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.
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 1975-76, 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.