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On This Date in Sports November 4, 2001: Diamondbacks in Seven

In collaboration with the Sportsecyclopedia.com

The Arizona Diamondbacks, in their fourth season, win the World Series, stunning the New York Yankees, who were seeking their fourth straight World Championship in seven games. The Diamondbacks scored two runs in the ninth inning against Mariano Rivera, beating the Yankees 3-2 as Luis Gonzalez won the game and the World Series with a bloop hit over the drawn-in infield. Curt Schilling and Randy Johnson share MVP honors, with Johnson winning three games, including Game 7. 

The New York Yankees were a dynasty, winning four of the last five World Series, including the last three as they entered the 2001 postseason. The Yankees posted a record of 95-65, winning the Eastern Division by 13 and a half games, as Roger Clemens won his sixth Cy Young. In the Division Series, the Yankees stumbled, losing the first two games at home to the Oakland Athletics. However, in Game 3, the Yankees won 1-0 as Derek Jeter's flip home saved the day. The Yankees would go on to win the series in five games. Against the 116-win Seattle Mariners, the Yankees found their groove, winning the series in five games, losing just Game 3 to reach the World Series for the fourth consecutive year. 

The Arizona Diamondbacks were a 1998 expansion team, and they quickly became contenders by signing Randy Johnson, who would win four consecutive Cy Young awards in the desert. The Diamondbacks won the National League West in 1999 but had a disappointing season in 2000, leading to the firing of Buck Showalter. Under new manager Bob Brenley the Diamondbacks posted a record of 92-70 to edge the San Francisco Giants by two games. The Diamondbacks needed five games to beat the St. Louis Cardinals in the Division Series, as Tony Womack had a walk-off single to clinch the series. The D-Backs would take down the Atlanta Braves in five games to reach the Fall Classic. 

The Diamondbacks had been in the league four years; the Yankees were looking for a four-peat as the World Series began at Bank One Ballpark in Phoenix. Mike Mussina made the start for the Yankees, while Curt Schilling made the start for Arizona. The Yankees got a run on a double by Bernie Williams in the first, but the D-Backs answered with a Craig Counsell home run. The Diamondbacks scored four runs in the third to take the lead, with Luis Gonzalez leading the way with a two-run home run. Arizona added four more runs in the fourth and won the game 9-1. Game 2 would be all about Randy Johnson, as Arizona's ace allowed just three hits and struck out 11 as the Diamondbacks won 4-0, beating Andy Pettitte. Danny Bautista gave the D-Backs the lead with a double in the second inning, while Matt Williams had a three-run bomb in the seventh. 

Tuesday, October 30th, became the latest a baseball game had been played. The lateness of the World Series was due to the September 11th attacks, which interrupted the season for one week. Game 3 of the World Series at Yankee Stadium had a dramatic start as President George W. Bush threw out the first pitch, delivering a perfect strike. Roger Clemens made the start against Brian Anderson as the Yankees looked to get back in the series. In the second inning, Jorge Posada gave New York a lead with a home run, while Arizona scratched out a run in the fourth to tie the game. The Yankees would win the game 2-1, with Bernie Williams scoring on an RBI single by Scott Brosius in the sixth. 

The Diamondbacks went back to Curt Schilling in Game 4, as Orlando Hernandez started for the Yankees. Shane Spencer gave the Yankees a lead with a home run in the third inning. However, Arizona answered with a home run by Mark Grace and lead 3-1 in the eighth inning, as Erubiel Durazo sparked a two-run rally with a double. In the ninth inning, the Yankees tied the game against Byung-Hyun Kim as Tino Martinez hit a two-run, two-out home run. Kim remained on the mound in the tenth as Derek Jeter hit a walk-off home run to give the Yankees a 4-3 win to even the series at two games apiece. 

The first November baseball game saw Miguel Batista get the start for Arizona, while Mike Mussina started for the Yankees. Batista was strong, allowing five hits while pitching into the eighth inning. The Diamondbacks had a 2-0 lead thanks to fifth-inning home runs from Steve Finley and Rod Barajas. Leading 2-0, lightning struck twice for the Yankees when Scott Brosius hit a two-out, two-run home run against Byung-Hyun Kim in the ninth inning to tie the game. After blowing a second straight game, Kim was embraced by Mark Grace on the mound before leaving the game. The Yankees would win the game 3-2 in the 12th inning as Alfonso Soriano singled home Chuck Knoblauch win the winning run. Sterling Hitchcock got the win for the Yankees, as Albie Lopez was straddled with the loss. 

The series returned to the desert for Game 6, which would be free of drama as Randy Johnson got his second win of the series, as the Diamondbacks pounded Andy Pettitte and the Yankees 15-2. There were no home runs, just a steady 22-hit attack by Arizona, as they blew the game open with eight runs in the third inning. 

Game 7 saw Curt Schilling facing Roger Clemens. Neither pitcher gave up a run through the first five innings. In the sixth inning Danny Bautista who had five RBI in Game 6, doubled home, Steve Finley with the first run of the game. The Yankees quickly tied the game on a single by Tino Martinez in the seventh. Schilling remained on the mound into the eighth inning when Alfonso Soriano hit a home run to give the Yankees a 2-1 lead. With a 2-1 lead, the Yankees turned to Mariano Rivera, who had pitched heavily throughout the postseason. Rivera was called upon for a two-inning save, as he was expected to pitch his sixth and seventh innings in the Fall Classic. Rivera struck out three batters in the eighth, as Randy Johnson kept the deficit at one with a perfect ninth. 

The rally was more of killing them softly as the Diamondbacks did not hit any balls hard in their series-winning rally. It started with a soft single to center by Mark Grace. Damian Miller followed with a bunt, as Rivera tried to throw out pinch-runner David Delucci at second, but the ball sailed high allowing both runners to reach. Jay Bell followed with a bunt that was unsuccessful as Delucci was forced out at third. Mildre Cummings came into pinch run for Miller. Tony Womack came up with a parachute double down the line, scoring the tying run as the balls were falling in for the Diamondbacks. Craig Counsel was hit to load the bases as the Yankees played in the infield to prevent Arizona from winning on a ground ball. Luis Gonzalez came to the plate and hit a bloop single that landed just behind second base to score Jay Bell with the winning run. The Arizona Diamondbacks had won the World Series 3-2.