Braves on brink of defeat after losing commanding lead

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The Independent Online

The New York Yankees fought back from a four-run deficit and captured Game Three of the 95th World Series in extra innings to put the Atlanta Braves on the brink of another humiliating exit in the Fall Classic.

The New York Yankees fought back from a four-run deficit and captured Game Three of the 95th World Series in extra innings to put the Atlanta Braves on the brink of another humiliating exit in the Fall Classic.

Chad Curtis smashed his second home run of the night in the 10th inning to give New York a 6-5 victory and move them one win away from the 25th title in their famous history.

New York coach Joe Torre said: "We're sitting their 5-1 (down), it was a little quiet in the dugout...I'm still amazed, but we grind it out.

"We go out there and play nine innings. Good things keep happening to me, but don't ask me why."

Indeed, it was just another comeback for the Yankees and Torre, who won his battle with colon cancer early in the campaign.

New York, who trailed 1-0 in Game One but exploded for four runs in the eighth inning before winning 4-1, have now triumphed in 11 consecutive World Series games.

They can seal the championship when Roger Clemens takes the mound later tonight against Atlanta's John Smoltz.

While the Yankees continue to reach new heights in their bid to become the 'Team of the 90s', the Braves suffered one of their most embarrassing losses.

In their previous four World Series appearances this decade, Atlanta have won just once, against Cleveland in 1995.

The Braves received the gritty performance they needed from starting pitcher Tom Glavine, while New York hurler Andy Pettitte was roughed up for 10 hits and five runs in just three and 2/3 innings.

It was Atlanta manager Bobby Cox's refusal to go to his bullpen in the eighth inning, and his hitters leaving 13 men on base, which ultimately cost them.

New York had outscored opponents 16-3 in the eighth inning in this post-season. The eighth was a disaster for Glavine.

The left-hander, who allowed solo home runs by Curtis in the fifth and Tino Martinez in the seventh as the Yankees trimmed the deficit to 5-3, gave up a single to catcher Joe Girardi and then left a pitch over the plate which Chuck Knoblauch smashed over the right field wall.

Curtis then hit his blast in the 10th off losing pitcher Mike Remlinger to left, giving New York their second comeback win in this series.

It will be a difficult pill to swallow for Cox because the Braves should have had a stranglehold on this game.

Atlanta batters, silent for the first two games, destroyed Pettitte and finished with 14 hits.

Brian Jordan singled in Bret Boone, and Jose Hernandez doubled in two more runs for a 4-1 lead in the third, and then Atlanta stretched it to a 5-1 advantage in the fifth when Boone hit his third double to drive in Gerald Williams.

But the Braves, who could have added to their advantage, ended up leaving 13 men on base. The Yankees bullpen of Jason Grimsley, Jeff Nelson and winning pitcher Mariano Rivera allowed a combined four hits, struck out four and allowed no runs in six 1/3 innings of relief.

It is an incredible first World Series appearance for Curtis, who was fortunate to make the roster.

After playing in 152 games last season, he did not make an appearance in the Yankees' 4-0 sweep of San Diego.

This season, Curtis rarely played but Torre included him on the World Series roster.

"Both home runs I hit, I was trying not to do too much," Curtis said. "The last one I was trying to hit it back up the middle and get on base."

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