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Ultimate Series: The Concept
Game 1 Story
Box Scores: Game 1 * Game 2

After failing to muster so much as a scoring threat against the1977-2002 All-Star Yankees in Mondayís opener, the All-Star Jays rallied behind veteran southpaw Jimmy Key for a 6-3 Game 2 victory in a Saturday matinee at Skydome.

In a game where the first six innings featured five solo home runs, Tommy Johnís bionic left arm kept the pinstriped squad ahead until ...

... a late eighth-inning implosion in which half of the eight batters John faced ended up crossing home plate.

"I really just wanted seven good innings from Tommy," said Yankee pitching coach Jim Bouton. ďAnd he gave us that. But we got greedy because his pitch count was still manageable, and I didnít get Goose into the game quick enough."

Yankee closer Rich "Goose" Gossage cleaned up in the eighth by inducing Kelly Gruber to bounce out to Graig Nettles with two runners on, but the damage had been done.

The Jays had no such qualms about pulling an effective starter to bring on a dominating closer to finish things off. Although Key barely cracked the 100-pitch mark through eight innings, he showed some signs of fatigue in his final frame when Rickey Henderson led off with a double and Key plunked Don Mattingly with one out. But the veteran lefty wiggled out of trouble by disposing of Reggie Jackson on strikes and George Bell atoned for a Game 1 error by making a sliding catch of a Bernie Williams gap shot to end the inning.

In the bottom of the eighth, John Olerud -- appearing as a pinch-hitter for the second straight game -- singled for Key to start the four-run rally that ultimately tagged John with the loss.

With Key cheering from the bench, Duane Ward came on in the ninth to deliver the kind of performance Yankee fans have come to expect from Gossage. On Ward's first pitch, clocked at 98 MPH, Graig Nettle bounced meekly to Olerud, who had stayed in the game at first base. Three pitches later, Thurman Munson dragged his bat back to the bench without ever seeing, much less swinging at, a Ward offering. Then Roy Smalley, inexplicably hacking at the first pitch, popped up to shallow center field where Lloyd Moseby squeezed the ball for the series-tying out.

"Five pitches, three outs," cracked Ward after the game. "I'll have to work on cutting down my pitch count."

Before the game got anywhere near Ward's capable hands, though, it started off looking like a pair of immobile prize fighters exchanging single body blows.

In the top of the first, Ricky Henderson hit Key's first pitch off the top of the left field wall, missing a home run by less than a foot, and though Key stranded the all-time steals king at second, it was a harbinger of things to come.

Carlos Delgado hit a mammoth solo homer in the bottom of the first to open the scoring, followed by bases-empty shots in the top of the second by Nettles; in the bottom of the second by Gruber; and in the top of the third by Henderson to knot the score at 2-2. While John didn't surrender another Jay hit until the fateful eighth, Key also settled down until Jackson clobbered still another solo home run in the sixth.

"After a while," noted Jays batting coach Joe Morgan, "with all the solo home runs, it was obvious that it was going to come down to whichever team knew how to win, and some clutch hitting."

The first of the "clutch hits" came from Robbie Alomar, who doubled home Olerud in the eighth. Bell and Moseby both added run-scoring singles later that same inning.

Key gave full credit for the win to his batterymate Pat Borders, who failed to reach base but, according to Key, called an outstanding game. "That was a critical move," said the winning hurler. "I mean, I love Ernie Whitt, but the only change in our lineup from the first game was getting P.B. behind the dish. And nothing works on a plate like a little P.B. and Jay."

The Yankees countered with a bizarre lineup move that saw All-Star shortstop Derek Jeter take a seat in favor of Smalley and the insertion of Henderson into left field in place of fellow Hall-of-Famer Dave Winfield. Henderson reportedly had demanded to start after making a token defensive appearance in the first game, and Yankee manager Stump Merrill apparently acquiesced.

Jeter struck out his initial three times up in the first game and, according to New York third base coach Billy Martin "loafed" on the basepaths in his other two at-bats. "Henderson is an upgrade as a leadoff hitter, sure," admitted Key. "I mean, he's an upgrade as a leadoff hitter over just about anyone who ever played the game."

"But not having to face Winfield and Jeter, that was a nice surprise."

The shift in pitching styles from the first game's flamethrowers -- Roger Clemens and Ron Guidry -- to the soft-tossing lefties Key and John was evident in drop in total strikeouts from Game 1's 27 to the Game 2's 13, even though Key had an uncharacteristically high eight punchouts.

The venue for the third game of this epic matchup will shift south of the border to the Bronx as Mike Mussina hooks up with Dave Stieb. Barenaked Ladies will perform "The Star-Spangled Banner" while Dixie Chicks counter with "O, Canada."
Key-ed Up Jays Even Ultimate Series With 6-3 Win | 3 comments | Create New Account
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_Spicol - Sunday, April 27 2003 @ 04:00 AM EDT (#33467) #
That's more like it boys!

Mick, for Game 3, assuming it's still against Pettitte, please start Borders again. If it's Cone starting instead, Whitt is the man to catch and Green shows up in RF, taking Jesse's spot in the lineup as well.
Coach - Sunday, April 27 2003 @ 12:59 PM EDT (#33468) #
nothing works on a plate like a little P.B. and Jay

I think Mick is making up some of these quotes.

Spicol, you're a genius. I'm sure you had a vision of the Olerud pinch hit, and you've got Henke fresh and ready for the next game. You also deserve credit for the excellent chemistry in the Toronto dugout. Great job.
_Mick - Sunday, April 27 2003 @ 07:22 PM EDT (#33469) #
I think Mick is making up some of these quotes.

Sir, are you calling into question my journalistic integrity?
Key-ed Up Jays Even Ultimate Series With 6-3 Win | 3 comments | Create New Account
The following comments are owned by whomever posted them. This site is not responsible for what they say.