After losing two straight at home, New York Yankees shortstop Derek Jeter said the news media were writing them off against the defending World Series champion Atlanta Braves.

Then the Yankees went to Atlanta and swept the Braves, taking a three-games-to-two lead entering Saturday's Game 6."We read the papers that it was all over," the likely rookie of the year in the American League said after Thursday night's 1-0 victory. "We picked up the Atlanta papers and they said the Braves were going to dominate us.

"We're playing well, and if we play well at home we can win this," said Jeter, whose 21 hits in the postseason is a record for a first-year player, breaking the previous mark of 20 set last year by Atlanta's Chipper Jones.

"For us, if we don't play well, we lose. It just so happens we played well on the road. I don't think there's any more pressure at home," he said.

GRISSOM'S GIFT: Marquis Grissom doesn't forget his friends.

The Atlanta outfielder provided World Series tickets and a hotel room for Andy Sneed, a longtime security guard for the visiting clubhouse at Montreal's Olympic Stadium.

Grissom met the guard while playing for the Expos, and they maintained their friendship even after Grissom was traded to the Braves prior to the 1995 season.

"Some people are nice to you because you're a ballplayer," Grissom said. "I felt like he did it because he liked me as a person."

Grissom described Sneed was one of the guiding forces in his career, continually providing advice about staying positive.

"He wanted to see a World Series game," Grissom said. "He's been real good to me and I wanted to pay him back."

DIFFERENT LEAGUE: Left-hander Jimmy Key, who will pitch Game 6 on Saturday when the New York Yankees meet Greg Maddux and the Atlanta Braves, doesn't anticipate any problems with the umpire behind the plate, Gerry Davis of the National League.

"I'm not going to let it bother me," said Key, the loser in Game 2 when he allowed 10 hits and all four runs in a 4-0 loss to the Braves and Maddux. There was a NL umpire calling balls and strikes in that one, too.

"What I said still applies. The familiarity he has with Greg - he knows which way Greg's ball moves," Key said. "I just have to do what I can do, and hopefully my pitches will fit into what he's calling."

Maddux will be asked to keep the Braves alive in Game 6 after losing all three games in Atlanta to fall behind three games to two.

"I'm looking forward to it. Not many guys are still pitching, I'm one of them. I was in the same position last week and we came through," said Maddux.

MPH OR INCHES: Jimmy Key believes that for either himself or Greg Maddux to be successful depends on ball movement, not speed.

"Greg has such great movement the last three or four feet to the plate. That's what makes him so great. You hear players comment that the ball's there and all of a sudden it's not there," he said.

"I think that's the thing I thrive on also. The miles per hour is great, but at this level, if the ball is straight, the guys can hit it," Key said.