Yanks Wrest Control With 8-5 Win

Huge win.  Huge, HUGE WIN. Lefty struggled in the second, allowing three runs but settling in, and the Yanks’ offense awakened with crucial, consistent run support throughout tonight to beat a game Phillies club 8-5.  After losing Game 1, the Yanks are now in control of the Series, especially since they send The Big Guy to the bump tomorrow night (with three days’ rest) with a good chance to go up three games to one.

But right now, worthy of considerable focus is the fact that Andy Pettite pitched a money start tonight.  He did it after some early struggles, with Rollins singling to start the game and eventually stealing second with Utley up.  Yet Lefty fanned both Utley and Howard on sliders to strand Rollins.  As the Yanks’ offense struggled against Hamels the first time through, Pettite labored in the second, allowing three runs.  Werth led off with a homer off a 3-2 slider, down but not away enough although it wasn’t an awful pitch, 1-0 Phillies.  Ibanez fanned on a slider, but Feliz doubled on a deep drive to right that, had Swish properly judged the ball and where he was vis-a-vis the wall, could have been caught.  Ruiz walked, and Hamels laid down a good bunt that neither Pettite nor Jorge aggressively claimed, loading the bases with one out.  Rollins walked in the second run 2-0 Phillies, and Victorino hit a long sac fly to left, 3-0 Phillies.  But Lefty got Utley looking, and I for one did not consider 3-0 insurmountable by any means.

Each side went down 1-2-3 in the third, bad for the Yanks but for the Phils also.  In the fourth, the Yanks finally awakened, in the immortal lyrics of freebeerandchicken, “Like a flower from the deep frost of winter/slowly, I do rise.” That they did.  Before the fourth, Mike texted me, “OK.  Second time thru order. Let’s see what happens.”  Well, that would be plenty, for Teixeira worked a 3-2 walk on a close pitch down and in.  I texted Mike, Drill one, A-Rod. Boy, did he deliver, crushing an 0-1 fastnall up and away to right off the camera above the wall.  Initially ruled a double, replay reversed it and rightly ruled it a homer.  Interestingly, I not only felt A-Rod would do something tonight off Hamels.  I also ran into my Halloween friend on my cul-de-sac, also named Jay, at the end of a brisk night of brisk trick-or-treating.  We literally have only chin-wagged on Halloween night, for each of us is busy–I with teaching and writing, and he with life as an interstate trucker.  As we talked about the joys of playoff baseball, we each acknowledged A-Rod’s recent struggles against the Phillies but were optimistic.  “A-Rod has been a monster this year,” Jay rightly said as I shifted to the sidewalk to catch up to my family, who are well aware of my penchant for gab and especially about the Yanks.  If Hamels leaves one up to A-Rod, I prognosticated, that’s going yard, I said with accurate bravado.  Boy oh boy, did that happen, for A-Rod’s two-run shot cut the lead to one and quickly silenced the Phillies’ faithful.  Holy kismet.

Lefty worked around A-Rod’s throwing error to start the bottom of the fourth to hold it tight, and the Yanks took the lead in a grand if improbable fifth.  Swish ripped a 2-2 curve down the left-field line for a lead-off double, rousing the home front faithful.  After Melky fanned, Lefty looped a first-pitch single off a curve to center to score Swish running hard, tying the game at three.  Great piece of hitting for Pettite, staying back and slapping a mediocre curve to center.  O fall people to get the ball rolling, it was Pettite, the pitcher, who did; tremendous.  Jeter skipped a single past a diving stab by Victorino, first and second.  Split the gap, JD, I texted to Mike, and sure enough he did, lacing an 0-1 fastball thigh-high to right center to score Pettite and the Captain, 5-3 Yanks; great clutch hitting.  Teixeira then walked, ending Hamels’s night and, although Happ got A-Rod on a liner and Posada on a weak pop to second, the damage was done.

Lefty worked an easy 1-2-3 in the bottom of the fifth, big ease after grabbing the lead.  In the top of the sixth, I texted Mike, Jack one, Road Warrior, earning considerable grief on the home front for my sublimated “code” for Swish’s success.  Yet that was what he had, belting a 2-2 fastball away to deep left center, 6-3 Yanks with big insurance.  Pettite worked around Werth’s second solo shot of the night, fanning Ibanez and Feliz before walking Ruiz and getting Bruntlett on an F9 to end the 6th still up two.

The Yanks cobbled together a run in the top of the seventh when JD worked a one-out walk and stole second when Teixeira struck out.  A-Rod got hit by a pitch, and Posada looped a single, 7-4 Yanks.  Joba worked a good 1-2-3 seventh, and Matsui came through with a big two-out pinch-hit homer to left off that wife-abuser Myers, 8-4 Yanks.  What more can one say about Matsui, entering and paying immediate dividends.  Great Yankee.  Marte came on in the eighth, a move I liked just as I like Joba finishing the seventh up three, and fanned Howard and got Werth looking, before getting Ibanez on a liner to third.  Great relief pitching as the Yanks scored eight runs in five innings.  Hughes allowed a solo shot to Ruiz in the bottom of the ninth, and I agreed with Mike that Hughes should get at least a chance to finish the game.  But Girardi went to Mariano, hard to argue with that as McCarver rightly argued, and he got Stairs on a weak 4-3 and Rollins on a pop5, on all of five pitches, ending the game.

Tremendous win, and Pettite earned his 17th all time victory record for post-season pitching.  The Yanks got 8 hits and 4 walks, showing tremendous patience and clutch hitting, going 3-7 with RISP, stranding but 6 on a night when they had to come through.  Mike was right; the Yanks worked through to the second time through the lineup, pummeling Hamels and the bullpen.  Great relief work by Marte and Joba, too.  Hughes struggled a bit, but no worries.  [Edit: Chad Jennings had a good, telling stat–the Phillies’ lefties were shut down completely. Ibanez, Utley, and Howard combined to go 0-12 with 7 K’s. Only Hamels reached with a hit on the bunt single.  That’s great work.]

Now the Yanks control their fate, sending The Big Guy to the hill tomorrow night for a shot to take a commanding 3-1 series lead.  Win or lose, I would have pitched C.C., no question in my mind.  Fantastic win.  Great resiliency tonight, great experience from Lefty the Master, and A-Rod with his homer, and Pettite with his single, did severe damage to the Phillies.  Kudos to The Captain and JD for their work, and Swish, Posada, and Matsui for piling on.  As Mike and I discussed in a spirited post-game chinwag, this was unquestionably their most impressive win of the two thus far in the Series, and was their best since the 10-1 drubbing of the Angels, for Pettite had to hold the Phillies after allowing three runs, and the team offense awakened to get varied and crucial contributions.  Impressively done.

This ball club never ceases to impress me.  Enjoy it, Yankees fans.  This is heady stuff, up 2-1 in the World Series to a strong Phillies squad.  I like the Yanks’ chances.

Published in: on November 1, 2009 at 1:25 am  Comments (2)  

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2 CommentsLeave a comment

  1. Big props to Marte he was great as he as been during the WS. Other then the 2 hits I against the Angels hes been great since he has returned to the team. When hes not over used like last year or injured like this year I think hes great.

    Huge win though thats got to be a huge let down for them and then Blanton V CC isnt gonna help there confidance.

  2. CC vs. Blanton again, should be on paper a win for the Yanks. We pulled last night’s game off with some offensive firepower – if CC can pitch tonight like he did in Game 1 and we actually score some runs, we could be up 3-1 by the end of the night. We can do this. 😀

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