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Matchup: Beckett vs. NY offense
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10/22/2003  2:01 AM ET 
Matchup: Beckett vs. NY offense
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Beckett nearly lethal to Yankees

Josh Beckett
Derek Jeter
The matchup: Electric right-hander Josh Beckett vs. the New York Yankees' offense.

The Yankees salvaged a 1-1 split with a big win in Game 2 in Yankee Stadium, but three games on hostile turf in South Florida could change the picture a little bit -- especially when Josh Beckett is part of that picture.

If the Marlins' 23-year-old, right-handed phenom is locating his curveball, which he'll use along with a high-90s fastball, he can be unhittable. With the Yankees' offense still not in high gear, it could be a long, sweaty night for New York in the Miami heat.

The expectation: The Yankees have faced hard-throwing right-handers in these playoffs, such as Minnesota's Kyle Lohse, who reached 96 mph, and Boston's Pedro Martinez, who cracked 95. Their bats have held up to the heat.

But Beckett presents a different scenario. He has all the momentum, and after missing two months of the regular season because of injury, he comes into this series relatively fresh. In front of a home crowd, that could be a lethal combination.

The result: Beckett did everything that was asked of him, pitching another gem with 10 strikeouts in 7 1/3 innings despite having to stop and start again after a 39-minute rain delay. He gave up two runs on three hits -- all by Derek Jeter.

Beckett didn't get the win because the Marlins couldn't give him the run support he needed. Mike Mussina matched him all night, which led to a huge win for the Yankees. With Florida's ace most likely out of the picture until at earliest Game 6, it's clear that New York got away with one.

MIAMI -- Josh Beckett did what he was supposed to do Tuesday night, but so did the Yankees.

New York outlasted the Marlins in Game 3 of the World Series despite a gem from their young, fearless, freakishly talented right-hander.

Beckett came into the game sizzling after two brilliant performances in the National League Championship Series.

The Marlins fell behind the Chicago Cubs, three games to one, but Beckett's two-hit, 11-strikeout shutout in Game 5 turned everything around.

Three days later, he pitched four innings of one-run relief to keep the Marlins alive, and now they're in the World Series.

Beckett showed outspoken confidence bordering on cockiness leading up to Game 3 of the World Series, then backed it up with a dominating effort despite the loss.

He exploited every hitter in the Yankees lineup except for Derek Jeter, using his wicked two-seam and four-seam fastballs -- he works at about 97 mph -- and a devastating curveball.

Visions of another young, gas-throwing righty must have been running through the Yankees' minds as Beckett struck out 10 batters through his 7 1/3 innings.

New York ran into a very similar talent in 1997 when Jaret Wright of Cleveland dominated the Yankees in the AL Division Series. The Yankees couldn't handle Wright's 97 mph fastball and were knocked out of the first round.

On Tuesday, Beckett matched Mussina pitch for pitch.

    Josh Beckett   /   P
Height: 6'4"
Weight: 190
Bats/Throws: R/R

More info:
Player page
Marlins site

"Beckett is not easy," Yankees manager Joe Torre said. "We watched him on TV and our scouts couldn't praise anybody higher than they praise him."

Beckett's one weakness, his occasional lack of control, bit him in the fourth inning, when the Yankees tied the game, 1-1, on a Jeter double, a hit batter and two walks.

In the eighth, Jeter doubled again and Beckett was pulled. Reliever Dontrelle Willis came in and couldn't stop the bleeding, paving the way for the Yankees to take a lead they wouldn't relinquish.

It wasn't exactly a big night against the big kid from Texas, but the Yankees stole one and swung the momentum of the Fall Classic back toward Broadway.

Doug Miller is a reporter for This story was not subject to approval by Major League Baseball or its clubs.

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