6-run Yankee 7th ends Seattle season
By KIRBY ARNOLD
NEW YORK — For six innings, the dream of a World Series in Seattle became much more real.
The Mariners led the New York Yankees 4-3, their best relief pitchers were on the mound and they clung to the fact that each of the last seven teams that won Game 6 of the American League Championship Series went on to the World Series.
It truly was within their grasp.
Then the Yankees got a couple of seeing-eye singles the Mariner infielders couldn’t reach, relief pitcher Arthur Rhodes threw a fastball to David Justice, and everything changed.
Justice hit a three-run homer that launched a six-run rally by the Yankees, who beat the Mariners 9-7 at Yankee Stadium to win the best-of-seven-game series 4-2.
"Everything they hit seemed to find some holes," Mariners manager Lou Piniella said. "And then we just couldn’t stop the onslaught."
The Yankees are going to the World Series for the third straight time, and for the fourth time in five years.
This year’s series will be something special.
The Yankees will face the New York Mets, who won the National League championship on Monday, in the first "subway series" since the Yankees and Brooklyn Dodgers met in 1956.
For six innings, it looked as though the Mariners might derail the subway series.
They took a 4-0 lead against New York pitcher Orlando Hernandez, who was 7-0 in postseason games, and had their best relief pitchers on the mound after the Yankees made it a 4-3 game with three runs in the fourth inning.
The end came swiftly in the seventh, when M’s reliever Jose Paniagua gave up two soft singles, and then Rhodes served up the home-run pitch to Justice.
The Mariners came back with three runs in the eighth, including a solo home run by Alex Rodriguez that might have been the last big blast of his Seattle career. He’ll be a free agent this winter.
"My decision will take a little time," Rodriguez said of questions about where he’ll play next year.
The Mariners, meanwhile, boarded their team bus and checked out of their hotel before an overnight flight back to Seattle.
It was a somber group of Mariners who quietly dressed for the trip home.
"There wasn’t anything we wanted to do more than to bring a World Series to Seattle," Piniella said.
It’ll have to be another year.
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