Yankees & A's notebook

Monday, October 9th 2000, 12:00 am
By: News On 6

Hard day's night

After Saturday night's game, both teams spent the wee hours of the morning winging their way across the country. The A's arrived at approximately 3:30 a.m. Pacific Daylight Time. The Yankees arrived about 15 minutes later.

For the Yankees, the coast-to-coast trip was their third in seven days, bringing their air mileage for the week to 7,629 miles. The Yankees finished the regular season in Baltimore, then traveled to Oakland for the start of the Division Series. The Yankees went back to New York immediately after Game 2, while the A's waited until the next day.

More juggling

Yankees manager Joe Torre kept juggling his lineup. After three games out of the starting lineup, Chuck Knoblauch returned. He played designated hitter and batted leadoff.

After the Yankees lost Game 1, Torre decided to bench Knoblauch and put shortstop Derek Jeter in the leadoff spot. The Yankees won the next two but generated only one run in Game 4. Glenallen Hill, who took over the designated hitter's spot in Knoblauch's absence, sat down for Game 5.

"I know Chuck wasn't happy when I took him out of the lineup for Game 2, even though he understood my explanation," Torre said. "Just because you understand it, doesn't mean you have to like it. I go back and forth on this all the time. This is the lineup we played most of the year with."

Briefly ...

Orlando "El Duque'' Hernandez threw 130 pitches in seven innings on Friday, then came back after one day's rest to strike out Ben Grieve for the first out of the eighth inning. He was removed after allowing a double to the next hitter, pinch-hitter Matt Stairs. ... When Kevin Appier entered the game to start the second inning for Oakland, it marked his first relief appearance since May 18, 1991 while he was with Kansas City. Appier, who started Game 2 for the A's, pitched four innings and allowed only a bases-empty home run by David Justice. ... Though he started, A's third baseman Eric Chavez was among a handful of A's suffering from flu-like symptoms.

Pride of the A's

Oakland manager Art Howe knew his team was in trouble when it allowed six first-inning runs Sunday, but true to the team's character all season, the A's battled back into position to win the game.

The A's scored twice in the second, once in the third and twice more in the fourth to claw their way within 7-5. Five times in the final six innings, the A's had the tying run at the plate, but could never score it.

"We just let them get a running start on us. The difference in the ballgame was the first inning. I'm proud of the way our guys played, not only tonight, but all season long. We learned we can play with everybody this season. We're looking for bigger and better things next year.''

Going for three

The Yankees defeat of the A's keeps New York's hope alive of becoming the first team in a decade to go to three consecutive World Series and the first team in nearly 30 years to win three straight championships.

The A's were the last franchise to do both. Oakland went to the World Series from 1988-90, beat San Francisco in 1989 in the Bay Bridge series interrupted by an earthquake. From 1972-74, the A's won three consecutive World Series, beating Cincinnati, the New York Mets and Los Angeles Dodgers.

The Yankees appeared in three consecutive World Series from 1976-78. They lost to Cincinnati in 1976, then beat Los Angeles in back-to-back World Series.

Going out in style

This is likely Tino Martinez's last year with the Yankees, but the potential free agent is going out with a bang.

After a sub-par regular season, in which he hit just .258 with 16 home runs, Martinez resurfaced in the Division Series. He led the Yankees with a .421 average for 19 at-bats in the series. Martinez, who had the key three-run double in the first inning Sunday, led the team with 4 RBIs.