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World Series 2001
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10/12/2001 11:20 PM ET
D-Backs' first playoff experience painful
By Gary Rausch
The Diamondbacks not only had their first taste of postseason play in 1999, they tasted it sooner in their history than any expansion team in Major League history, winning the NL West by 14 games to qualify in their second season -- a year sooner than the previous best.

Colorado held the previous quickest qualification at three years. The New York Mets and Colorado were the next quickest, each winning a title in their eighth seasons.

By virtue of their division title, the Diamondbacks had a home-field advantage, taking on the Mets, who qualified as the Wild Card club with a one-game playoff victory in Cincinnati the day before.

The Mets seemed to still be riding the momentum from their win at Cincinnati, immediately taking away the home-field edge with an 8-4 win in the series opener. The Diamondbacks rallied to even the series at a game apiece behind the arm of Todd Stottlemyre and the bat of Steve Finley, cruising to a 7-1 victory.

Stottlemyre, continuing his amazing return from a tear in his right labrum, worked 6 2/3 innings of four-hit ball, allowing just a run, while Finley went 2-for-3 with a double and five runs batted in. Matt Williams also chipped in with three hits and three runs scored.

The Diamondbacks weren't as fortunate upon arriving in New York, losing both games and a shot at returning to Bank One Ballpark for a possible fifth game. The Mets dominated Game 3, posting a 9-2 win in their return to Shea Stadium. They scored three times in four innings off starter Omar Daal, then put the game away with a six-run sixth inning.

Arizona's season came to an abrupt and heartbreaking end in a Saturday matinee at Shea, as Todd Pratt ended the affair and the Diamondbacks' season with a 10th-inning homer. The Diamondbacks had taken a 3-2 lead in the eighth when Jay Bell doubled home a pair of runs, missing a three-run homer by a matter of inches. Pratt, subbing for the injured Mike Piazza, had been hitless in seven at-bats in the series prior to sending the Mets to the next level with his shot just out of Finley's reach in center field.

Gary Rausch is a reporter for