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On This Day In History | 2001

October 22, 2012

The Yanks enjoy a reserved pennant celebration

No game 6!  No game 6!  No game 6!

| The fans after Tino Martinez‘ 8th-inning homer, in reference to Piniella’s promise |

On this day 11 years ago the Yankees clinched their 4th consecutive pennant, and 5th in 6 years, in a 12-3 shellacking of Seattle in Yankee Stadium.  The Mariners, who had tied the 1906 Cubs for most wins in a season with 116, were pushed to the brink the night before when Alfonso Soriano stroked a game-winning home run in the 9th to give the Yanks a 3-1 edge in the series.  In game 5 the M’s were hoping to stave off the fate that awaited their fellow record holders who lost the 1906 Fall Classic to the White Sox.  In an effort to spur his club on, Lou Piniella promised to the media that the series would return to Seattle, but Andy Pettitte and the potent Yankee offense proved to be 2 insurmountable obstacles to that goal.

Pettite, the eventual ALCS MVP, allowed 3 runs over 6.1 innings and a cocktail of Ramiro Mendoza, Mike Stanton, and Mariano Rivera yielded just 1 hit over the final 2.2 innings to a Mariners offense that scored 927 runs during the regular season.

The Bombers had no such trouble pushing runs across the plate.  By the time Seattle plated 3 runs in the 7th, the Yankees had built a comfortable 9-0 lead.  A sacrifice fly by Derek Jeter, a double by David Justice, and a home run by Bernie Williams gave the Yanks a 4-run 3rd inning.  A solo shot by Paul O’Neill an inning later pushed the lead to 5-0, then another 4-run inning followed courtesy of a wild pitch by John Halama, a single by Chuck Knoblauch, a walk by Jeter, and a single by Justice.  By the time Tino Martinez blasted a 3-run home run in the 8th, the Yankees had a 9-run lead with 3 outs to go.  Rivera, the greatest closer in postseason history, did not delay the celebration long, throwing 12 pitches to clinch another series for New York.

Winning the pennant was a cathartic experience for both a team and a city that had endured so much over the last month.  As the Yanks celebrated a 38th trip to the series, the wreckage of the Twin Towers still smoldered on the other side of the city.  The Yankees had also trailed the Oakland A’s 0-2 in the 5-game ALDS, yet came back to win 3 straight games and move on to the ALCS.  At a time when New Yorkers needed something to believe in, the Yankees provided postseason magic for a broken city.  As a gesture of respect for those still mourning, a simple toast by manager Joe Torre replaced the typical rowdy champagne celebration.  Even the disappointed Seattle skipper felt the emotion of the moment: “The one thought that did come to my mind strangely enough is this city had suffered a lot and let out a lot of emotion.  I felt good for them.  I really did.  That’s a strange thought from a manager who was getting whipped badly.”

Down 2-0 to one of the best clubs in baseball, you never, never, never doubted yourselves.  This city needed something like this. We needed something like this.

| Joe Torre in his post-game toast |

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