Just Like Always, Yankees Bounce Back
Oct. 18, 1998
NEW YORK (AP) _ As always, the New York Yankees bounced back.
They've been doing it all year long, ever since that 0-3 start.
Sure, they set an AL record with 114 wins. Looking at that total, you'd think they steamrolled everyone. But in 50 of those games, they came from behind to win.
Against Texas and Cleveland in the playoffs, they didn't need to, scoring 17 of their 36 runs in the first inning.
But the truest test of a great team is how it does under pressure, and Chuck Knoblauch and Tino Martinez handled it with ease in Saturday night's 9-6 win over San Diego in the World Series opener.
``It's been what we've been doing all year,'' said David Wells, who got the win despite allowing five runs. ``That just goes to show you what our hitters are made of.''
Knoblauch's tying three-run homer off Donne Wall stunned San Diego in the seventh, and Martinez's grand slam off Mark Langston later in the inning finished off the Padres.
All summer long, stuff like that seemed to happen every night.
``You've got to play the whole nine innings. You've got to bear down for nine innings,'' Yankees designated hitter Chili Davis said. ``You don't, and a three-run lead, four-run lead, five-run lead can disappear.''
It happened in 1996, too, when the Yankees won their first Series title in 18 years.
They lost the first two games at home to Atlanta, and many were counting them out. After winning Game 3, they trailed 6-0 the next night, only to have Jim Leyritz hit a tying three-run homer off Mark Wohlers. New York went on to win in extra innings and wound up beating the Braves 4-2.
Last year's Yankees didn't have that determination. They were four outs away from advancing to the second round, but Sandy Alomar's eighth-inning homer off Marino Rivera shook them up, and the Indians went on to win Games 4 and 5, sending the Yankees home to a bitter winter.
Fast forward to '98, when the Yankees could never be counted out.
Last weekend, they trailed Cleveland 2-1 following Knoblauch's bonehead play in Game 2 and Andy Pettitte's awful start in Game 3. But, unlike '97, these Yankees find a way.
Orlando ``El Duque'' Hernandez toyed with the Indians in Game 4, and New York coasted from there.
``The pitchers have been going very well all year,'' Wells said. ``The hitters have been coming through when we needed it.''
It's been 48 years since the Yankees swept a World Series, since Casey Stengel's team wiped out the Phillies.
Sweeps are rare. But so are the '98 Yankees.