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Godzilla, Captain hook Fish in win
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10/22/2003  2:50 AM ET 
Godzilla, Captain hook Fish in win
Matsui, Jeter, Williams back Mussina's first Series win
By Mark Feinsand / MLB.com

Hideki Matsui's two-out, eighth-inning single to left field scored Derek Jeter and gave the Yankees their first lead Tuesday. (Ezra Shaw/Getty Images)
  • Game 3 wrapup: Yankees 6, Marlins 1

    MIAMI -- Mike Mussina entered Game 3 of the World Series having not pitched with a lead all postseason. That trend continued on Tuesday, but Mussina still managed to earn his first win of the 2003 playoffs, leading the Yankees to a 6-1 victory at Pro Player Stadium.

    Mussina battled through seven rainy innings, holding the Marlins to one run in going toe-to-toe with Florida starter Josh Beckett, who took a hard loss in his first Fall Classic start.

    "I feel good about it," said Mussina about his first career World Series win. "It was a big game for us coming down here with their best guy going. We had to battle and fight and kept clawing our way through it, and we got the win."

    Hideki Matsui's opposite-field RBI single in the eighth broke a 1-1 tie, setting up Mariano Rivera for his fifth two-inning save of the postseason. Derek Jeter, who scored the Yankees' first two runs, had three hits, including a pair of doubles.

        Derek Jeter   /   SS
    Derek Jeter
    Height: 6'3"
    Weight: 195
    Bats/Throws: R/R

    More info:
    Player page
    Stats
    Splits
    Hit chart
    Yankees site

    "He's been doing that all year for us," said Jeter of Matsui. "You hear 'Godzilla' and you automatically assume he's going to be up there, swinging for the fences. The thing about him is that he understands the game and he'll take a hit the other way."

    Aaron Boone and Bernie Williams accounted for the final difference with ninth-inning home runs. Williams' was a three-run shot that set Major League records for postseason home runs and runs batted in.

    New York leads the best-of-seven series, 2-1, with Game 4 scheduled for Wednesday night in Miami. Though the Yankees are only halfway to a World Series title, the Game 3 victory could turn out to be pivotal. From the 1982 St. Louis Cardinals to last year's Anaheim Angels, the team that has won Game 3 after a 1-1 series split has gone on to win the championship in all seven opportunities.

    Juan Pierre led off the first inning with a double and scored two outs later when Miguel Cabrera poked a single to right field, giving the Marlins a quick 1-0 lead.

    For a while, it looked like that would be more than enough for Beckett, as the Marlins right-hander mowed down the first 10 Yankees he faced, four by strikeout.

    "He's tough," said Jorge Posada. "He's very sound mechanically, his fastball is great and his changeup makes him a lot tougher."

    But after Jeter doubled with one out in the fourth, the Yankees waited out Beckett, using a Jason Giambi walk and a Matsui hit-by-pitch to load the bases with two outs. Posada fell behind Beckett, 1-2, but worked out a walk, scoring Jeter from third to tie the game.

    "I thought one was up and away, and the other was down and in," said Posada of balls three and four. "I fouled off some tough pitches and he kept coming right after me. I took some tough pitches."

    Beckett got out of the inning by inducing a popup from Karim Garcia, but the Yankees made the young right-hander work. After needing just 31 pitches to get through the first three innings, Beckett threw 29 in the fourth.

        Mike Mussina   /   P
    Height: 6'2"
    Weight: 185
    Bats/Throws: R/R

    More info:
    Player page
    Stats
    Splits
    Yankees site

    Mussina settled in after allowing the early run, giving up just two more hits through the first five innings.

    "You know these are going to be low-scoring games," Mussina said. "You do the best you can to keep the team in there as long as you can."

    Rain halted play for 39 minutes with two outs in the bottom of the fifth. The rain delay was the first in a World Series game since Game 3 in 1993 between Toronto and Philadelphia, a stoppage of 72 minutes.

    Neither pitcher seemed affected by the delay, as the pair picked up right where they left off, throwing zeroes up in the sixth despite allowing a pair of baserunners each.

    Florida threatened again in the seventh, putting runners at first and second with Jeff Conine's leadoff single and a two-out intentional walk to Pierre. With rain falling again, Mussina struck out Luis Castillo for a third time, ending the inning with the score still tied, 1-1.

    "I went out and asked him who he'd rather face," said pitching coach Mel Stottlemyre of the decision. "Most of the time we make that decision for him, but he was pitching so well and had struck Castillo out twice before that, so he felt more comfortable facing him."

    Jeter lined a one-out double down the right-field line in the eighth, ending Beckett's night, as Dontrelle Willis came in from the bullpen. The rookie left-hander walked Giambi and retired Williams, but Matsui laced a single to left field, plating Jeter to snap the tie.

        Hideki Matsui   /   OF
    Height: 6'1"
    Weight: 210
    Bats/Throws: L/R

    More info:
    Player page
    Stats
    Splits
    Hit chart
    Yankees site

    "It's good that we had some baserunners and that I was able to get a hit at that time," said Matsui through his interpreter. "I was just happy that I was able to contribute to the team and help the team win the game today."

    Willis walked Posada to load the bases, but pinch-hitter Ruben Sierra struck out against Marlins right-hander Chad Fox, stranding all three runners.

    Beckett was charged with two runs in 7 1/3 innings, allowing three hits -- all by Jeter -- and three walks, striking out 10. Mussina was taken out after seven innings and 111 pitches, having given up one run on seven hits and a walk (which was intentional), striking out nine.

    "Mussina was Mussina," Stottlemyre said. "He made good pitches, kept them off stride and did a tremendous job. He had an outstanding breaking ball and spotted his fastball very well. This is the first postseason game (this year) that he won, but he pitched two others that he deserved to win."

    With a one-run lead, the Yankees turned to Rivera, their all-world closer, who needed just six pitches to retire the side in the eighth.

        Bernie Williams   /   CF
    Height: 6'2"
    Weight: 205
    Bats/Throws: S/R

    More info:
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    Hit chart
    Yankees site

    Boone, who was 1-for-11 to start the series, belted a solo home run off Fox in the ninth to give New York an insurance run. Williams padded the lead later in the inning, crushing a three-run homer to center field against Braden Looper.

    Williams now has 19 homers and 65 RBIs in the postseason, both representing the most in Major League history.

    "I think it's a function of how many times I've been fortunate enough to be on a team in the postseason," Williams said. "It feels very gratifying, obviously. Especially after this year, very frustrating having the knee surgery and then trying to heal while playing at the same time, this is very exciting."

        Mariano Rivera   /   P
    Height: 6'2"
    Weight: 185
    Bats/Throws: R/R

    More info:
    Player page
    Stats
    Splits
    Yankees site

    Rivera ended the game with a scoreless ninth. The save was the ninth of his World Series career and first since his unsuccessful save attempt in Game 7 of the 2001 World Series vs. Arizona. Rivera's 30 career postseason saves are a big-league record.

    "I'll tell you what, 2001 was 2001. This is 2003," Rivera said. "I don't care any more about what happened then. If I think back, I won't be able to get the job done now. We're in the World Series now. That's all that matters."

    Roger Clemens gets the call for Wednesday's Game 4 in the final start of his career. Florida counters with Carl Pavano.

    Mark Feinsand is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to approval by Major League Baseball or its clubs.




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