Jacque Jones center of attention again

By Joe LaPointe

New York Times News Service

NEW YORK -- After Game 1, a 2-0 Minnesota victory, Jacque Jones of the Twins explained how he helped beat the Yankees with a home run despite traveling the previous night from California, where his father had just died. It was a touching sports story with real emotion.

After Game 2, a 7-6 Yankees victory Wednesday night, Jones also found a crowd of reporters around his locker, but the topic was not so pleasant. It was about a different sort of motion and emotion.

The reporters wanted to know what Jones was thinking and doing when he caught a fly ball from Hideki Matsui in shallow right field for the second out in the bottom of the 12th inning with the score tied and the bases loaded.


Why did he throw to the cutoff man, Matthew LeCroy, at first base? Why didn't he throw directly home and try to catch Derek Jeter, who had tagged at third and wound up scoring the winning run? Didn't he think he had a chance to get Jeter?

"Yeah, in hindsight now," Jones said. "But I was just trying to get the ball and get rid of it. I didn't worry about whether he was running. I wasn't looking to see if he was tagging up."

LeCroy, in line on the cutoff play, said he caught the ball because he knew it would be off line if he let it go through toward to the plate. His relay to the catcher, Pat Borders, was not in time to get Jeter, whose run evened the series at one victory each, with Game 3 in Minnesota on Friday.

Reflecting on the state of the series, Jones said: "It could be worse. We would be 0-2."

Of the Yankees, Jones said, "They find a way to win in October."

Until the 12th-inning collapse, it appeared that the Twins had found a way. Torii Hunter's home run in the top of the inning gave the Twins a 6-5 lead.

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