A.J. Shines As Matsui Victimizes Pedro Again


In Game 6 of the 2003 American League Championship Series a double by Hideki Matsui led to a defeat of Pedro Martinez and the Boston Red Sox. In Game 2 of the 2009 World Series a home run by Hideki Matsui led to the defeat of Pedro Martinez and the Philadelphia Phillies.
As Yogi Berra says, it was deja’ vu all over again as A.J. Burnett pitched seven dominant innings to outduel the Yankees’ Public Enemy No. 1, Martinez, and the Phillies 3-1 on Thursday night and tie this World Series at a game apiece.
Despite what Joe Buck of FOX Sports might have led you to believe, Burnett won his showdown with the cocky Dominican righthander. 
Burnett (1-0) silenced the Phillies in his first career World Series start with a mere run on just four hits and two walks and he fanned nine batters. Burnett threw first-pitch strikes to 21 of the 26 batters he faced and had the likes of Jimmy Rollins, Ryan Howard, Raul Ibanez and Matt Stairs flailing at air on his deadly and unhittable curveball all night long.
“I knew it was a big game — it’s no lie,” Burnett told MLB.com. “It was the biggest game I’ve ever thrown in for this team. You can’t let that affect you, and I tried not to let it affect me. I knew I had a big task ahead of me with Pedro on the mound, and I wanted to go out and pitch the best I could.”
Martinez (0-1) was able to fool the Yankees for a time with his assortment of off-speed garbage and slow and even slower changeups until the fourth inning. Pedro let go of one too many slow changeups to Mark Teixeira and Teixeira promptly deposited the badly bruised horsehide some 405 feet away in the back of the Yankees’ bullpen in right-center.
The game was tied at one.
Pedro smiled.
“We hadn’t done much offensively all series, and Pedro was pitching great,” Teixeira said to MLB.com. “We tip our hats to him. But I think the home run got the crowd back in it. It evened the game.
Two innings later, with two out and nobody on, Martinez tried to double up on a curveball to Matsui on a 1-2 count but Matsui went down to get it and drove it high and deep down the line into the rightfield bleachers to the Yankees in the lead for the first time in this Fall Classic.
The Yankees fans who dominated the 50,181 people in attendance rose to cheer the blast and then the partisans restarted a “Who’s Your Daddy” chant that reverberated throughout the new Yankee Stadium. The “Daddy” reference came from a Martinez postgame interview of September 2004 when he said “maybe the Yankees are my Daddy.”
Yankees fans have never forgotten that phrase.
As Matsui ran the bases and the “Daddy” chant started anew, Martinez smiled.
In 2003, a tiring Martinez was beating the Yankees in Game 6 of the American League Championship Series. Then-Red Sox manager Grady Little went to the mound to ask Pedro if he was OK. Martinez said he was and Little left him in to face Matsui. 
Matsui then blasted a double down the rightfield line that gave the Yankees a come-from-behind victory and Martinez ended up 0-1 with a 5.65 ERA in the series. After the Yankees won the series in seven games, Little was fired by the Red Sox — largely for letting Martinez face Matsui.
Matsui made the loudmouthed Latin braggart pay once once again. Perhaps the Yankees fans phrase should now be “Who’s Your Poppa-San?”
“His home run was huge,” Girardi said to MLB.com. “It’s the first lead we’ve had in this series in the two games.”
Surprisingly enough, manager Charlie Manuel, beginning to look somewhat like poor Grady Little, sent Martinez out to pitch the bottom of the seventh despite the fact he had thrown 99 pitches. He would regret it.
Martinez proved he needed to have a huge fork stuck in him because he was obviously more than done after giving up a leadoff single to Jerry Hairston, who was penciled into the lineup over regular rightfielder Nick Swisher by manager Joe Girardi because he was hitting .370 lifetime off El Pedro.
After Brett Gardner was sent in to pinch-run for Hairston, Melky Cabrera then slashed a line-drive single on a hit-and-run that propelled the speedy Gardner to third. Manuel then saw the error of his Grady Little ways in sticking with a gassed Pedro on a hostile Yankee Stadium stage but it was two batters and eight pitches too late.
The Yankee faithful had one last serenade for its favorite villain as he walked towards the Phillies dugout. Martinez again just smiled.
It begs the question: What does Pedro do when he actually beats the Yankees? He obviously smiles broadly when he loses.
Pinch-hitter Jorge Posada greeted reliever Chan Ho Park with a solid single up the middle to plate Gardner to give the Yankees a 3-1 lead with Mariano Rivera warming up for a six-out save in the Yankees’ bullpen.
Martinez ledger showed that he gave up three earned runs in six-plus innings. He gave up six hits and two walks and struck out eight batters. 
My apologies again to Joe Buck at FOX but Martinez’ ERA for this start was 4.50 and Burnett’s ERA was 1.29. I just do not want you baseball fans out there to be confused on who pitched the better game. 
Martinez was hardly humbled by his defeat.

“I know they really want to root for me,” Martinez said to MLB.com. “It’s just that I don’t play for the Yankees, that’s all. I’ve always been a good competitor, and they love that. They love the fact that I compete. I’m a New Yorker as well. If I was on the Yankees, I’d probably be like a king over here.”

The only time Burnett was touched for a run was a matter of just two inches after two were out in the second inning. Burnett had a 2-2 count on Ibanez and he was set up perfectly for the pitch du jour, the curve. 
But Ibanez flailed his bat wildly to protect the plate and dropped a dying quail ground-rule double into left for what will go down in Ibanez history as one very lucky hit that kissed the line and kicked into foul territory and into the seats.
Stairs, looking more and more like he never misses a postseason Phillies clubhouse spread, then raked an opposite field single that went an inch under Alex Rodriguez’s glove and skipped into left to drive in the slow-footed Ibanez with the game’s first run.
As it turned out it was the only run for the defending champions this ni
ght. Burnett made sure of that.
“Extremely impressive,” Girardi said of Burnett. “He was great tonight. He gave up the one run, but he gave us seven extremely strong innings and kept his pitch count down. He was able to work in and out with his fastball and throw his good curveball and get some good swings and misses tonight.”
In the third Burnett walked Jimmy Rollins with one out and fell behind Chase Utley 3-0 and walked him with two out to face Howard. But Burnett made the National League Championship Series MVP look like his RBI buddy in that Major League Baseball commercial with another nasty curveball he tipped into Jose Molina’s glove for the third out, one of four strikeouts Howard registered this evening in four at-bats.
Burnett also gave up a leadoff single to Jayson Werth in the fifth but Molina erased the shaggy slugger with a bullet throw to Teixeira that caught the rightfielder taking a siesta al fresco.
Catcher Carlos Ruiz doubled with one in the sixth and it was enough to get Joe Buck really enthused in the FOX booth. But Burnett cock-screwed Rollins with another curve and Shane Victorino popped up weakly to A-Rod to end that threat.
“I think I fed off the crowd,” Burnett told MLB.com. “They were up every time I got one strike, they were up every time I got two and instead of overthrowing, I kind of just stayed within myself and they started to cheer a lot.”
The rest of the contest belonged to Mariano Rivera and first-base umpire Brian Gorman, but not necessarily in that order.
Gorman actually snuffed out the Yankees’ rally that started off Martinez in the seventh inning. After Posada’s single gave the Yankees a 3-1 lead, Derek Jeter bunted foul with two strikes for the first out and Johnny Damon strolled to the plate to face lefty reliever Scott Eyre, who had just been summoned to replace Park.
Damon lined a one-hopper in into the glove of Howard at first and Howard, indicating to all in witness to the play that he had short-hopped it, threw to wildly to second to try to get Posada on a tag play to Rollins covering second. Howard’s throw to Rollins seemed to be aimed towards Queens and Posada pulled in easily and clapped as he thought he safely reached second.
But Gorman, who was positioned behind Howard’s large, bulbous backside, called Damon out on the play and called Posada out on Rollins’ tag to boot – a phantom double play for sure. Television replays showed the reason Howard threw to second was because the ball bounced into his glove but the Yankees fell victim to another sad umpire postseason blunder.
Instead of having the bases loaded and one out with Teixeira up to potentially tack on to the lead, the Yankees were banished to the dugout to collect their gloves for the eighth.
But thank goodness Gorman was at first for the eighth.
Rivera walked Rollins with one out and Victorino followed with a single to rightfield. Yankees fans held their breath as Rivera faced Game One hero Chase Utley with the game on the line. Utley worked the count full and Manuel decided not to start his two fastest runners on the full-count pitch.
Utley then bounced the ball to Robinson Cano at second and Cano flipped to second to get Victorino and Jeter relayed to Teixeira at first to nip Utley. Or did he? Replays showed that Utley beat the throw and the Phillies should have had Rollins at third and Utley at first with two out and Howard up.
But the Phillies found out that Brian Gorman giveth and Brian Gorman taketh away.
This also is another shout out to Joe Buck at FOX. The Yankees were robbed an inning before. Why did you just moan about this play next inning without mentioning the earlier Gorman screwup? Curious!
Oh well, things did calm down in the ninth when Rivera retook the mound.
Howard made a real nice statute as he watched strike three get called and he trudged back to the Phillies’ dugout to don his golden sombrero for the evening. Werth followed with a soft liner that Cano snagged easily while trotting to his right.
Ibanez induced Joe Buck to bust out his Phillies pom-poms again with his second double of the game. But, alas, the Phillies’ Hefty bag for a DH, Stairs, swung wildly at Rivera’s 2-2 offering and missed badly. Game over.
For Rivera it was his major-league-leading 38th postseason save, his 10th in the World Series, and his 18th six-out save in the postseason.
Game 2 is in the books and let it read that A.J. Burnett outpitched the Yankees’ favorite “son.”

“It’s a terrible cliche, but it was a must-win,” Teixeira said. “You don’t want to go [behind], 0-2 into Philadelphia. I know how tough they are at home, especially in the World Series. Their fans are going to be all over us. It’s going to be a great couple of games out there. But if we went in there 0-2, it would have been a tough road for us.”

The scene now will shift to Philadelphia for Game 3 on Saturday with the Yankees’ postseason rabbit’s foot, Andy Pettitte (14-8, 4.14 ERA), will take the mound at Citizens Bank Park with a 2009 postseason record of 2-0 with a 2.37 ERA. He enters the game as baseball’s winningest pitcher in postseason play with a 16-9 record and a 3.83 ERA.
Pettitte will face fellow lefty Cole Hamels (10-11, 4.32 ERA). For Hamels the 2008 postseason was the best of times with his 4-0 record and 1.80 ERA. But like Dickens’ “Tale of Two Cities” the 2009 postseason has been the worst of times. Hamels is 1-1 with a 6.75 ERA and he has not pitched past the fifth inning of any of his three starts.
Gametime will be 7.57 p.m. EDT and our old buddy Joe Buck will have the play-by-play call for FOX.

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