- The Washington Times - Friday, October 12, 2001

NEW YORK Yankee Stadium has played host to its fair share of postseason pitching gems over the course of the venue's storied history. And more often than not, the victorious individual standing atop the mound at game's end was wearing pinstripes.
Not so last night. Tim Hudson is one of baseball's brightest young hurlers, and he's proud to wear the hunter green and gold of the Oakland Athletics. Especially on nights like this.
Hudson tossed eight brilliant shutout innings, pitching out of three major jams in the sixth, seventh and eighth, and led the A's to a stirring 2-0 victory over New York in Game 2 of the American League Division Series, pushing the Yankees to the brink of playoff elimination. No team has come back to win a five-game series after losing the first two games at home.
Pitching with all the poise and purpose of a seasoned veteran, the 26-year-old right-hander scattered six hits and one walk over his eight innings while getting offensive support from an unlikely source: part-time outfielder/DH Ron Gant, whose fourth-inning solo home run constituted the game's lone run until Oakland added one in the ninth on Johnny Damon's triple and Scott Brosius' error.
Pulled after the eighth, Hudson watched as closer Jason Isringhausen escaped a first-and-second, no-out jam by retiring three straight batters for his second save in as many nights.
Needing just one more win to knock off the three-time defending champions, the A's return home seeking a series sweep tomorrow.
Hudson pitched with relative ease early on; for five innings, all New York could muster against the A's ace was a Derek Jeter single to right field in the first and a Jorge Posada walk in the fifth.
But his mettle truly was tested in the sixth, seventh and eighth innings, with the Yankees threatening to score each time.
In the sixth, Chuck Knoblauch and Jeter each singled, bringing crowd favorite Paul O'Neill, a 17-year veteran who is likely to retire at the end of the season, to the plate in a clutch situation.
Hudson fell behind in the count 2-0, but got O'Neill to take a pair of strikes before running the count full. With both runners going on the 3-2 pitch, O'Neill lofted a high fly ball to right-center field that was easily hauled in by Johnny Damon to end the rally and silence the crowd.
An inning later, New York again put a couple runners on base Tino Martinez and David Justice both singled to right field, with Martinez moving to third on the latter's hit. With relievers Jeff Tam and Mike Magnante ready to emerge from the bullpen, A's manager Art Howe strode to the mound to talk with his young starter. Hudson appeared to repeatedly say "I'm ready, I'm ready," and convinced his manager to keep him in the game.
Smart move. Two pitches later, Hudson got Scott Brosius to tap a broken-bat grounder up the middle, a slow roller that was scooped up by second baseman Frank Menechino, who then stepped on the bag for the third out.
Howe let Hudson sitting on a pitch count of 101 take the mound again in the eighth, and once again the lanky right-hander didn't disappoint.
Knoblauch singled with one out, bringing the meat of the New York lineup to the plate, but Hudson jammed Jeter with nothing but inside fastballs and got the All-Star shortstop to ground into a force out. O'Neill then hit a harmless popup to third base for the third out.
The usual glitz and glamour of October baseball at Yankee Stadium were certainly visible last night, but the game began under somewhat muted tones, with greater world events clearly still on everyone's minds. Originally scheduled for 8:17 p.m., the game's first pitch was pushed back a half-hour to compensate for President Bush's White House press conference.
The delayed start resulted in the surreal scene of 56,000 fans sitting in total silence, watching the live news feed on the stadium Jumbotron.
"I think everybody is going to be interested in what the President has got to say," A's first baseman Jason Giambi said before the game. "It's an important thing, the right thing to do."
Once the game began, Pettitte found himself facing much the same problem as teammate Roger Clemens from Game 1: having thrown a lot of pitches in only a few innings' time. Clemens, hampered by a tight hamstring, lasted all of four innings. Pettitte, who had thrown 67 pitches by the end of the third inning, got out of a couple early jams, striking out Eric Chavez with two on and two out twice.

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