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World Series 2001
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10/30/2001 01:31 AM ET
Pettitte did his part
By Mark Feinsand
MLB.com
Pettitte tosses a new ball in the air after giving up a three-run homer to Matt Williams in the seventh inning.
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Pettitte's seven strikeouts: 56k | 300k
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PHOENIX -- On any other night, Andy Pettitte might have been the main story. In any other game, his performance might have been the cause for celebration for the Yankees. On this night, he had the misfortune of pitching against Randy Johnson, whose three-hit shutout stole the show in Arizona's 4-0 Game 2 win.

Pettitte's pitching line -- four runs on five hits over seven innings -- does not reflect the outing he had on Sunday night. Pettitte virtually matched Johnson pitch-for-pitch over the first six innings, striking out seven without walking a single batter. Then, after Danny Bautista lined a single off his right leg, Pettitte gave up the crushing blow -- a three-run home run to Matt Williams, putting Arizona up 4-0, effectively ending any chance of a comeback against Johnson.

"We knew coming in that we were going to have to match their pitching staff with Randy and Curt out there," Pettitte said. "I wasn't able to do it tonight. Maybe if I get out of that inning, it's a totally different situation, but that was the ballgame. We had two guys on the next inning and we could have bunted them over if it had still been 1-0."

Pettitte was every bit of the big-game pitcher the Yankees needed him to be on Sunday night. His 6-foot-10 counterpart just came up bigger.

"Randy dominated. That's the bottom line," Pettitte said. "He was awesome early, but I felt like he made a few more mistakes later in the game. Even then, he is so strong, his velocity is so good, you don't quite get it and you foul pitches off."

The Diamondbacks gave Johnson all of the offense he would need in the second inning, when Bautista's double to right field brought Reggie Sanders home from first base, putting the D-Backs ahead 1-0.

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Over the next four-plus innings, Pettitte settled in, allowing just one single as he retired 14 of the next 15 batters. Unfortunately for the southpaw, the Big Unit wasn't giving the Yankees anything to hit.

"He was flat out nasty," said D-Backs catcher Damian Miller. "He pitched me as tough as anyone has all year."

With the score still 1-0 after six, the Yankees were convinced that if they could just get to Johnson for one run, they would have a shot. Then, in the seventh, Pettitte ended that idea with one pitch. His cutter to Williams, an 0-1 pitch, sent the Bank One Ballpark crowd into a frenzy, and the Yankees back to New York down 2-0 in the best-of-seven series.

"It was supposed to be down and in. I threw a real good one the first pitch, but that one was right there. I elevated it for him and everything," said Pettitte of the home run pitch. "I don't know what happened. It's the World Series, I usually don't make that mistake, but I made it. I'm not a big fan of Matt's right now. I thought I had a World Series base hit, and he took that away from me too."

"Andy had thrown me one in the previous pitch on the inside corner, and he just left that one out over the plate a little bit," Williams said. "It didn't do anything for us. As it turned out, we did not need it, Randy pitched great."

"Pettitte pitched well enough to win, we just didn't score any runs for him," said Derek Jeter. "He made one mistake, and Matt Williams took advantage of it."

The location of the pitch was surprising, given Pettitte's impeccable control over the first six innings. On the night, he threw 80 pitches -- 64 of them for strikes. Even Johnson said that he felt like he had very little room for error.

"I thought it would be a 1-0 ballgame, but Matty steps up and hits the three-run home run," Johnson said. "That's what a pitcher likes to see, if nothing else, maybe one run scores, so you've got a little more breathing room. But Andy Pettitte was very efficient out there."

Despite what the box score reads, Pettitte felt that this was one of his finest postseason pitching performances.

"It's frustrating," Pettitte said. "I felt strong, felt like I threw a pretty good game. I thought I pitched one of the better games that I've thrown in the postseason. I made a couple of bad pitches, and they didn't miss them."

"Andy is such a big-game guy," said manager Joe Torre. "To pitch on the road, with all of the distraction, with the crowd noise, he gets so locked in. He's a big guy for me. I learned that in '96 and that's why I've been an Andy Pettitte fan ever since that because he never disappoints."

As for the series, Pettitte said that the Yankees have had to fight back before, and they'll try to do it once again. For him, having Roger Clemens on the mound for Game 3 is a perfect way to start making a comeback.

"We've been down this road before," said Pettitte. "We realize it's tough, they have a great pitching staff, but we're going to have to try to pull it off again. Randy pitched awesome, but we have a pretty good pitcher going in Game 3 for us, so we have a lot of confidence."

Mark Feinsand is the site reporter for Yankees.com. He can be reached at mfeinsand@yankees.com.