After a rainout yesterday, 56,365 loud Yankee fans packed the Stadium tonight for the first World Series game in the Bronx in 15 years.
By the third inning, they were dead quiet.
19-year old phenom Andruw Jones and the likely Cy Young Award winner John Smoltz handed the Yankees their worst World Series loss in franchise history tonight – a 12-1 drubbing that gives Atlanta an early 1-0 lead in the series.
Jones, the Curacao-native, hit two mammoth home runs to power the Braves to victory. He became the youngest player in World Series history to hit a home run, eclipsing Mickey Mantle – on Mantle’s birthday, no less. Jones is also the second player in World Series history to homer in his first two career Fall Classic at-bats, joining Oakland A’s Gene Tennace (1972).
“I think he’s the one that killed our club tonight,” Mariano Duncan said after the game. Jones entered the game with just 106 at-bats in the major leagues.
“At the beginning of the year, I never thought that it could happen this fast,” Jones said. “But it’s great to have made it to the World Series. Now that I’m here, I just want to have fun.”
Atlanta certainly had fun, and the Yankees were miserable. They amassed just one run – a Wade Boggs RBI double in the fifth – on four hits. Smoltz went six innings and gave up the one run on two hits while striking out four.
The Braves notched two runs of Pettitte in the second on Jones’ first homer, and five of their six runs in the third. After singles by Jeff Blauser, Marquis Grissom and Mark Lemke‘s sacrifice bunt began the third, Chipper Jones lined a single through the drawn in infield and the Braves took a 4-0 lead. Fred McGriff singled home Chipper Jones for the Braves’ fifth run and Pettitte then walked Javier Lopez.
Pettitte’s night was over, as he walked off the mound grimacing, clearly frustrated with his performance. “I don’t feel like I had good stuff,” said Pettitte. “It got out of hand real quick.” Pettitte’s final line was ugly, as he was charged with seven runs on six hits over 2.1 innings.
Brian Boehringer was able to record the second out of the inning, but he wasn’t able to escape Andruw Jones. Jones smacked a 3-2 fastball deep to left field for a three-run homer. All of a sudden, a 5-0 lead turned into an 8-0 lead and Yankee Stadium fell silent. The game was essentially over after three innings.
McGriff added an exclamation to Atlanta’s night when he ripped a homer to right field in the fifth which clanged off the foul pole to make the score 9-0. The Braves were celebrating in the dugout, and the Yankees were left wondering if they can even compete in this series against the defending world champs.