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World Series 2001
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10/22/2001 06:55 AM ET
Peaches and pits: The best and worst performances of Game 5
By Kevin T. Czerwinski
MLB.com
More....
NLCS Audio Report
Braves on MLB Radio:
Smoltz | Glavine | Maddux | Andruw Jones
D-Backs on MLB Radio:
Counsell | Schilling | Durazo
Finely | Johnson | Garagiola Jr
Mark Grace's reaction: 56k | 300k
Luis Gonzalez's reaction:
56k | 300k
Matt Williams gets doused:
56k | 300k
D-Backs celebrate: 56k | 300k
Game highlights: 56k | 300k

Is it too late for Bob Brenly to run for Senate in Arizona? How about Curt Schilling and Randy Johnson? They could be the mayor and deputy mayor of Phoenix.

The trio, supported by a sterling effort by Craig Counsell, made the National League Championship Series their own little playground. The end result, the Diamondbacks will play for glory while the Braves head home again, once again wondering what it's like to sip champagne at season's end. Kevin Czerwinski followed the NLCS for MLB.com. Here are his observations on the clincher.

One peach = fruitcake. Five peaches = cobbler king.

ARIZONA

P Randy Johnson
The Big Unit erased past postseason failures in this series, picking up another victory Sunday night. Johnson wasn't the dominating hurler he has been in the past, getting into trouble on several occasions. But he gutted his way through a 35-pitch seventh inning to earn his first trip to the World Series. He's big, he's bad and he'll have the chance to dash the hopes of his former team or the defending world champs in just a few days. We can hardly wait.


Manager Bob Brenly
It doesn't take a managerial genius to run Randy Johnson and Curt Schilling out there twice a week over the course of the season. You do, however, have to know which buttons to push and when. He started Danny Bautista on a hunch, sent Erubiel Durazo up to bat for an ailing Mark Grace and helped closer Byung-Hyun Kim grow up in some tight spots. He becomes the first rookie skipper to guide his team to the World Series since Jim Frey took Kansas City there in 1980. Brenly has proven to be an emotional and logical leader for a team on the verge of greatness.


CF Danny Bautista
He came into the game batting less than .200 in his career against Tom Glavine. But he made Brenly's hunch pay off in a big way, driving in Arizona's first run with a fourth-inning single. He also made a nice diving catch in the fifth to help stall an Atlanta rally. Bautista went from being an unknown to being a pseudo-hero, stepping up to be the gutsy kind of role player championship teams need.


PH/1B Erubiel Durazo
His pinch-hit, two-run homer in the fifth was the difference. He's been highly touted as a first baseman of the future but has had trouble breaking into the D-Backs lineup. Durazo showed on Sunday night, though, that he's capable of coming through with the big hit when needed. His shot will go down in postseason history, finally chasing away the ghost of Todd Pratt for Arizona.

ATLANTA

P Tom Glavine
The classy lefty didn't fold like Greg Maddux, but he did suffer the same fate as his heralded teammate, watching as the Braves caved defensively when it counted most. Two of the three runs he surrendered were unearned, so he clearly deserved a better fate. He was Atlanta's best pitcher in the postseason and has been one of the finest playoff pitchers in recent memory. Alas, he'll be remembered more for being part of a Braves team that can never win the big one.


SS Rey Sanchez
He had an up-and-down series but had two hits and reached base three times on Sunday, so don't blame him for not coming through when it counted. Sanchez scored a run in the seventh and helped make things tight for the Big Unit.

Zero
3B/CF Chipper Jones/Andruw Jones
Take your pick. The two were interchangeable Sunday night. Both were awful. Let's be fair, though. Both were feeling a bit under the weather. But with their team on the brink of elimination, one would think these two postseason studs would have come up with better efforts. They went a combined 0-for-7 with four strikeouts. Larry and Druw, Druw and Larry. These are two Joneses who couldn't keep up with themselves Sunday night.


1B Julio Franco
The ageless wonder turned the postseason into his own personal advertisement for the AARP. He was solid on the field again and came up big at the plate against the Big Unit. Franco smacked a fourth-inning homer and drove in Atlanta's second run off Johnson in the seventh. He probably won't be back with the Braves next season and if he is, it won't be in a starting role. But Franco showed over the course of the last three weeks that age really doesn't matter.

Kevin Czerwinski is a reporter for MLB.com.