Playoff results

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MLB Playoff Schedule

WORLD SERIES (BEST-OF-SEVEN)

NY YANKEES VS ATLANTA

(NY YANKEES WIN SERIES, 4-0)

SAT, OCT. 23 — NY YANKEES 4, ATLANTA 1
SUN, OCT. 24 — NY YANKEES 7, ATLANTA 2
TUE, OCT. 26 — NY YANKEES 6, ATLANTA 5 (10 INNINGS)
WED, OCT. 27 — NY YANKEES 4, ATLANTA 1

CHAMPIONSHIP SERIES (BEST-OF-SEVEN)

AMERICAN LEAGUE

BOSTON VS NY YANKEES

(NY YANKEES WIN SERIES, 4-1)

WED, OCT. 13 — NY YANKEES 4, BOSTON 3 (10 INNINGS)
THU, OCT. 14 — NY YANKEES 3, BOSTON 2
SAT, OCT. 16 — BOSTON 13, NY YANKEES 1
SUN, OCT. 17 — NY YANKEES 9, BOSTON 2
MON, OCT. 18 — NY YANKEES 6, BOSTON 1

NATIONAL LEAGUE

NY METS VS ATLANTA

(ATLANTA WINS SERIES, 4-2)

TUE, OCT. 12 — ATLANTA 4, NY METS 2
WED, OCT. 13 — ATLANTA 4, NY METS 3
FRI, OCT. 15 — ATLANTA 1, NY METS 0
SAT, OCT. 16 — NY METS 3, ATLANTA 2
SUN, OCT. 17 — NY METS 4, ATLANTA 3 (15 INNINGS)
TUE, OCT. 19 — ATLANTA 10, NY METS 9 (11 INNINGS)

DIVISION SERIES (BEST-OF-FIVE)

AMERICAN LEAGUE

NY YANKEES VS TEXAS

(NY YANKEES WIN SERIES, 3-0)

TUE, OCT. 5  — NEW YORK 8, TEXAS 0
THU, OCT. 7  — NEW YORK 3, TEXAS 1
SAT, OCT. 9  — NEW YORK 3, TEXAS 0

CLEVELAND VS BOSTON

(BOSTON WINS SERIES, 3-2)

WED, OCT. 6  — CLEVELAND 3, BOSTON 2
THU, OCT. 7  — CLEVELAND 11, BOSTON 1
SAT, OCT. 9  — BOSTON 9, CLEVELAND 3
SUN, OCT. 10 — BOSTON 23, CLEVELAND 7
MON, OCT. 11 — BOSTON 12, CLEVELAND 8

NATIONAL LEAGUE

HOUSTON VS ATLANTA

(ATLANTA WINS SERIES, 3-1)

TUE, OCT. 5  — HOUSTON 6, ATLANTA 1
WED, OCT. 6  — ATLANTA 5, HOUSTON 1
FRI, OCT. 8  — ATLANTA 5, HOUSTON 3 (12 INNINGS)
SAT, OCT. 9  — ATLANTA 7, HOUSTON 5

NY METS VS ARIZONA

(NY METS WIN SERIES, 3-1)

TUE, OCT. 5  — NEW YORK 8, ARIZONA 4
WED, OCT. 6  — ARIZONA 7, NEW YORK 1
FRI, OCT. 8  — NEW YORK 9, ARIZONA 2
SAT, OCT. 9  — NEW YORK 4, ARIZONA 3 (10 INNINGS)

(ALL TIMES ARE EASTERN DAYLIGHT)

Steinbrenner, Selig make Yankees talk to Gray

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NEW YORK (AP) — A day after NBC sports reporter Jim Gray was snubbed on live TV, the network threw him right back into the thick of things with the New York Yankees — and everyone talked this time.

NBC even made a last-minute change and allowed Gray to present the World Series trophy to the Yankees in their clubhouse after they beat the Atlanta Braves 4-1 for a sweep Wednesday night. Hannah Storm had presented the trophy in previous years.

Gray interviewed team owner George Steinbrenner, manager Joe Torre, World Series MVP Mariano Rivera, Derek Jeter and Roger Clemens after the game — without a hitch.

At Game 3 Tuesday night, some members of the Yankees wouldn’t talk to Gray because of a contentious live interview he had with Pete Rose on Sunday night regarding accusations Rose gambled on baseball.

After Chad Curtis hit his game-winning homer in Game 3, he refused to be interviewed by Gray and walked away from him in front of millions of TV viewers. But Steinbrenner and commissioner Bud Selig intervened to resolve the problem.

“We talked about it late last night and they both jumped into it,” NBC Sports chairman Dick Ebersol said. “George walked into the situation and took control. … He made it abundantly clear that nothing like that would happen again.”

Ebersol, who admitted the Rose interview might have gone on too long, called Gray “the best reporter in the business, maybe ever.”

Gray apologized for the Rose interview on the air before Game 3. At one point before Game 4, he left Yankee Stadium for the NBC trailer escorted by security men as fans shouted insults.

Torre had criticized Gray’s interview of Rose but said the issue was in the past.

“We have a certain obligation to NBC,” he said. “I just wish Chad would have said it was his choice.”

Curtis said Gray shouldn’t take his actions on Tuesday night personally.

“I hope it didn’t come across that way,” Curtis said. “It seemed to me that he stepped out of bounds on the interview with Pete. It was something that needed to be done. … I don’t think we’ll do it again because my personal feeling is we’ve made our point.”

NBC World Series analyst Joe Morgan, who played with Rose with the Cincinnati Reds, refrained from putting blame on either side.

“All this stuff is taking away from the World Series and none of this is good for the game,” Morgan said. “All the players are individuals. I heard they took a vote, but I don’t believe it.”

Braves suffer another World Series defeat

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ATLANTA (AP) — One for the ’90s. Maybe the next decade will be kinder to the Atlanta Braves.

Even while making eight straight postseason appearances — a feat unmatched by any other team — these Braves will remembered as the Buffalo Bills of baseball.

Atlanta may object, but its legacy is undeniable after the New York Yankees completed a World Series sweep with a 4-1 victory Wednesday night.

One Series title in 10 years is not enough to secure a loftier place in baseball history. Too many potential championships got away.

“That’s unfair,” Chipper Jones said in protest. “We’ve won more championships than about 25 or 26 other teams. When you look at our organization, you can only call it a success.”

Unfortunately, these are the moments that endure:

In 1991, Lonnie Smith stops running and Minnesota wins Game 7 in the 10th inning. That one was excused in the tomahawk-chopping euphoria over a miraculous worst-to-first season.

In 1992, the Braves expected to win against Toronto and were on their way to a 2-0 lead in the Series until pinch-hitter Ed Sprague homered in the ninth against ancient Jeff Reardon. The Blue Jays went on claim the title in six games.

In 1996, after winning their lone Series title of the decade over Cleveland the previous year, the Braves were poised to establish themselves as one of the great teams in baseball history. They won the first two games of the ’96 Series at Yankee Stadium by a combined score of 16-1, only to lose the next three at old Atlanta-Fulton County Stadium. The collapse was completed back in New York, and the Braves have never been so close to another championship.

On Wednesday night, the decade of lost chances ended on a dismal note. The Yankees finished off the Braves with a four-game blitz, marking the first time this decade that Atlanta lost a best-of-7 series in fewer than six games.

“They did it all,” Jones said. “They’re awesome. They pretty much played a perfect series.”

As for the Braves, their plight was summed up by the placard carried by a Yankees fan. “Hey Atlanta. Ever Heard of the Buffalo Bills?”

The message was clear: The Braves now have a place alongside the NFL team that lost four straight Super Bowls in the first half of the ’90s.

“Some things that have been written about us are unfair,” said John Smoltz, who took the loss in Game 4. “But this is the level we’ve established for ourselves.”

The totality of this defeat overshadowed what had been an amazing season for the Braves. They managed to win 103 games despite losing five players to season-ending illness and injuries.

“There’s no solace in scratching and clawing to get here,” Smoltz said. “There’s just an overwhelming feeling that we’ve got to win when we get here.”

But the final chance for Team of the Decade honors turned out to be a debacle. The Yankees showed Atlanta how it’s supposed to be done, celebrating their third title in four years while their fans mocked the Braves with a Bronx version of the “Tomahawk Chop.”

Atlanta finished the decade with three straight 100-win seasons and nary a Series title to show for it.

There wasn’t a bit of drama to the final game of the ’90s, unlike the previous night when the Braves squandered their best chance to make a Series of it by blowing a 5-1 lead.

The Yankees scored all of their runs in the third, taking advantage of a potential double-play grounder that bounced off the right arm of first baseman Ryan Klesko.

While judged a hit by the official scorers, it was clearly a miscue — the kind of play the Yankees always seem to make, the kind of play the Braves couldn’t make at critical times.

“The best team won,” Smoltz said. “The Yanks are head and shoulders above most when it comes to this time of the year. We lost to the best team, simply put.”

With Andres Galarraga and Javy Lopez watching from the dugout, sidelined by cancer and a bum knee respectively, the free-swinging Atlanta hitters were thoroughly dominated by New York’s starters.

Orlando Hernandez allowed one hit in Game 1. David Cone matched him in Game 2. Roger Clemens surrendered four hits in the clincher, allowing just one Atlanta runner to reach second base when he left with two outs in the eighth.

Manager Bobby Cox will take his share of blame for letting this one get away, too. In Game 1, when the Braves took a 1-0 lead into the eighth, he left starter Greg Maddux in the game four hitters too long.

In Game 3 — a contest the Braves had to have — flu-ridden Tom Glavine was sent back to the mound in the eighth with a 5-3 lead, even though Cox said beforehand that all he wanted was seven solid innings.

Two batters later, the game was tied on Chuck Knoblauch’s 315-homer down the right-field line. Two innings later, the series effectively ended when Chad Curtis hit a ball considerably farther into the Braves bullpen for a 6-5 victory.

On Wednesday, the Braves bid adieu to the 1990s. Good riddance.

“It will be nice that we don’t have to listen to all that stuff,” Jones said. “We can start a new decade and certainly everyone will come in looking to get it kicked off the right way.”

Another back-to-back series sweep for Yankees

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NEW YORK (AP) — Ruth and Gehrig, Joe DiMaggio. And now Bernie Williams, Derek Jeter and the ’99 Yankees.

For just the third time in baseball history, a team swept the World Series in consecutive years. By beating the Atlanta Braves 4-1 Wednesday night, these Yankees, who swept San Diego last year, joined the Murderers’ Row Yankees that swept Pittsburgh in 1927 and St. Louis in 1928, and DiMaggio’s Yankees, which swept the Chicago Cubs in 1938 and Cincinnati in 1939.

“There were times when it sounded like a mixture of Verdun, St. Mihiel, Ypres and the Somme as the `slammerese twins’ rolled their heavy artillery into position and once more opened up the big blast,” Grantland Rice wrote in the New York Herald Tribune after Ruth homered three times and Gehrig once in a 7-3 victory that capped the ’28 Series.

“Babe and Lou stalked through this series like the Four Horsemen of the Sock Eclipse — Dyanmite, Demolition, Destruction and Death. And that spins out only part of the story. In addition, they were a pounding pestilence, a mauling misery, a clouting contagion, a black plague of mighty wallops that continued to clear out the right-field wall and threaten the lives and homes of those benighted denizens who lived in gunfire range.”

In the fourth game at St. Louis, the Yankees trailed 2-1 before a four-run seventh. After going 110-44 in 1927, New York had “slumped” to 101-53 and was the underdog going in, hampered by injuries.

“Well, the cripples came through,” Ruth wrote in a first-person account in the St. Louis Post-Dispatch. “And whatever may be said about our playing or our pitching or our hitting, there’s one thing I don’t think anyone can deny. They can’t say we didn’t have courage. I never expected to win this series in four straight games.”

Ruth was 10-for-16 (.625) in the four games with three doubles, three homers and four RBIs. Gehrig was 6-for-11 (.545) with four homers and nine RBIs.

Just 11 years later, the Yankees did it again, with Charlie Keller going 7-for-16 (.438) with a double, a triple, three homers and six RBIs. Bill Dickey drove in five runs and DiMaggio went 5-for-16 (.313).

New York trailed 4-2 in the ninth but tied the score, then won it with a three-run 10th. DiMaggio hit a go-ahead single to right, with Frank Crosetti scoring, and Keller slid home for a 6-4 lead as the ball got away from catcher Ernie Lombardi.

Lombardi fell as Keller crossed the plate and no one went after the ball, and DiMaggio wound up coming all the way around on what the Herald Tribune called a `home-run’ single.

“Signor Schnozzola is sleeping beauty of a strange spectacle,” said a headline in the New York Journal-American.

Much was made how manager Joe McCarthy matched Miller Huggins’ feat of leading teams to consecutive sweeps. After the win, McCarthy led the team in the clubhouse singing “East Side, West Side,” and “Roll Out the Barrel.”

“No other manager, no other team has equaled that record in baseball’s first 100 years,” Bill Corum wrote in the Journal-American. “None will in its second 100. … The way it looks now, the Yankees’ complete dominance of the baseball world is not for a month and not for a year, but for always.”

Yankees complete Series sweep

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NEW YORK (AP) — Roger Clemens had waited too long not to savor every moment of this glorious night.

With the final out of the World Series, he bolted for the mound and, flanked by two of his sons, grabbed manager Joe Torre in a bear hug and found it hard to let go.

Then, while his New York Yankees teammates were still dousing each other with champagne, Clemens sprinted back out to the field, climbed on the dugout roof and ran up and down, slapping every outstretched hand in the front row.

The Rocket had landed. The ring was his.

Clemens pitched the Yankees to their second straight World Series sweep, shutting down the Atlanta Braves 4-1 Wednesday night and ending his quest for the one and only prize that eluded him.

“This must be what it’s like to be a Yankee,” said Clemens, who before the game gave a little pat to the monument honoring the most famous Yankee of them all, Babe Ruth. “This is what everybody said it was all about.”

With raucous fans waving yellow, plastic brooms all over the ballpark and Clemens bouncing around on the mound, the Yankees won their record 25th championship and third in four seasons.

Game 4 marked New York’s 12th Series victory in a row, matching the mark set by its Murderers’ Row teams. And it made the Yankees the first team to sweep consecutive Series in 60 years.

All his life, Clemens had hoped for this chance and, at last, he commanded the October stage. Showing the form that earned him five Cy Young Awards and 247 wins in 16 seasons, he shut out Atlanta into the eighth to outduel John Smoltz.

Brought to the Bronx this spring from Toronto in a trade for David Wells that many Yankees fans disliked, Clemens walked off the mound to rousing cheers, tipping his cap and holding both hands high to acknowledge the ovation.

“It seemed like a perfect setup,” Torre said. “I couldn’t see it not happening tonight, not with the way his career had gone.”

Clemens recalled seeing his teammates get their 1998 World Series rings in April, and being a bit envious.

“I was sitting there watching them receive them. They said, `We’re going to get you one,”‘ he said.

They sure did.

Mariano Rivera, who had two saves and a win in the Series, was selected MVP.

“Everybody talked about last year, but this is unbelievable, back-to-back,” he said.

Owner George Steinbrenner’s team finished off a week in which it simply overwhelmed the club that had best record in the majors. Along the way, the Yankees also:

_ Became baseball’s first repeat champion since Toronto in 1992-93.

_ Posted the first set of consecutive Series sweeps since the Yankees in 1938-39. New York beat San Diego four straight last year, capping off a record 125-win season.

_ Completed an incredible run in which they won 18 of 19 postseason games. The only loss came when Clemens was beaten by Pedro Martinez at Fenway Park 11 days earlier.

_ Overcame a year of adversity, from manager Joe Torre’s prostate cancer in spring training to the death of outfielder Paul O’Neill’s father early Wednesday. Scott Brosius and Luis Sojo also lost their fathers, Hall of Famers Joe DiMaggio and Catfish Hunter died and Darryl Strawberry was beset by health and legal problems.

And, in the last game of the 20th century, their all-century team pitcher ended all debate about which club was most dominant this decade.

“Having to validate what we did last year, one of those freak years where you win everything and everything turns out well,” Torre said, “then all of a sudden we zipped through the postseason.”

For Atlanta, the loss was its record-tying eighth straight in the Series, a string that began in 1996 against the Yankees.

“I think they think in their minds that they had a tremendous year with all the ballclub went through,” Braves manager Bobby Cox said. “They’re disappointed just like I am.”

After winning the title in 1995, the Braves had “Team of the 90s” engraved on their rings. Instead, they joined the New York Giants of 1910-19 as the only teams ever to lose four World Series in a decade.

“The best team won,” Smoltz said. “The Yankees are head and shoulders above most when it comes to this time of the year. We lost to the best team, simply put.

“The Yankees are a model of how to win,” he said.

Clemens and the sellout crowd of 56,752 fans basked in pinstriped glory after taking an early 3-0 lead. At 37, he won his first championship — John Elway was the same age when he won his first Super Bowl.

Featuring a fastball in the mid-90s mph, Clemens struck out four and walked two in his first World Series victory — he got two no-decisions in 1986 when his Boston Red Sox blew it against the New York Mets.

Smoltz struck out three to avoid trouble in the second inning, but could not escape in the third. Chuck Knoblauch and Derek Jeter opened with singles and a one-out intentional walk to Bernie Williams loaded the bases.

Tino Martinez followed with a hard grounder and, perhaps screened by Williams, first baseman Ryan Klesko let the ball skip off his forearm for a two-run single. With two outs, Jorge Posada hit an RBI single.

Smoltz fanned 11 in seven innings, the most strikeouts in a Series game since Tom Seaver of the Mets had 12 in 1973.

Clemens took a two-hit shutout into the eighth, then the Braves nicked him with singles by Walt Weiss and Gerald Williams, and Jeff Nelson relieved.

After Bret Boone hit an RBI single, Rivera took over and kept the Braves from doing any more damage. He got Chipper Jones on a grounder with runners at the corners to end the inning, and pitched a scoreless ninth.

Rivera ended this season with 43 scoreless innings, and extended his postseason shutout streak to 25 2-3 innings.

As if for good measure, pinch-hitter Jim Leyritz launched a solo home run in the New York eighth off Terry Mulholland. Remember, it was Leyritz’s homer off Atlanta relief ace Mark Wohlers in Game 4 in 1996 that turned the momentum in the Yankees’ favor.

Never has a team overcome an 0-3 deficit in the postseason, and the Yankees made sure it did not happen this time.

Clemens, often a victim of his high emotions in big games, jogged to the mound a full minute after his teammates took the field to start the night. Brosius and Jeter came in to offer words of encouragement before the first pitch.

The fans were with Clemens the whole way, standing up after he got two strikes on leadoff man Williams. Clemens finished the job, fanning Williams, and pumped his fist after retiring Jones on a grounder to end the first.

Clemens spent the rest of the game shouting to his fielders and offering congratulations. In the eighth, he was on the receiving end.

“I just wanted to fit in with these guys,” Clemens said. “I just knew we could do it with this team.”

* * * *

NOTES: The Yankees won 12 straight in the Series in 1927, 1928 and 1932. … The Yankees also share the Series record of eight consecutive losses, doing it in 1921-23. The Phillies also lost eight in a row in 1915-50. … Jeter has a 17-game postseason hitting streak, tying the record set by the Yankees’ Hank Bauer in the World Series in the 1950s. … Clemens is 3-3 in 12 postseason starts. … Smoltz is 12-4 in postseason play.

Rocket sets off Yankees’ celebration

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Roger Clemens shut down Atlanta for 7 2/3 innings on Wednesday night to lead the Yankees to a 4-1 victory over the Braves and their second straight World Series sweep at Yankee Stadium. Clemens gave up four hits and one run and MVP Mariano Rivera pitched 1 1/3 innings of perfect relief as New York handed Atlanta another World Series loss.