After getting walloped 12-1 last night by Andruw Jones and the Braves, Greg Maddux put on a masterful performance tonight leading Atlanta to a 4-0 victory and a 2-0 advantage in the World Series. Maddux needed just 82 pitches – 62 of which were strikes – to toss eight scoreless innings while allowing six hits and no walks.
While the offense had their hands full with Maddux, Jimmy Key was having trouble with Fred McGriff, who knocked in three RBI’s and tied a postseason record with 15 RBI this October. The Braves’ dominating performance over the first two games has put the Yankees in a precarious situation. Of the 43 teams that have taken a 2-0 lead in the World Series, 33 have gone on to win the title.
However, the Yankees are 5-0 on the road this postseason and have come back to win five games, so there’s still some hope that they can at least avoid a sweep.
“We just have to reach into our bag of tricks and pull something out,” Wade Boggs said. “We’ve come back before.” Boggs had perhaps the Yankees’ best chance on the night to do some damage off Maddux, but he tapped into a double play with two on and no out in the sixth.
Maddux, the four-time Cy Young Award winner, did a great job of keeping the Yankees off balance all night, inducing an eye-popping 18 ground balls which produced 19 outs. “He wasn’t throwing anything out of the ordinary,” Bernie Williams said. “He changed speeds and worked both sides of the plate. He was there.”
The Braves had a 3-0 lead by the end of the fifth off Key, allowing Maddux to finish the job. Key, who surrendered four runs through six innings on 10 hits, wasn’t pleased with his effort. “I really didn’t do much out there tonight,” he said. “I struggled in every inning. They’re probably wondering why they didn’t score more runs off me.”
McGriff had RBI singles in both the first and third innings off Key. In the fifth, he hit a sac fly to right field which scored Mark Lemke. In the sixth, Marquis Grissom singled in Terry Pendleton to cap Atlanta’s scoring for the night. They had gone from playing long-ball to little-ball in 24 hours, showing why they’re such a good and versatile team.
Paul O’Neill thinks a change of scenery might be good for the Yankees as the series switches to Atlanta for three games. “Sometimes when things don’t go well at home, you put pressure on yourself,” he said. “There’s nothing like playing at home when it’s going well. But when it’s going bad, sometimes a change of scenery can help.”
The Yankees are hoping they can get to Tom Glavine, who also has a Cy Young Award under his belt, in game three from Atlanta tomorrow. They’ll counter with David Cone.
Game three is a must-win game for the Yankees, who are fading fast. “We’ve been a team that’s come back from situations you wouldn’t have wanted to be in this year,” Tim Raines said. “You might think after the way they’ve played in the first two games that it’s over. This is one last chance for us to come back again.”