The Arizona Diamondbacks have defeated the New York Yankees, 3-2, in game seven, to win major league baseball's World Series four games to three. The dramatic victory Sunday in Phoenix was a perfect ending to a thrilling Fall Classic. It was the third game of the series that turned on home-team heroics in the bottom of the ninth inning.
Arizona trailed 2-1, heading into its final inning, before rallying against New York closer Mariano Rivera for two runs in the bottom of the ninth for the decisive victory. Tony Womack doubled-in the tying run and Luis Gonzalez singled to send Jay Bell home with the winner.
The home team won all seven games in the series. Arizona won the first two in Phoenix. The Yankees mystique grew, as they swept the middle three games in New York - including twice coming back from two runs down with two-out home runs in the bottom of the ninth, to allow them to win Games Four and Five. But the series returned to Phoenix for the final two games. The Diamondbacks drubbed New York, 15-two, in game six, to tie the series at three wins each.
The final game was a classic pitching duel between Arizona's Curt Schilling and New York's Roger Clemens - the man Schilling credits with turning his career around after the two men met in 1991. Schilling says the Diamondbacks' victory was good for the sport. "This is great for baseball. We beat the best team in baseball to win a World Series," he said. "I mean, you just can't imagine the feeling of looking around the room and knowing that every single guy in that room is responsible for that World Series trophy that is now in the Arizona Diamondbacks' possession."
Arizona's Randy Johnson won the game in a relief role. Schilling and Johnson were named the co-Most Valuable Players of the Series.
The 2001 Fall Classic was baseball on its grandest scale. It was a tale of two cities, east and west. New York - home of the sport's legendary Yankees - and Phoenix, one of baseball's newest franchises, trying to win it all in the Diamondbacks' fourth year of existence. Yankees Manager Joe Torre says he hopes the series helped, in some small way, to dull the country's horror of the September 11 World Trade Center terror attacks and move it toward normalcy. "I think the people in New York got what they wanted. They saw a ball club out there that struggled at times and yet found a way to get through it. And I think that pretty much epitomizes what they've been doing here for the past couple of months," said Mr. Torre. "This year, we represented more than just baseball fans. You know, the people that needed a lift."
New York has been to the World Series five times during Torre's six-year stint as manager. Despite the loss, the Yankees have 26 championships - the most of any team in any sport.