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World Series 2001
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11/04/2001 03:41 AM ET
Muskat: Schilling expects to win
Curt Schilling expects to beat his mentor, Roger Clemens (above), Sunday.
PHOENIX -- Let's make sure we get Curt Schilling's quotes correct. The D-Backs pitcher expects to win Sunday in Game 7 of the World Series in his head-to-head battle with his mentor, Roger Clemens. Period.

Someone asked Schilling, Arizona's Game 7 starter -- and Game 1 and 4 -- if he stood behind his statement that if he got the ball in the finale, the D-Backs would win. "No, I don't stand behind it," Schilling said, laughing incredulously. "No. I back down. We're going to lose."

There are no stupid questions, but that might be borderline silly.

"I've never taken the ball not expecting to win," Schilling said, "and I would assume if you asked Roger the same question, he'd tell you he plans on winning tomorrow, too."

The Diamondbacks have a good chance. The Yankees' mystique and aura is starting to melt in the desert.

Maybe they can squeeze a few more folks into Bank One Ballpark for Sunday's finale. There's one more game, gang, after the D-Backs romped 15-2 Saturday behind Randy Johnson and the righties, led by Danny Bautista's five RBIs.

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"Today was the first day either one of the teams stepped up," Arizona's Luis Gonzalez said. "It was a long ride here but we haven't done anything easy all year."

It was a difficult game for the Yankees to watch. Manager Joe Torre even took out regulars Derek Jeter, Jorge Posada and Tino Martinez before Randy Johnson departed.

"There were bullets all over the field," Jeter said about Arizona's World Series record 22-hit attack. "They swung the bats today, that's the bottom line. They came ready and they had some quality at-bats. Everything they hit was hard. They killed us, that's the bottom line."

Did they really? Not to sound too gross, but did the D-Backs stick a dagger in the Yankees? Will it be three straight World Championships and out?

"I like our chances now," Johnson said. "I like our chances being at home, in front of our crowd but I take nothing away from the New York Yankees because they're the defending champs and they have a very good pitcher throwing for them (Sunday)."

Schilling and Clemens. Two 20-game winners. It doesn't get any better. And how does the Arizona ace plan to prepare for this titanic tilt? He'll pray, play a little PlayStation football with his son, take a sleeping pill and then go get 'em.

"I think what I said before (Saturday's) game stands," Schilling said. "I believed before the game that if we could get by tonight, we'd win the World Series. I believe that. I really believe that."

The D-Backs need to just so Arizona owner Jerry Colangelo doesn't hear Frank Sinatra sing about New York, New York in his head. The tune is a Yankee Stadium tradition after wins and the BOB music staff mocked it after Saturday's game, starting the song and then scratching the record short of the chorus.

"They were playing that song over and over," Colangelo said about the three games in New York. "It seemed like it went on for an hour and a half. We were having a little fun, that's all. If they can't take a joke, to hell with them."

The Yankees haven't been challenged like this since 1964, the last time they had to play a seven-game World Series. New York lost that one to St. Louis and a hard throwing right-hander, Bob Gibson. It was a different era but could be the same result.

"The good thing is, there's always tomorrow," Posada said. "There's no tomorrow tomorrow."

Who's sizzling: Danny Bautista, one of three right-handed subs in the D-Backs lineup, drove in five runs. Ten different Arizona players had at least one hit, including Johnson who had a RBI single.

Who's fizzling: Any transplanted Yankee fans who live in Arizona. Bautista also may qualify -- it's doubtful he'll start Sunday.

Fearless prediction: The only thing that will stop Schilling is the right-hander himself if he gets too pumped up about Game 7. He's cocky and has every right to be.

Carrie Muskat is a reporter for MLB.com.