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Phillies Fall Short in Game 6, Yankees Win Series

Thursday, November 5th, 2009


Phillies starter Pedro Martinez retired the Yankees in order on 11 pitches in the first inning of Wednesday’s game 6.  But the ‘Bombers’, or rather DH  Hideki Matsui unloaded on him for 2 runs each in the second and third innings and 6 RBIs for the game.  With the score 2-0 after two, Phils got a run back in the third inning and 1st baseman Ryan Howard pounded a 2 run sixth inning homer after striking out a World Series record 13 times but the Phillies fell short in game 6 and the Yankees won their 27th World Series crown.

Martinez walked 3rd baseman Alex Rodriguez on 4 pitches to open the second inning before DH Hideki Matsui followed working Pedro for a 7 pitch full-count before bashing a 2 run shot. 

The Phils got one back in their half of the second on a triple by catcher  Carlos Ruiz and an RBI sacrifice fly by shortstop Jimmy Rollins before the Yanks took control of the game on Martinez and the Phils in the third on a single, a walk, a hit batsmen — culminating in Matsui’s 2 out, bases loaded 2 run single which ultimately put the game out of reach for the Phils. 

Starter Andy Pettitte, while credited with his 2nd win of the series, was less than sharp over 5 2/3 innings walking 5, throwing a wild pitch and suffering a passed ball, but the Phils repeatedly failed to capitalize.  When Chad Durbin took over for Martinez in the fifth, the Yanks scored 3 more runs, 2 of them on Matsui’s RBI single.  For Matsui, it was his 5th and 6th RBIs of the game — tying a World Series record and earning him the World Series MVP award. 

The Phillies fell short in game 6 losing the series.  But they can hold their heads high in what they achieved in 2009; Winning the NL East for the 3rd straight season, winning the NL Pennant and going to the World Series for the 2nd straight year after winning it all in 2008.  They were rarely out of ballgames with their own Murderer’s Row Big Boppers and came from behind some 43 times during the regular season.  They won the 2009 NL East and NL Pennant with a largely inconsistent starting rotation, other than rookie lefthander J.A. Happ and late-season acquisition Cliff Lee, and an erratic closer. 

Happ and 3 other relievers worked the remaining 3 2/3 innings and kept the Yanks at bay only giving up 3 hits, while walking 2 and striking out 6.

The Phillies, down 7-1 in the sixth, finally got a 2009 World Series homer from Ryan Howard after he set an all-time series record in futility with 13 strikeouts.

3 Yankee relievers held off the Phillies through the final 3 1/3 innings with future Hall of Fame closer Mariano Rivera giving up an eighth inning 2 out double to leftfielder Raul Ibanez and issuing a 1 out ninth inning to Ruiz before putting the Phillies away on a fly out and a ground out.

And so, tearfully, its always difficult to write as a season, as the 2009 season draws to a close.  The playing-field action is over, but as after the close of play each year, prepare for the maneuvers, machinations, negotiations and more as the teams prepare for 2010.  For now, this is a sign-off as I prepare to rest and tackle other projects between now and winter meetings, free agency, arbitration and the opening of spring training preparatory to the 2010 season.

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Utley, Ibanez Lead Phillies Over Yanks and to Game 6

Tuesday, November 3rd, 2009

    Cliff Lee    Chase Utley    Raul Ibanez

Phillies ace lefthander Cliff Lee pitched seven solid innings while Yankee starter A.J. Burnett was chased with none out in the third inning as the Phils piled up 6-1 and later 8-2 leads. 2nd baseman Chase Utley had another multi-homer series game driving in 4 runs and leftfielder Raul Ibanez doubled and solo homered.  The Yankees chased Lee with 3 runs in the eighth with the big blow being 3rd baseman Alex Rodriguez’s 2 run double.  But Phillies relievers Chan Ho Park and Ryan Madson, despite ninth inning travails, made the deficit too much for the Yanks to overcome as Utley and Ibanez led the Phillies over Yanks by an 8-6 score bringing on a game 6 back in New York.

Lee cruised after giving up a first inning run retiring 10 of next 11 Yanks as the Phils rang 3 runs each in the first and third innings.  It seems to me that there must be some World Series records involved for a team who has had 3 instances of a player having multi-homer games as well as for a player who has multi-homered twice.  Utley did it in game 1 as well as this one and rightfielder Jayson Werth did in game 3.  At any rate, AP sports reporter Ronald Blum notes for Yahoo sports:

Utley hit a… three-run homer in the first inning off A.J. Burnett and added a solo shot in the seventh to join Reggie Jackson as the only players to hit five home runs in a single World Series.

The Phillies took control of this game early to force a trip back to the Bronx for game 6, and hopefully a game 7.

AP’s Blum recaps the game:

While the Phillies have outhomered the Yankees 10-5 in the Series, Ryan Howard is suffering a power outage. He went 0 for 2 with two walks and two strikeouts and is hitting .158 (3 for 19) with 12 strikeouts, tying the Series record set by Kansas City’s Willie Wilson in 1980.

New York scored in the first inning for the second straight game.  [Johnny] Damon singled to left-center and came home when Rodriguez doubled into the right-field corner with two outs. It was his franchise record 16th RBI of the postseason.

It took just eight pitches for Burnett to give up the lead, giving Phillies fans reason to wave those white rally towels.

Jimmy Rollins singled up the middle on the sixth pitch of his at-bat and, with Rollins running, [Shane] Victorino squared and was hit in the hand by a pitch. Utley put the next pitch into the right-field seats.

Burnett got in more trouble in the third, when he walked Utley and Ryan Howard, then gave up run-scoring singles to Jayson Werth and Raul Ibanez that put Philadelphia ahead 5-1 and finished Burnett’s night. Carlos Ruiz added an RBI grounder against David Robertson.

New York made it 6-2 in the fifth, helped by a strange decision by Howard. Pinch-hitter Eric Hinskewho homered… in last year’s Series— walked with one out and took third on  [Derek] Jeter’s single. Damon hit a slow roller in front of first and Howard gloved it as Hinske held, then retreated to the bag for the putout as Hinske scored.

Utley… added a solo shot in the seventh.  Raul Ibanez set off fireworks from the Liberty Bell one last time, adding a second solo shot in the seventh off Phil Coke that made it 8-2.

Lee… settled in until A-Rod chased him with a two-run double in the eighth.  Robinson Cano drove in Rodriguez with a sacrifice fly, and New York gave Philadelphia a scare when Jorge Posada doubled and Hideki Matsui singled at the start of the ninth against Ryan Madson.

Derek Jeter hit into a run-scoring double play, Johnny Damon singled and Madson struck out slumping Mark Teixeira for the save.

For Lee, it was his 4th win in 5 post-season outings. He threw 112 pitches through the eighth inning giving up 2 runs on 4 hits through seven until being chased and charged with 3 eighth inning runs giving up a single and 2 doubles.  Madson, who was credited with his 1st save of the series to go along with his playoff win against Colorado, had a dicey ninth inning until coaxing Jeter to ground into a shortstop-to 2nd-to-1st base doubleplay on a 1-2 pitch and wasn’t yet home-free as Damon followed with a single and took 2nd base on fielders’ indifference.  But Madson fanned Teixeira on 5 pitches to end it, stranding Damon at 2nd base.

Girardi’s 3 day short-rest failed miserably in game 5 as losing pitcher Burnett was battered for 6 runs early retiring noone in the third.

The 2 teams have Tuesday as the venue shifts back to the Bronx for game 6 on Wednesday.  Pedro Martinez is slated to oppose lefthander Andy Pettitte who goes on 3 days rest, both pitching their 2nd games in this World Series.  In the event game 7 is necessary, the Yanks have slated lefthander C.C. Sabathia, again on short rest.  The Phils have yet to announce who their game 7 starting pitcher would be.

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Damon Steals 2nd, 3rd as Yankees Beat Phillies in Ninth

Monday, November 2nd, 2009

                      Johnny Damon

World Series game 4 began as another pitchers’ duel as both Yankee starter ace lefthander C.C. Sabathia and Phillies starter Joe Blanton battled on Sunday as the Yanks led 4-2 in the game through six innings.  When 2nd baseman Chase Utley cut into the Yanks lead with a 2 out solo homer on Sabathia’s 1-2 pitch in the seventh, manager Girardi pulled immediately C.C. for bullpen relief.  The Phils got new life on tying the game in the eighth inning on 3rd baseman Pedro Feliz’s homer off of Joba Chamberlain on a 2 out, full-count pitch.  Closer Brad Lidge got the first 2 outs in the ninth before giving up a full-count base hit to leftfielder Johnny Damon. What occurred after was an apparent mental lapse which cost the Phils the game, and quite possibly the series, which the Yanks now lead by 3 games to 1, as Damon went on to steal 2nd and 3rd on the same play as the Yankees beat the Phillies in the ninth by a 7-4 score after A-Rod’s winning double in World Series game 4.

Writers such as Yahoo’s Jeff Passan have taken to second-guessing manager Charlie Manuel for not starting Lee in game 4, although I am totally in agreement with Manuel with holding Lee back for game 5 on a full 4 days rest. Blanton’s performance retiring 9 Yanks in order from the second through fifth innings, after being touched for 2 first inning runs,  vindicates Manuel’s decision.  Further, Blanton, like Lee in game 1, kept the ball in the park and struck out 7 in his six innings of work.

The far bigger question these writers ought to be asking is how the NL pennant winners either suffered collective mental lapse or weren’t prepared with a coverage scheme in their shift on Teixeira. 

A talk-backer responding to AP sportswriter Ben Walker’s game recap for Yahoo sports had this take:

The game–and perhaps the entire 2009 World Serious–boiled down to Damon’s heads-up double-steal on the same play. The shift was on against Teixeira with Feliz covering second base. So who was covering third base? NOBODY! And Damon noticed. Afterwards, Phillie manager Charlie Manuel said either the pitcher or the catcher HAVE to cover third base on that play. In fact, Manuel said the catcher (Ruiz) should’ve gotten to third base … but, personally, I think Lidge should’ve been there. After all, the pitcher is closer to third base than the catcher! 

 The lack of coverage at 3rd base is more responsible than anything else, for how the Phils lost game 4 and why they now sit with a 1-3 deficit to the Yankees.  Damon doesn’t reach 3rd and Lidge isn’t flustered and probably doesn’t hit Teixeira.  And maybe, the game doesn’t get to A-Rod and a Yankees lead.  Of course, maybe Teixeira goes ballpark on Lidge, or maybe any number of other things.  But again, to repeat what the talk-back cited here noting: “Lidge should’ve been there. After all, the pitcher is closer to third base than the catcher!”

I would agree with the talk-back.  Lidge cooked his own goose on the play.  He started 1st baseman Mark Teixeira with a ball after Damon’s single.  After Damon stole the two bases on the same play, perhaps due to Lidge’s own mental lapse, he got sooo flustered that he hit Teixeira on his next pitch — runners on 1st and 3rd base.  Now he’s facing dangerous 3rd baseman Alex Rodriguez who Blanton managed to confound through 3 at-bats, striking him out once.  A-Rod took a strike and then nailed Lidge’s next pitch for a double driving in the game-winning run as the Yanks took a 5-4 lead. 

The whole Damon play was reminiscent of leftfielder Jayson Werth’s steal of home on the Dodgers back in May.   That play occurred when Werth noticed catcher Russell Martin’s nonchalant slow tosses back to his pitcher.

Catcher Jorge Posada followed slamming Lidge’s 2-2 delivery for a single to left centerfield plating 2 insurance runs.  Future Hall of Fame closer Mariano Rivera took care of the rest shutting down the Phillies on 8 pitches; 2 grounders and a pop up — all to 1st base.

The Yankees had Blanton on the ropes in the first inning as shortstop  Derek Jeter opened the game with an infield single and Damon followed with a double to rightfield putting Jeter on 3rd base.  Teixeira grounded out to 1st base with Jeter scoring on the play and Damon moving to 3rd.  A-Rod was hit by Blanton’s next pitch and Posada followed with a sacrifice fly scoring Damon with the 2nd run.  Blanton finally retired the side on a fly ball to centerfield and cruised thru the second through fifth innings.

The Phils got a run back against Sabathia in their first inning on back-to-back doubles by centerfielder Shane Victorino and 2nd baseman Chase Utley.  They tied the game in the fourth inning as 1st baseman Ryan Howard finally connected, after a string of strikeouts, leading off the inning with a single to centerfield.  On a 2-1 pitch to Werth, Howard stole 2nd base. Werth grounded out to 3rd on the ensuing pitch.  After Leftfielder  Raul Ibanez flied out for the 2nd out, Feliz singled to leftfield scoring Howard.  Feliz took 2nd base on an error by catcher Posada on the relay.  Sabathia intentionally walked catcher Carlos Ruiz but both were stranded as Sabathia struck out Blanton to end the inning.

The tie didn’t last long as Yanks regained the lead scoring twice on a walk and 3 singles.  With the score 4-2 Yankees, Utley solo homered with 2 outs in the seventh ending Sabathia’s night.  Feliz duplicated in the eighth inning with a solo blast after Chamberlain got Werth and Ibanez on strikes.  With the game knotted at 4-4, the scene was set for Lidge, the mental lapse resulting in Damon’s 2 stolen bases on the same play and the Yankees’ winning 3 run rally.

Chamberlain, who blew the save on Feliz’s homer in the eighth inning, was credited with the win while Lidge, who came unglued in the ninth, was charged with the loss.

In Monday’s game 5, Phillies ace lefthander Cliff Lee will make his 2nd World Series start and will try to keep the Phils alive.  Lee is opposed by  A.J. Burnett, who like Sabathia, will be going on 3 days rest.

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Yankees Win Game 3 Despite Three Phillies Homers

Sunday, November 1st, 2009

                            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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Burnett, Rivera Stifle Phillies as Yankees Tie Series

Friday, October 30th, 2009

Phillies starter Pedro Martinez provided a quality six inning performance in Thursday’s game 2 giving up 3 runs on 6 hits, 2 of those hits being solo homers, but the offense which grabbed control of game 1 in the late innings, was largely shut down by Yankees starter A.J. Burnett, who went seven innings giving up 1 run on 4 hits, and future Hall of Fame closer  Mariano Rivera.  In the 3 situations where the Phillies threatened against Burnett and Rivera, they couldn’t buy that clutch RBI hit as Burnett and Rivera stifled the Phillies by a 3-1 score as the Yankees knotted the Series at a game apiece.
As in game 1, the Phillies hit the scoreboard first with a run in the second after Pedro made short work of the Yankees in the first inning.
In that first inning, Martinez struck out both
Derek Jeter, the 1st of 3 times Jeter went down on strikes in the game, and leftfielder Johnny Damon before getting 1st baseman Mark Teixeira to pop out to shortstop on a 2-2 pitch.

Burnett retired the first 5 Phillies he faced, 2 on strikeouts, before leftfielder Raul Ibanez pounded a 2 out ground-rule double to leftfield.  DH lefthanded hitting Matt Stairs followed with a single to leftfield scoring Ibanez with the Phils’ only run.  Burnett struck out 3rd baseman Pedro Feliz to end the inning.

Rightfielder Jayson Werth led off the third inning with a single to rightfield but was picked-off of 1st base by Burnett with Ibanez at the plate.  The Yankee starter struck out Ibanez and Stairs, first pitch swinging, lined out to leftfield to end the inning.

The 1-0 Phillies lead held up until Teixeira blistered Martinez’s 2nd pitch of the fourth inning out to right centerfield to knot the game at 1-1.

In the fifth, catcher Carlos Ruiz stroked Burnett’s 2-2 pitch to leftfield for a double but was stranded as shortstop Jimmy Rollins struck out and centerfielder Shane Victorino popped out to 3rd base to end the inning.

Burnett went clean on the Phils in the sixth inning as 1st baseman Ryan Howard struck out for the 3rd time in the game.  Howard fanned in all 4 plate appearances.

Martinez looked as if cruising striking out Teixeira and 3rd baseman  Alex Rodriguez to open the the Yankees’ sixth.  A-Rod would fan 3 times in the game, both he and Jeter would account for 5 of Pedro’s 8 strikeouts.  But with a 1-2 count, DH Hideki Matsui reached Martinez for a solo shot to rightfield giving the Yanks a 2-1 lead.

In the Phillies seventh, Burnett was, by now, cruising going clean on the Phillies fanning 2 and coaxing Feliz into a groundout. 

Martinez was chased in the seventh after giving up singles to the first 2 Yankee hitters he faced and was relieved by Chan Ho Park and then by lefthander Scott Eyre as the Yanks’ pinch hitter and catcher Jorge Posada singled to center to drive-in the Yankees’ 3rd and final run which was charged to Martinez.

Pedro provided an impressive effort throwing 107 pitches in six-
plus innings walking 2 and striking out 8 while giving up the 2 homers and giving up the 3 runs on 6 hits in a losing cause.

The Phillies Nation blog sums up Martinez’s effort:

When Charlie Manuel announced that Pedro Martinez would get the nod in New York, the script was written, it was just waiting to be performed.

All of the hype surrounding Martinez’s return to New York and “Who’s Your Daddy,” and what not, Pedro came out unfazed. He made two mistakes that were rightly hammered for long-balls. However, everywhere Martinez goes, a show is sure to follow. For six innings, Phillies fans got exactly that.

Winning pitcher Burnett went seven innings giving up 1 run on 4 hits while walking 2, striking out 9 and largely baffling Phillies hitters.

Yankee manager Girardi, seeing Burnett’s pitch count at 108 after seven innings, didn’t mess with middle relief or set-up and went right to closer Rivera to start the eighth inning.  After getting Ruiz to ground out to 3rd base, Rollins battled Rivera for an 11 pitch at-bat finally drawing a walk.   Victorino followed touching Rivera for a single to rightfield — runners on 1st and 2nd base.  But 2nd baseman Chase Utley, silent in game 2 after a 2 homer game 1, grounded Rivera’s full-count pitch into an inning-ending doubleplay.

The Phillies brought on reliever Ryan Madson who had an impressive ninth inning only giving up a single to 2nd baseman Robinson Cano while striking out the side: A-Rod, Matsui and late-game centerfield replacement Brett Gardner.

Ibanez, the only Phil with any production at the plate, stroked his 2nd double of the game with 2 outs in the ninth. But Rivera went to a 2-2 count on Matt Stairs before fanning him to end the game.

Just how unproductive was the Phillies’ offense?  The first 5 hitters went a collective 2 for 17 with 3 walks while fanning 6 times.  4 of strikeouts were on Howard.

Both teams have Friday off and resume play on Saturday at Citizen’s Bank Park as the Phils look to jump-start their offense and to jump ahead of the Yankees in another battle of lefties as Cole Hamels is opposed by Andy Pettitte.

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Lee, Utley, Ibanez Lead Phillies to Opening Win Over Yankees

Thursday, October 29th, 2009

     Chase Utley   Cliff Lee   Raul Ibanez

Phillies ace Cliff Lee was nothing short of magnificent in the matchup of lefthanders with Yankees ace C.C. Sabathia.  Lee carried a shutout into the ninth inning with the Yanks only run scoring on shortstop Jimmy Rollins’ throwing error on a fielder’s choice grounder. 2nd baseman Chase Utley reached Sabathia for solo homers in the third and sixth innings as Lee breezed.  But the Phillies offense salted the game away taking control with 4 late-inning runs including an eighth inning bases loaded 2 run single by leftfielder Raul Ibanez.  Lee, Utley and Ibanez led Phillies to a 6-1 World Series opening win over the Yankees.

The win was the Phillies first-ever World Series win over the Yankees to whom they lost in a 4 game sweep in the only other series match-up between the 2 teams in 1950.  That series marked one of the lowest-scoring match-ups in MLB history.  A total of 16 runs were scored in the 4 games; 11 by the Yanks and 5 by the Phils’ “Whiz Kids.”

Lee was masterful on the mound and equally masterful defensively in flawlessly handling 4 put-out opportunities; a first inning bunt grounder, a sixth inning pop out and groundouts in the seventh and eighth innings.  The eighth inning play, as recounted by Phillies Nation’s Brian Michael, was “an amazing behind-the-back stab to rob Robinson Cano of a single.”

As Lee breezed through 9 of the first 11 Yanks he faced allowing only a 1 out single in the second inning and a 2 out double in the third, Utley blistered a 2 out, full-count pitch from Sabathia to the rightfield seats to put the Phils on the board.

Then Lee struck out the side in fourth in a great power-pitching display; 1st baseman Mark Teixeira, 3rd baseman Alex Rodriguez and catcher Jorge Posada — all swinging.

In the fifth, DH Hideki Matsui led off with a single to center but then got doubled off of first base on Cano’s line drive to shortstop Rollins.  Lee then retired the side on a pop out to rightfield.

With 1 out in the Phils’ sixth inning, Utley then turned on Sabathia’s 0-2 pitch bombing it to right centerfield for his 2nd solo shot of the game — sooo nice, we gonna do it twice, and the Phils had a 2-0 lead.

Shortstop Derek Jeter, the only Yankee to reach regularly in the game going 3 for 4, singled to center with 1 out in the sixth.  But then Lee coaxed a pop out to the pitcher and a fielder’s choice grounder rubbing the Yanks in the inning.

Lee then went clean on the Yanks in the seventh on 9 pitches, 3 groundouts.

Then the Phils offense went to work scoring 4 runs, 2 in the eighth and 2 in the ninth as the Yankees burned through 5 reliever to no avail.  Meanwhile, Lee went clean again on the Yanks in the eighth, this time on 12 pitches.

AP’s Ben Walker recaps the Phils eighth and ninth inning scoring for Yahoo sports:

Lee bamboozled the Yankees with a spiked curveball, deceptive changeup and his usual pinpoint fastball, pitching a six-hitter while striking out 10 without a walk. He became the first [pitcher] since Don Newcombe in 1949 to fan double digits with no walks in a Series game.

Raul Ibanez hit a two-run single in the eighth and Shane Victorino added an RBI single in the ninth.

1st baseman Ryan Howard, who had 2 doubles in the game, added his 2nd one for good measure in the ninth driving in the 6th run while Victorino was nailed trying to score from 1st base on the play to end the inning. 

Lee took a shutout into the ninth but then Jeter and leftfielder Johnny Damon each singled to open the frame.  Teixeira then grounded to 2nd base into a textbook fielder’s choice. Damon was out at 2nd base with Jeter moving to third. But Jeter scored and Teixeira moved to second on shortstop Rollins’ throwing error.  With 1 out in the Yanks ninth, Lee fanned A-Rod and Posada to end it.

Winning pitcher Lee threw 122 pitches striking out 10, walking none and giving up the ninth inning run and 6 hits in his complete game effort.  Sabathia provided a superior performance only giving up Utley’s 2 dingers, although he ran deep counts and thus threw 113 pitches in seven innings while giving up 4 hits, walking 3 and striking out 6.

AP’s Walker continues:

The defending champion Phillies shut down Alex Rodriguez & Co. in the first Series game at the new billion-dollar ballpark. Trying to become the first NL team to repeat since Cincinnati in 197576, the Phils’ 17-4 postseason run is the best in league history.

How complete was Lee’s shutdown of the Yankees?  A-Rod went down on strikes 3 times while Teixeira and Posada each fanned twice accounting for 7 of Lee’s 10 strikeouts. 

With game 1 in the Phillies hopper, manager Charlie Manuel goes to veteran Pedro Martinez for game 2 on Thursday as the best chance of possibly sneaking out of Yankee stadium with 2 wins over the Yanks.  Martinez also translates into a mega-TV bucks across the nation.  Pedro will be opposed by A.J. Burnett.

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