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Beckett blanks Yanks, wins MVP
10/26/2003 1:34 AM ET
NEW YORK -- It took Josh Beckett no time at all to prove his manager right.

Pitching on three days' rest, it took Beckett 107 pitches to quiet the naysayers, carry the Marlins to a World Series title and garner Most Valuable Player honors for his effort.

Beckett threw the first complete-game shutout in a deciding World Series game in 12 years, beating the New York Yankees, 2-0, to send the home team to its first postseason series loss at Yankee Stadium in 22 years.

Beckett was brilliant in two World Series starts. In Game 3 on Oct. 21, he allowed two runs on three hits over 7 1/3 innings and lost. But on Saturday, with it all on the line, he scattered five hits and retired 11 of the final 13 batters he faced. He even recorded the last out, tagging Jorge Posada on a weak chopper down the first-base line.

The shutout was the 19th in a World Series-deciding game. Beckett's 47 strikeouts in the postseason tied Randy Johnson (2001) for the all-time record in a single postseason.

And to think, manager Jack McKeon had to explain himself when he announced that Beckett would be pitching Game 6 on short rest.

Can't pitch on short rest? Pu-leeeze.

"That's your opinion," McKeon said. No, actually it's a stat. Historically, pitchers have mostly lost in the playoffs when they don't get their full four days of rest.

"I don't believe in history," McKeon said. "That's in the past. We've got guys that are dealing in the future. Whether it's three days or four days, guys have a tendency to lose a little. But this guy (Beckett) is special. This guy has the guts of a burglar. He's mentally tough. I knew he had the confidence to go out there and do the job tonight."

Or maybe Beckett was what he said his team might be when this World Series started -- just stupid enough to win this thing.

"You might still see him tomorrow with that blank look on his face, saying 'what just happened?" Chad Fox said of his 23-year-old teammate.

Judging from Beckett's deadpan comments after the game, Fox's prediction doesn't sound so far-fetched.

"It is a relief," Becket offered. "But I don't know, it's kind of, you can't believe we don't have a game tomorrow. Not to say that winning the World Series championship is not a big thing, but ... we don't have a game tomorrow. So it's kind of a relief to get to go deer hunting now. I'm looking forward to that."

The Yankees offered more insight to what made Beckett so unhittable in this deciding game.

"He was pitching a little different," Derek Jeter said. "He was throwing more off-speed pitches and doing a good job of throwing his curveball in hitter's counts."

Said Bernie Williams: "His best pitch today was his curveball. It's something we didn't see too much of the first time we saw him."

Fox watched a little of the game from the clubhouse and figured something special was going to happen on this night.

"Everybody knows he has a good fastball," Fox said. "But his breaking ball is flat out filthy. I watched the first four innings in here (clubhouse) and it was just dropping straight down. When you have three pitches going, you pretty much know you're going to be able to dominate a game.

"You don't teach that. That's just God-given ability and talent right there. It looked like he was a 10-year veteran out there. He looked like he knew exactly what he was doing."

Come to think of it, the Marlins as a team have given that impression through most of the postseason. This is a club that was picked to lose to everyone they played in October -- first the Giants, then the Cubs, and finally, the Yankees.

"(The Yankees) are who we wanted because they are who they are," Beckett said. "They have got 26 championships, and we wanted to play them because if you are going to beat somebody, why not beat the best?"

And Beckett beat the best, in the most convincing fashion. He allowed the fewest hits in a shutout to end a World Series in 20 years. He is the youngest pitcher to win a clinching World Series game since Bret Saberhagen won as a 21-year-old in 1985.

"The youth out there, he's enjoying the moment and believing in himself," Fox said. "He felt like he was invincible. And that's what you want out on the mound in Game 6 like tonght. He's been doing this all along. Now, he's getting the credit he deserves."

This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.