13 years ago, Luis Gonzalez and the D-backs walked off on the Yankees in Game 7
13 years ago, D-backs walked off Yankees in Game 7
On Nov. 4, 2001, then-Yankees closer Mariano Rivera woke up as one of (if not the) greatest relief pitchers in the history of MLB's storied postseason. Through 51 career postseason appearances, Rivera had earned 24 saves and six wins while maintaining a 0.61 ERA. He had blown a single save.
Then Game 7 happened.
In the eighth inning, Alfonso Soriano broke a 1-1 tie with a solo home run off D-backs pitcher Curt Schilling, who had started the game on three days' rest. Randy Johnson came out of the bullpen for Arizona after having thrown 104 pitches in the Game 6 victory the night before. The Big Unit retired all four batters he faced, but the D-backs still trailed by a run heading into the bottom of the ninth.
Actually, Rivera had already thrown a scoreless eighth, striking out Luis Gonzalez, Matt Williams and Danny Bautista in order. The ninth, however, didn't go as smoothly.
Mark Grace led off with a single to center. Damian Miller attempted to sacrifice pinch-runner David Dellucci into scoring position, but Rivera tried to get the out at second instead of taking the easy one at first. His errant throw left runners at first and second with nobody out. Jay Bell then laid down a bunt, but Rivera was only able to get the lead runner out at third as Scott Brosius held onto the ball instead of trying for a second out at first.
Tony Womack's double tied the game, 2-2, and left runners at second and third with one out. Rivera plunked Craig Counsell to bring Gonzo back up to the dish, and you surely remember how that turned out:
Randy Johnson got the win and shared co-MVP honors with Curt Schilling as the D-backs won their first World Series championship, preventing the Bronx Bombers from winning their fourth consecutive title.