one question: You OK?

"I felt he still had really good stuff," Piniella said.

Just the same, Piniella had left-handed reliever Arthur Rhodes warm in the bullpen.

"I thought I was coming in," Rhodes said. "Freddy must have seen me warming up, I guess."

"I wasn’t surprised at all that Lou left him in," catcher Joe Oliver said. "Freddy still had his good sinker. His ball was moving all over the place."

Garcia struck out O’Neill with a sinker, then Williams with an 85 mph changeup that broke down and in. The best thing he did with Justice was to keep him in the ballpark.

Justice stroked a towering fly that center fielder Mike Cameron caught with his back to the wall.

"When he hit it, I got myself ready to climb up the wall," Cameron said. "He hit it well, but I knew he didn’t hit it well enough to get out of the park."

Garcia got two quick outs in the seventh before Piniella pulled him, and the relievers stepped forward the way they have the entire postseason.

Jose Paniagua struck out three of the four hitters he faced. Rhodes came on to face O’Neill in the eighth and wound up facing right-handed pinch-hitter Glenallen Hill, and struck him out as well to end the inning.

Then closer Kazuhiro Sasaki, enduring the taunts of 54,481 fans in his first postseason in the majors, nervously gave up two singles in the ninth before getting Jorge Posada and Luis Sojo to fly out.

That gave Seattle relievers 14 straight innings without allowing a run in the postseason.

Mariner pitchers struck out 13 Yankees, and the 22 strikeouts by both clubs broke the 1999 ALCS record held by the Yankees and Red Sox.

Even from all the way in center field, Cameron was impressed.

"We’re pitching with Pedro-like stuff," he said, referring to Boston’s Pedro Martinez.

When the pitching is that good, two runs are enough to win.

Even against the Yankees.

Talk to us

More in Sports

Spring 2023 All-Wesco teams

Note: All-Wesco teams are chosen by the league’s coaches. For any misspellings… Continue reading

Washington celebrates a home run by Rylee Holtorf (3) at home plate during the second inning of an NCAA softball Women's College World Series game against Utah Friday, June 2, 2023, in Oklahoma City. (AP Photo/Nate Billings)
UW opens Women’s College World Series with key win over Utah

After being rained out on Thursday, Washington beats Utah 4-1 to advance into the winner’s bracket.

Vote for The Herald’s Prep Athlete of the Week for May 22-28

The Athlete of the Week nominees for May 22-28 Voting closes at… Continue reading

AquaSox can’t make huge rally hold, lose to Hops

Everett takes the lead with six runs in the eighth, but allows two runs back in the ninth and falls 13-12 to Hillsboro.

The Everett Elite Flag Football 14-under team practices Sunday morning at Harbour Pointe Middle School in Mukilteo, Washington on January 16, 2022. (Kevin Clark / The Herald)
Community roundup: 3 Jackson grads to D-I baseball tournament

Plus, Jayden White is headed back to the NCAA track and field nationals, the Silvertips sign their first-round picks and more.

Washington's Sami Reynolds runs the bases against McNeese during an NCAA softball game on Saturday, May 20, 2023, in Seattle. (AP Photo/John Froschauer)
Local softball stars Reynolds, Mahler set for WCWS

Washington’s Sami Reynolds (Snohomish) and Stanford’s River Mahler (Monroe) each play prominent roles on their Pac-12 teams.

The Mariners’ Cal Raleigh smiles as a teammate throws bubblegum at him during an interview after Raleigh hit a single to drive in the winning run against the Yankees during the 10th inning of a game Wednesday in Seattle. (AP Photo/Lindsey Wasson)
Raleigh’s RBI single in 10th gives M’s 1-0 win over Yankees

George Kirby pitches one of the best games of his young career with eight shutout innings in Seattle’s 1-0 win.

AquaSox top Hops on wild pitch in 11th inning

Everett edges Hillsboro 3-2 in a game with strong pitching on both sides.

Alberto Rodriguez.
Rodriguez puts on power display, leads AquaSox to series win

The 22-year-old outfielder mashed 11 extra-base hits, including six home runs, as Everett took five of seven from Eugene.

Most Read