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Yankees Win Game 3 Despite Three Phillies Homers

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                            A-Rod Homer off Camera

Yankees starter Andy Pettitte was battered early on Saturday as the Phillies scored 3 second inning runs, including the first of 2 solo homers by rightfielder Jayson Werth.  But starter Cole Hamels couldn’t hold a 3-0 lead as the Yankees charged back, boosted by a controversial 2 run homer fourth inning homer by 3rd baseman Alex Rodriguez, scoring 2 in the fourth and 3 in the fifth to take the lead.  The Yanks notched a run in each of the sixth, seventh and eighth innings off of 3 Phillie relievers.  Werth pounded his 2nd homer in the sixth and catcher Carlos Ruiz solo homered in the ninth against reliever Phil Hughes but it was far short of enough as the Yankees won game 3 by an 8-5 score despite three Phillies homers.

Hamels began the game by cruising through the Yankees lineup retiring 9 of the first 10 hitters he faced, only hitting A-Rod on his 1st pitch in the second inning.

Meanwhile, shortstop Jimmy Rollins stroked Pettitte’s 1st pitch of the game for a single to leftfield but was left stranded when centerfielder Shane Victorino popped out to 3rd base and when Pettitte struck out both 2nd baseman Chase Utley and 1st baseman Ryan Howard.   The two struck out a total of 5 times for the game and Howard has now struck out 9 times over the 3 World Series games. 

But the Phillies had Pettitte on the ropes in the second inning as Werth worked Pettitte to a full-count before slamming a solo homer to leftfield to open the ining.  With 1 out, 3rd baseman Pedro Feliz doubled to rightfield, Ruiz walked and Hamels reached on a bunt single to the catcher to load the sacks.  Pettitte walked Rollins on 5 pitches forcing in the 2nd Phillies run and Victorino hit a sacrifice fly to plate the 3rd run.   Utley again struck out leaving 2 runners tranded but the Phils had given Hamels a cushion which he was unable to hold.

Pettitte, however, settled down in the third inning and went clean on a strikeout and 2 flyouts.

Hamels started the fourth inning by getting leftfielder Johnny Damon to fly out to rightfield.  But then after getting ahead 1-2 in the count, Hamels walked 1st baseman Mark Teixeira and got a strike on Rodriguez before A-Rod belted his next pitch for a much-discussed 2 run homer off of the camera near the foul pool in the lower-level rightfield stands.  The smash was originally called a double before the umpiring crew viewed it’s first-ever instant replay of a potential homerun call.  It took only a moment for the umpires to reverse the ruling of a double to that of a homer as the Yankees closed to 3-2.   Had the original call of a double stood, the Yanks would probably have come away with nothing as Hamels then retired the side on a ground out and a foul out to the catcher.

In the fourth inning with 1 out, Pedro Feliz reached on a ground ball and a throwing error by A-Rod at 3rd base and was rubbed out as Ruiz’s fielder’s choice grounder to shortstop.  Hamels sacrificed to the catcher as Ruiz took 2nd base on the play.  But Rollins flied out to end the inning leaving Ruiz stranded at 2nd base as Pettitte had little trouble with the Phils in the fourth and fifth innings.

Hamels fell apart in the fifth inning as the Yanks scored 3 runs, including the tying run on Pettitte’s single to centerfield.  Shortstop Derek Jeter followed with a single and Damon plated them both with a double as the Yanks took a 5-3 lead.  Saturday’s loss charged to Hamels seemed the culmination of a truly down season for the young lefthander who won the MVP award in both last season’s NLCS as well as World Series.

The Yanks added single runs in the sixth, seventh and eighth innings as rightfielder Nick Swisher pounded a 1 out, 2-2 pitch by reliever J.A. Happ out to leftfield in the sixth, catcher Jorge Posada knocked in a run with a single off of Chad Durbin in the seventh and pinch hitter Hideki Matsui blasted a 2 out solo shot off of Brett Myers in the eighth.

With the Phils down by 6-3 in the sixth, Werth reached Pettitte again with a leadoff solo shot for his 2nd homer of the game.  He joined Utley, who multi-homered in game 1 as the only Phils to ever score multi-homer games in the World Series.

The Yankees bullpen went clean on the Phils in both the seventh and eighth innings before reliever Phil Hughes took over to open the ninth.  Hughes got Feliz to ground out to 3rd base but Carlos Ruiz nailed a 1-1 pitch for a solo homer to left centerfield for the Phils’ 5th run.

At that point, Girardi didn’t mess around any further.  He brought in closer  Mariano Rivera.  Rivera, had struggled through 2 tough innings against the Phils in game 2, went right to work getting pinch hitter Matt Stairs to ground out to 2nd base on an 0-2 pitch and got Rollins, 2nd-pitch hitting, to pop out to 3rd base to end the game.

For winning pitcher Pettitte, Saturday’s six inning outing and win upped the lefthander’s major league record for postseason wins to 17.

Joe Blanton hopes to knot the series at 2-2 in Sunday’s game 4 at Citizens Bank Park.  He is opposed by the Yankees game 1 starter lefthander C.C. Sabathia who will be going on 3 days rest as Yanks manager Joe Girardi takes a huge risk of being second-guessed and criticized for going with a 3 man starting rotation on short rest against the Phillies.  On Monday’s game 5, Phillies ace lefthander Cliff Lee will make his 2nd World Series start opposed by A.J. Burnett, who like Sabathia, will be going on 3 days rest.

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