Tagged: Chase Utley

Matsui, Yankees Thump Phillies For 27th Crown


It took nine seasons, 177 games and nine innings on Wednesday night for the New York Yankees to become the world champions of baseball again.
The Cadillac of all baseball franchises collected their 27th World Series trophy in front of a sellout crowd of 50,035 in the Bronx to put an exclamation point on a season characterized by gutty starting pitching, a potent offense, an experienced bench and a dominant bullpen.
All four elements were on display in Game 6 as Hideki Matsui drove in a World Series record-tying six runs in what could be his last game in pinstripes and Andy Pettitte pitched a solid 5 1/3 innings on three days rest as the Yankees defeated the defending champion Philadelphia Phillies 7-3.
The World Series victory brought a successful curtain down on the team’s inaugural season in their new $1.5 billion ballpark and justified a massive $423.5 million investment in free agents CC Sabathia, A.J. Burnett and Mark Teixeira.
Matsui, who did not start three of the first five games because designated hitters do not bat in National League ballparks, powered the Yankees offense starting with a two-run home run in second inning off 38-year-old Yankee nemesis Pedro Martinez (0-2) to break the seal on the Game 6 scoring.
After a walk to Alex Rodriguez to open the frame, Matsui battled Martinez through seven pitches and a full count before ripping a fastball high down the rightfield line and into the bleachers for a 2-0 Yankees’ lead, a lead they would never give up.
As if on cue, Yankee partisans broke out the “Whose your Daddy” cheer to serenade the most-hated pitcher in Yankees’ history.
Matsui added a bases-loaded two-run single in the third inning off Martinez to make it 4-1. 
In his five at-bats in the World Series off the former Dominican dandy, Matsui had a walk, two singles and two home runs and five RBIs. Whose your “poppa-san,” indeed.
Phillies manager Charlie Manuel was ready for Matsui in the fifth inning. With two on and one out, he summoned rookie lefty J.A. Happ from the bullpen. But Matsui proved he was just as ready for Happ when he greeted him a two-run double high off the wall in right-center that scored Teixeira and Alex Rodriguez, putting the Yankees up 7-1.
Pettitte (2-0) took over the game from there. Though he did not dominate the Phillies and his command was somewhat off (five walks), Pettitte pitched into the sixth inning and gave up only four hits and three runs in winning his 18th postseason game, the most in major-league history.
Pettitte, who was not re-signed by the Yankees as a free agent until late in the winter, also won all of the three series-clinching games for the Yankees in this postseason and ended up with a record of 4-0 and 3.52 ERA in five starts.
Matsui, who has only worn Yankees pinstripes since he made his stateside pilgrimage from Japan in 2003, was appropriately named the World Series Most Valuable Player for going 8-for-12 (.667) with three home runs and eight RBIs.
Matsui, nicknamed “Godzilla” in his native Japan, became the first Japanese player to ever be named a World Series MVP.
After his Game 6 performance that put away the Phillies for good, one writer said Philadelphia must now know how Tokyo felt like when the fictional monster Godzilla destroyed it.
The Phillies had rested their Game 6 hopes on some momentum from having won Game 5 at home and on the surgically repaired right shoulder of Martinez. However, Martinez did not show any of the velocity he showed in Game 2 and struggled with his command early.
He left after four innings, giving up four runs on three hits, two walks and a hit batsman. In two games against the Yankees — both of the losses — Martinez was tagged for 10 hits, four walks and seven runs in nine innings.
Chad Durbin took over for El Pedro to start the fifth and promptly gave up a double to Derek Jeter. After a sacrifice bunt to move Jeter to third by Jerry Hairston, who entered the game after Johnny Damon pulled a calf muscle scoring a run in the third, Teixeira singled to score Jeter. Durbin then walked Alex Rodriguez and Manuel summoned Happ and Matsui zapped Happ and much of the sap left in the “Fighting Phillies” bats.
Though a tiring Pettitte was tagged in the sixth inning by a Ryan Howard two-run homer, the Yankees’ bullpen shut down the Phillies the rest of the way.
Joba Chamberlain got the Yankees out of the sixth and veteran lefty Damaso Marte got Chamberlain out of a two-on, two-out jam in the seventh by striking out Chase Utley, who would not add to his World Series record-tying home run total of five.
Marte, who recorded all eight outs he was asked to get in this World Series, also fanned Howard swinging to open the eighth inning for his fifth strikeout of the Fall Classic. The Yankee fans in the crowd, who had booed Marte much of the regular season, stood and cheered as he left the mound.
Manager Joe Girardi, who joins Billy Martin and Ralph Houk as the third former Yankees player to also win a championship as a manager, then went to the all-time leader in postseason saves, Mariano Rivera, to get the final four outs.
Though Rivera gave a two-out double to Raul Ibanez in the eighth and a one-out walk to Carlos Ruiz in the ninth, he shut out the Phillies to complete 5 1/3 innings of scoreless baseball in the series with two saves. 
Rivera lowered his career World Series ERA to 0.99.
With Ruiz at first and two outs, Rivera battled Shane Victorino through nine pitches and a 3-2 count. On his 10th offering, Victorino swung at Rivera’s characteristically deadly inside cutter and rolled an easy grounder to Robinson Cano at second.
Cano carefully got in front of the ball and watched it as it bounced into his glove. He turned and flipped the ball to Teixeira at first to beat Victorino and the Yankees players, coaches and fans erupted in a thunderous roar as the Yankees, the best team in the American League this season, had beaten the Phillies, the best team in the National League this season.
Now the Yankees have laid claim to the crown as the best team in baseball for 2009.
Though it never gets old for veterans like Jorge Posada, Jeter, Pettitte and Rivera, who won four rings with the Yankees from 1996-2000, it was particularly a special victory for players like Matsui, Damon, Cano and A-Rod, who have waited a long time to win their first title with the Yankees.
Not to mention the feelings of the free agent stars Sabathia, Burnett and Teixeira and first-year Yankees like Nick Swisher, Phil Coke, Alfredo Aceves, David Robertson, Phil Hughes and Hairston. A total of 17 members of the Yankees’ World Series roster won their first championship.
But the proudest Yankee of all of them is Mr. George M. Steinbrenner, the longtime managing general partner, principal owner and chief financier of Yankees resurgence back to prominence after he bought the team in 1973.
In the 36 years since then, the Yankees have now won 12 pennants and seven world championships. The Yankees dedicated this 27th title to the man who rebuilt the Yankee Empire and gave this 2009 team its new home in the Bronx.
Knowing Steinbrenner and his sons Hank and Hal,
the victory is sweet but the drive to win the 2010 world championship begins today. Anything less in the Bronx is a failure.