Yanks win in 5 hours, 13 minutes

The Associated Press

NEW YORK Jim Leyritz got his revenge against the Seattle Mariners.

Leyritz hit a two-run homer in the 15th inning Wednesday night, ending the longest game in AL playoff history and giving the New York Yankees a 7-5 victory and a 2-0 lead in the best-of-5 series.

Leyritz, who vowed retaliation after he was hit in the face by Seattle's Randy Johnson on May 31, was hit again in this game after Ruben Sierra and Don Mattingly connected for consecutive home runs in the sixth inning.

He got even by homering on a 3-1 pitch from Tim Belcher with one out after a walk to Pat Kelly.

Ken Griffey hit his third home run of the series, tying an AL playoff record, for a 5-4 lead in the 12th. Sierra tied it with a two-out double, with the potential winning run thrown out at the plate.

Belcher, who pitched 2 2-3 innings, was expected to start Game 3 at the Kingdome if the Mariners had won. Instead, Johnson will pitch Friday on three days' rest for the second time this week.

The game lasted 5 hours, 13 minutes, and ended in a light mist the longest game by time in postseason history.

The previous longest AL playoff game both in time and innings came Tuesday night when Cleveland took 13 innings and 5:01 to beat Boston 5-4.

Rookie Mariano Rivera pitched two-hit ball for 3 1-3 scoreless innings for the win, striking out five.

It looked like Seattle would win after Griffey's homer off John Wetteland, but New York tied it in the 12th when Sierra came within a couple of feet of matching Griffey.

With runners on first and second and two outs, Sierra doubled off the top of the wall in left off Belcher. Pinch-runner Jorge Posada scored, but Bernie Williams was thrown out at the plate on a perfect relay throw to send the game into the 13th.

Griffey, who homered twice in Game 1, tied the record for home runs in an AL playoff series set by George Brett (twice) and Jose Canseco.

Both teams were upset all night by the umpiring.

Yankees owner George Steinbrenner even called reporters into a video room and played a tape of several disputed calls. It was the second straight night he had complained publicly about the umpiring. The Mariners also argued several called strikes.

Wetteland threw 50 pitches and worked 3 1-3 innings more than triple his usual amount, but the Mariners also burned their best bullpen closers and had to turn to Belcher with one out in the 12th.

It was Belcher's second relief appearance since 1988 and one he'd like to soon forget.

What was a slow-moving, 1-1 game through five innings started to get exciting from that point on. A double by Edgar Martinez and a two-out single by Tino Martinez made it 2-1 in the sixth, but consecutive homers by Sierra, his second of the series, and Mattingly, his fourth hit in his first six playoff at-bats, gave New York a 3-2 lead in the bottom half.

Luis Sojo's RBI single in the seventh made it 3-3, and Griffey hit a sacrifice fly for a 4-3 lead.

The Yankees tied it in the seventh on Paul O'Neill's homer to the bleachers in right field.

Yankee manager Buck Showalter vehemently argued four calls: Vince Coleman's infield single to third, a similar infield hit by Joey Cora, an inside called third strike to Dion James and an inning-ending popup in the fifth on which a fan was on the field but time as not called.

The sellout crowd of 57,126 was as critical of the umpires as Showalter and Steinbrenner were, saving their loudest comments for home plate umpire Dale Scott and first base ump Jim McKean, the crew chief.

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