- The Washington Times - Thursday, October 26, 2000


NEW YORK Like the price of Manhattan real estate, the New York Yankees are hard to keep down.

Derek Jeter hit a leadoff home run and scored twice as the Yankees defeated the New York Mets 3-2 in Game 4 of the World Series last night before 55,290 at Shea Stadium.

With the victory, the Yankees took a 3-1 stranglehold on the best-of-7 Series, the first between the teams and the first all-New York Subway Series since 1956.

Two nights after suffering their first World Series loss in four years, the Yankees can capture their fourth title in the last five seasons and 26th overall with a victory tonight at Shea. Andy Pettitte (21-9) will take the mound for the Yankees against the Mets' Al Leiter (16-8) in a matchup of left-handers.

"We take the same approach every Series, whether it's the World Series or the first two rounds," Jeter said in front of the Yankees' dugout seconds after the final out. "We've been fortunate the last few years. These Mets are the best team we've played in the World Series so far. These guys don't want to lose. They have a resilient team."

Scott Brosius and Luis Sojo each had an RBI for the Yankees, and Mike Piazza hit a two-run homer for the Mets, his second of the Series.

Facing an opponent energized by its Game 3 victory and sporting the best regular-season home record in baseball (55-26), the Yankees came into the game preaching a simple mantra: get ahead early.

"[The Mets] have been extremely tough here," Pettitte said before the game. "One of our keys is to try and come out and get some runs on the board early."

The Yankees did just that on Jeter's home run on the game's first pitch and built a 3-0 lead by the top of the third. The Mets rallied to 3-2 on Piazza's shot in the same inning, but the Yankees shut them down from there.

"That run [on Jeter's homer] was the difference in the game," Mets manager Bobby Valentine said. "We did a good job getting back into it, but we couldn't cap it off."

Yankees left-hander Denny Neagle who almost didn't start after losing twice in the American League Championship Series gave up four hits and two runs in 4 2/3 innings, striking out three and walking two.

Relievers David Cone, Jeff Nelson and Mike Stanton combined to throw 2 1/3 innings of shutout relief for the Yankees before closer Mariano Rivera worked the last two for his sixth World Series save, tying a record held by Rollie Fingers.

"We need every single contribution from every single pitcher," Yankees manager Joe Torre said. "We know how good they [Mets] are in this ballpark."

Mets right-hander Bobby J. Jones (12-7) took the loss, allowing four hits and three runs over five innings while striking out three and walking three.

Down 3-2 in the seventh, the Mets had an opportunity to pull even as pinch hitter Lenny Harris drew a one-out walk off Nelson. But Stanton fanned pinch hitters Bubba Trammel and Kurt Abbott to preserve the Yankees' lead.

Down by three, the Mets got back in the game in the third on Piazza's 375-foot shot to left that landed in the same area as Jeter's leadoff homer in the first. Timo Perez had singled to start the inning before Piazza who had pulled a potential home run just foul in the first unloaded for his fourth homer of the postseason.

Jeter, who has hit safely in 13 straight Series games, matching the fourth longest streak in history, had led off the top of the third with a line-drive triple to the center field wall and scored on a fielder's choice by Sojo to put the Yankees up 3-0.

The Yankees had an opportunity to extend their lead in the sixth. With two out and runners on first and second, waiver wire pickup Jose Canseco was sent in to pinch hit. The burly Canseco's first appearance of the postseason was forgettable, however, as reliever Glendon Rusch struck him out looking on an inside fastball to end the inning.

The Yankees took a 2-0 lead in the second on a sacrifice fly by Brosius. Paul O'Neill led off the inning with a standing triple into the right-field corner that was badly misplayed by Perez, and Jones intentionally walked Jorge Posada to bring up Brosius.

Struggling to control his pitches early, Jones nearly walked the next batter, Neagle, before striking him out in a seven-pitch sequence. Jones also failed to help his own cause from the plate in the bottom of the second, popping up with two out and runners on first and second.

Neagle had issued a one-out walk to Game 3 hero Benny Agbayani, who advanced to second on Jay Payton's single. But Mike Bordick hit a fly ball to second base to bring up Jones.

Like Jones, Neagle also squandered a chance to help himself at the plate though not by much. With two on and two out in the top of the fourth, he hit a fly ball to the warning track in right-center.

On the first pitch of the game, Jeter walloped a 78-mph pitch high and deep into the left-field bleachers, staking the Yankees to a 1-0 lead and stunning a crowd already rendered sedate by a live, pregame Baha Men performance of the ubiquitous new stadium anthem "Who Let the Dogs Out."

Neagle nearly gave up a home run of his own in the bottom of the first. After walking Edgardo Alfonzo, he floated a changeup to Piazza, who crushed the ball just wide of the left-field foul pole. Piazza subsequently struck out, and Todd Zeile grounded to short to end the inning.

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