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October 22, 1996: David Cone leads Yankees to victory in game three

The Yankees have some life.

After getting outplayed in the first two games of the World Series, David Cone tossed six gutty innings to lead the Yankees to a 5-2 victory in game three in Atlanta against Tom Glavine and the Braves. Just 24 hours earlier, the Yankees looked lifeless and headed towards ย potential sweep. Now, they have the chance to tie the series at two games apiece tomorrow night.

“I think the mindset of the team is that we were a little embarrassed by what had happened in New York,” Cone said. “There was all this talk about the Yankees being in the World Series for the first time in a while and people saying the crowd would be emotional. They had nothing to be excited about.”

Cone didn’t allow a run until the sixth inning, when he found himself in trouble with the bases loaded and one out and protecting a 2-0 lead. Manager Joe Torre visited the mound before Fred McGriff came up to bat and talked to his pitcher.

“Joe got as close to my face as he could and implored me to tell him the truth,” Cone said. “I still lied. I told him I had something left. That was my game right there. I had to get through the sixth inning. I had to finish.”

Cone was able to get McGriff to pop out to shallow center. After a tough battle with Ryan Klesko that resulted in a walk that forced in a run, Torre made the decision to stick with Cone.

“I trust him,” Torre said.

Cone induced a foul out from catcher Javier Lopez which was caught by Joe Girardi near the Braves dugout. The threat was over, the Yankee still had the lead, and Cone had pitched his heart out. “David Cone is a money pitcher, and he came up with the biggest start of the year for us,” Girardi said.

The Yankees jumped out to an early lead in the top of the first when Bernie Williams singled home Tim Raines, who lead off the game with a leadoff walk. The hit was the Yankees’ first with runners in scoring position in the series.

In the fourth, after Williams reached on an E4 and Cecil Fielder walked, Darryl Strawberry lined a single to left to drive in Williams and the Yankees had a 2-0 lead.

New York tacked on some runs in the eighth when Williams smacked a two-run homer to deep right field. Fielder doubled, Strawberry was intentionally walked and Luis Sojo poked a run-scoring single to right. The Yankees had a 5-1 lead and Mariano Rivera on the mound, who had come on to relieve Cone in the seventh.

Marquis Grissom lead off the bottom of the eighth with a triple, and scored on Mark Lemke‘s single to right. Torre called on Graeme Lloyd who struck out Chipper Jones, induced a fly ball out from McGriff and struck out Ryan Klesko. John Wetteland came on for the ninth and closed out the game to give the Yankees their first win in the World Series since 1981.

“Twenty or 30 minutes before the game, the team was pumped,” Williams said. “We were ready for the challenge.”

For Cone, pitching in the World Series was something he couldn’t have even dreamed of back in May before his shoulder surgery.

“When I was lying in the hospital bed and I heard the word aneurysm and didn’t even know what it meant, pitching in the World Series was the furthest thing from my mind,”Cone said.

“I wish I was eloquent enough to tell you how I feel. Suffice it to say, I never expected to be here and I feel pretty lucky.”

The Yankees can tie the series tomorrow night when they send Kenny Rogers to the hill against Denny Neagle.

Quotes via NY Times

Box score and playoff stats

        1 2 3  4 5 6  7 8 9   R  H  E
        - - -  - - -  - - -   -  -  -
Yankees 1 0 0  1 0 0  0 3 0   5  8  1
Braves  0 0 0  0 0 1  0 1 0   2  6  1

Batting       AB R H RBI BB SO  BA  OBP  SLG
Raines LF      4 1 1  0  1  0 .275 .356 .300
Jeter SS       3 1 1  0  1  1 .388 .423 .510
Williams CF    5 2 2  3  0  1 .391 .473 .848
Fielder 1B     3 0 1  0  1  0 .250 .348 .500
Martinez 1B    0 0 0  0  1  0 .205 .300 .273
Hayes 3B       5 0 0  0  0  3 .111 .190 .111
Strawberry RF  3 0 1  1  1  2 .261 .346 .652
Duncan 2B      3 0 1  0  0  1 .225 .262 .275
Sojo 2B        1 0 1  1  0  0 .286 .286 .286
Girardi C      2 0 0  0  1  2 .192 .344 .269

2B:Fielder (1)
HR:Williams (6)
RBI:Williams 3 (14);Strawberry (6);Sojo (1)

Pitching         IP H R ER BB SO  ERA
Cone W (1-1)      6 4 1  1  4  3 4.50
Rivera H (3)    1.1 2 1  1  1  1 0.82
Lloyd H (2)     0.2 0 0  0  0  1 0.00
Wetteland S (4)   1 0 0  0  0  2 1.80