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BRENLY TO PLAY HIS ACE IN THE HOLE: SCHILLING

The worst-kept secret at the World Series was confirmed when Miguel Batista began warming up in the Arizona bullpen during the sixth inning Tuesday night.

Batista was supposed to be the Diamondbacks' starting pitcher tonight in Game Four. When he began preparing for a possible relief outing, it became obvious that Curt Schilling was going to get the start instead.

The Arizona ace dominated the Yankees in Game One, allowing just three hits in seven innings. And he's 4-0 with an 0.79 ERA in four starts this postseason, so it's easy to see why the Diamondbacks want to use him, even though he'll be pitching on only three days' rest. Orlando Hernandez will start for the Yankees.

Schilling said he feels fine after throwing only 102 pitches Saturday.

"I didn't want to short-change us as a team if I felt good enough to take the ball," Schilling said. "I feel good enough, I feel real good."

Schilling has prodded manager Bob Brenly to let him pitch on three days' rest and reminded Brenly of that request again before Tuesday's game.

"I went to him and told him I had prepared the last two days as if I was pitching (tonight)," Schilling said. "I wanted the ball, if that would help him make his decision."

Brenly gave Schilling the scenarios prior to the game: An Arizona win and the D-Backs would go with Batista. A loss and Schilling would get the nod.

"For a lot of different reasons, including the low pitch count in Schilling's last start and his insistence that he's ready to take the ball, I think he'll be fine," Brenly said. "He didn't do cartwheels (when told of the start) and he didn't look at me like I was crazy. He knew there was a possibility that he would pitch and he's prepared for it."

"It doesn't matter to me the way I feel right now, whether it's three or four days' (rest)," Schilling said. "I know they (the Yankees) are good and these guys are going to show up trying to tie this series playing the way they did today. We'll have our work cut out for us."

The nation's heightened state of alert and Tuesday's visit by President Bush produced an unprecedented level of security for a World Series game. Reporters waited in line for more than an hour while their bags, computers and photography equipment were searched. That's been par for the course since the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks.

Bush's presence, however, required all fans and media members to pass through metal detectors before they entered the stadium, further delaying entrance. Elevators to take reporters between the basement work areas and seating areas were shut down an hour before the game as another security precaution. Fans were still filing into the stadium as late as the third inning.

Grumbled one veteran baseball writer: "Why couldn't he (Bush) be a basketball fan and go to the Garden?"

That, of course, was a reference to Michael Jordan's return game to the NBA taking place Tuesday night at Madison Square Garden as Jordan's Washington Wizards met the New York Knicks.

Bush became the first president to attend a Series game since Ronald Reagan was at Baltimore's Memorial Stadium to see the Orioles play Philadelphia in 1983. Bush was the first president to throw a ceremonial pitch since Dwight Eisenhower opened the Yankees-Dodgers series in 1956 at Brooklyn's Ebbets Field.

"That was pretty cool," said Yankees third baseman Scott Brosius. "He threw a strike, too. He had a good arm. Obviously, he has the respect of the country. You know what he's going through. To take the time to be here to throw a first pitch out like that really added to the occasion."

After his pitch, Bush watched the game from the private box of Yankees owner George Steinbrenner.
A tattered American flag salvaged from the ruins of the World Trade Center was erected above the scoreboard in left field, becoming one of the 20 flags that fly every game across the stadium facade.

The flag, believed to have come from an office on an upper floor of one of the Twin Towers, was found torn, covered in ash and with 12 stars missing. It was given to an American Legion post in New Jersey and then donated to the Port Authority Police, the agency that was in charge of WTC security.

The stars were replaced but the tears in the stripes were not repaired and the flag was allowed to flap in the evening breeze.

Mariano Rivera's save was the eighth of his Series career, extending his major-league record. He has an 0.72 ERA in 49 postseason games and has converted 23 saves in a row. . . . The Yankees have won eight straight home Series games since getting shut out, 4-0, by Atlanta in Game Two in 1996. That ties the franchise record set by winning two games in 1927, 1928, 1932 and 1936. . . . Jorge Posada's second-inning home run snapped New York's 18-inning scoreless streak since the first inning of Game One. That was the Yankees' longest drought in their Series history and the longest for any team since Oakland went 18 without scoring in 1988 against Los Angeles.

Tuesday's game (Oct. 30) was the latest in Series history. Because the Sept. 11 attacks postponed all regular-season games for a week, the postseason schedule will stretch into November for the first time. . . . . . . When the teams took the field Tuesday, it was the third time zone in which they've played in this series. Game One in Phoenix was played under Pacific time while Game Two was in Mountain time; Arizona and Hawaii did not roll clocks back Saturday night because they are the only states in the union that do not honor Standard Time.

e-mail: mharrington@buffnews.com

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