Vizcaino the hero as Yankees win World Series opener

In the longest game in World Series history - four hours and 51 minutes - the New York Yankees stretched their World Series winning streak to a record 13 games on Saturday night when Jose Vizcaino's fourth hit of the game drove in the winning run, giving them a 4-3 win over the New York Mets in game one.

In the longest game in World Series history - four hours and 51 minutes - the New York Yankees stretched their World Series winning streak to a record 13 games on Saturday night when Jose Vizcaino's fourth hit of the game drove in the winning run, giving them a 4-3 win over the New York Mets in game one.

The Yankees, who had won their last 12 World Series games in a row on their way to three titles in four years, scraped a run in the bottom of the ninth inning off the Mets' closing pitcher, Armando Benitez, to level the scores at 3-3 and send the game into an extra innings.

Vizcaino then stepped up to poke a hit into left field with the bases loaded and two men out, driving in Tino Martinez for the winning run.

"This is the biggest hit in my life." the Dominican utility player said, and his manager, Joe Torre, concurred: "He had one hell of a night."

The 32-year-old utility infielder was traded from the Los Angeles Dodgers for Jim Leyritz in June. He said: "The first thing that came to my mind was that I'd get a chance to play in a World Series. Coming here was a new beginning for me."

Torre started Vizcaino at second base on Saturday night because he had batted 0.526 - 10 hits in 19 at-bats - against the Mets' starting pitcher, Al Leiter. With regular second baseman Chuck Knoblauch relegated to designated hitter because of his fielding problems, Torre had been using Luis Sojo at second - but, said Vizcaino: "Torre saw how I hit Leiter in the past. I'm glad he gave me a chance to play. I was thinking I was going to be able to go to the World Series, but I didn't think I was going to be the hero in the first game."

The Mets' selling point was supposed to be the strength in depth of their pitching. But on Saturday it was the Yankees who showed that their maligned bullpen is still up to the challenge. Jeff Nelson, Mike Stanton and Mariano Rivera easily out-threw the Mets' relievers John Franco, Armando Benitez, Dennis Cook, Glendon Rusch and Turk Wendell.

The Yankees' pen, which had been roughed up during the last few weeks of the regular season, allowed no runs from two hits in five and a third innings, compared to two runs from seven hits in four and two-thirds innings by the Mets' relievers.

Stanton, who had not pitched since game five of the American League Division Series against Oakland, struck out three in his perfect, two-inning stint on Saturday and was credited with the win. "It's either the penthouse or the outhouse," he said.

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