Tagged: Pedro Martinez

Tanaka Shuts Up Critics By Silencing Rays’ Bats

GAME 11

YANKEES 9, RAYS 0

“I’ve been there. I know that (Masahiro) Tanaka is probably at 65 percent. He might be better than a young kid rushed up from the minor leagues, but in the end, it’s going to come back to bite them. I think Tanaka is not committed to his pitches. Tanaka is a guy who’s aggressive in the strike zone and attacks the strike zone. He doesn’t look like he’s attacking the strike zone.”

                                                                    –  Supreme pitching expert Pedro Martinez on April 10

Flash forward to Saturday and I think Martinez may want to season his steaming plate of crow liberally with some salsa because he is going to have to eat his words.

Tanaka held the Rays to just two hits in a brilliant seven-inning performance to outduel Jake Odorizzi as New York went on to score seven runs in the seventh inning to thoroughly humiliate Tampa Bay at Tropicana Field in St. Petersburg, FL.

So dominant was Tanaka (2-1) that after he allowed a leadoff single to David DeJesus in the first inning, he did not allow another hit until Logan Forsythe led off the sixth inning with a double. In retiring 15 batters in a row, Tanaka struck out six of them and only three balls made it into the outfield.

Oh, by the way, after Forsythe’s double, Tanaka fanned Rene Rivera and DeJesus and retired Steven Souza Jr. on a groundout.

Tanaka walked none and ended up with eight strikeouts on only 85 pitches (60 of them were strikes). It was as if the Japanese right-hander was telling Martinez that he doesn’t know what he is talking about.

By the looks of Tanaka on this evening, he looks as dominant as he ever was in his rookie season last year when he was 13-5 with a 2.77 ERA.

Odorizzi (2-1) entered the game with a 0.61 ERA in 14 2/3 innings over two starts and he pitched that way for the first five innings of the game. He matched Tanaka pitch-by-by-pitch in allowing only three hits and fanning seven in that span.

However, the sixth inning proved to be his undoing when he issued back-to-back one-out walks to Brett Gardner and Alex Rodriguez. One batter later, Brian McCann, who entered the game 5-for-10 with two homers off Odorizzi and was 2-for-2 against him at that point, spanked a hanging change-up to deep right-field.

The ball caromed off the very top of the yellow home-run line and rolled back into shallow right-field for a two-run triple for McCann, only the fourth triple of his career.

Buoyed by the 2-0 lead, the Yankees opened the seventh with a single by Chase Headley, which promptly chased Odorizzi.

Stephen Drew greeted left-hander C.J. Riefenhauser with a fly ball that fell out of the glove of Souza for a double. Gregorio Petit scored Headley with a sacrifice fly. Jacob Ellsbury singled and Gardner scored Drew with an opposite-field single to make it 4-0.

Right-hander Grant Balfour replaced Riefenhauser and he immediately issued a walk to Rodriguez to load the bases and Mark Teixeira scored Ellsbury with a sacrifice fly.

Balfour then hit McCann with a pitch to reload the bases and Chris Young ripped a 2-2 slider into the left-field bleachers for a grand slam home run, his third homer of the season, which put the game out of reach at 9-0.

Odorizzi was charged with three runs on five hits and two walks while he struck out nine in 6-plus innings.

With the victory the Yankees already clinched the three-game series and improved to 5-6. The Rays dropped to 6-6.

PINSTRIPE POSITIVES

  • Tanaka’s velocity was there. The command was there. He looked like, well, Tanaka. Perhaps this will finally shut up all the critics and naysayers who have been dogging out the Yankees all season like FOX Sports play-by-play man Joe Buck and everybody who works for the Red Sox Sports Network in Bristol, CT, also known as ESPN. Tanaka got advice not to have Tommy John surgery by FOUR of the best orthopedic experts in the country and he is fine. Now please shut up about him being one pitch away from oblivion. Please!
  • McCann’s dominance over Odorizzi is just amazing. He is now 8-for-13 with two homers, a triple and two doubles. McCann ended up 3-for-4 with two RBIs and a run scored. He came into the game batting .179 and ended up raising his average to .250. I said it many times but the Yankees need production from Teixeira, McCann, Rodriguez and Carlos Beltran. It appears after a slow start they may be getting it.
  • Young was only in the lineup because Beltran was benched with a bad head cold and he ended up with the big blast that put the icing on drubbing of the Rays. In limited play, Young is batting .276 with three home runs and eight RBIs. The 31-year-old veteran was practically run out of Citi Field by the front office of the New York Mets last season but he has resurrected what was a pretty promising career with the Yankees. Young also made a fine running catch in right-field in the fifth inning on a drive off the bat of Desmond Jennings.

NAGGING NEGATIVES

What is there to complain about? I could say that the Yankees failed to score 10 runs or they did not get to Odorizzi soon enough. But the fact is Tanaka pitched like the ace he is and the Yankees got a shutout to win their first season series. They are making the Rays look like the old Devil Rays they used to beat up on for all those years.

BOMBER BANTER

Beltran, 37, likely will sit out the weekend with that bad cold, Girardi said on Saturday. “He’s got that bad congestion, a bad cold that’s kind of been going around our team,” Girardi told reporters. “He sounds really bad. He was bad yesterday and he’s worse today.” Young started for him in right-field and he did a great job of filling in for him.   . . .  As I predicted in Friday’s post, Girardi opted to move the red-hot Rodriguez into the No. 3 spot in the order on Saturday and he ended up with a no-contact evening. A-Rod walked twice and struck out three times. Rodriguez was 3-for-4 with two homers and four RBIs while batting seventh against the Rays on Friday.  . . .  Also as predicted, Girardi decided to sit struggling shortstop Didi Gregorius on Saturday. Girardi shifted Stephen Drew to shortstop and started Petit at second base. Petit, 30, was 0-for-3 with a sac fly RBI. Gregorius, 25, is batting .152 and has been somewhat shaky in the field and on the bases.

ON DECK

The Yankees will look to sweep the shell-shocked Rays on Sunday.

Right-hander Michael Pineda (1-0, 5.11 ERA) will pitch for the Yankees. He is coming off a victory on Monday against the Baltimore Orioles despite yielding five runs on nine hits with nine strikeouts in 6 1/3 innings.

Pineda will be opposed by rookie right-hander Matt Andriese (0-0, 3.86 ERA). Andriese, 25, gave up two runs on five hits and one walk in 3 2/3 innings against the Toronto Blue Jays on Tuesday.

Game-time will be 1:10 p.m. EDT and the game will be broadcast by WPIX.

 

Advertisements

Yankees Go Solo Route To Ruin Fenway Toast

GAME 14

YANKEES 6, RED SOX 2

A hundred years ago Fenway Park opened its turnstiles for the first time and the seeds of a Red Sox rivalry with the New York Yankees were planted on that day and sown over the generations.

The modern day version played out upon the hallowed cathedral of Boston’s baseball heritage on Friday and the New York franchise that was the Highlanders in 1912 evolved quickly into the Bronx Bombers in the afternoon sun and pounded out five solo home runs to ruin the celebration for the Red Sox faithful.

Ivan Nova (3-0) gave up two runs on seven hits and struck out five over six innings to notch his 15th consecutive decision dating back to his rookie season. He is just one victory shy of the franchise record established by Roger Clemens.

Meanwhile, the Yankees were taking aim for the upper reaches of the Green Monster and Landsdowne Street against Clay Buchholz (1-1).

Eric Chavez, inserted in the lineup to play third base so Alex Rodriguez could DH, led the way with a pair solo home runs in the second and fourth innings. Nick Swisher began the home run barrage two batters before Chavez in the second with his own Monster Mash. Rodriguez led off the fifth with a blast onto Landsdowne Street and it was the 631st home run of his career, moving him past Ken Griffey Jr. into fifth place on the all-time home run list.

Russell Martin completed the barrage in the sixth with a high lined shot into the scaffolding above the Monster for his first home run of the season. Martin stepped to the plate hitless in his last 15 at-bats.

The Red Sox scored their first run on a disputed double by David Ortiz that was ruled a home run by the umpiring crew after a replay review in the second inning. They scored again the fifth after Cody Ross led off the inning with a double to center and one out later Nick Swisher lost Mike Aviles’ routine pop fly in the sun, which allowed Ross to score.

But the Yankees’ vaunted bullpen held the Red Sox scoreless over the final three innings. Future Hall of Fame closer Mariano Rivera came on to record the final three outs in the ninth to seal the victory for the Yankees.

So while the Red Sox legends like Johnny Pesky, Bobby Doerr, Carl Yastrzemski, Jim Rice, Dennis Eckersley, Carlton Fisk, Pedro Martinez and Dwight Evans came onto the field prior to the game to pay tribute to a city’s love for its ballpark and its team, it was the modern legends the likes of Derek Jeter, Rodriguez, Ortiz and Rivera who shone brightest on this day.

With the victory, the Yankees improved their season record to 8-6 and they are now a half-game behind Baltimore in the American League East. The Red Sox fell to 4-9 and they are four games out in last place in the division.

PINSTRIPE POSITIVES

  • With the starters struggling to keep the other team off the scoreboard early and not being able to pitch past the fifth inning, Nova’s effort on Friday was very much welcome. Nova had only one 1-2-3 inning (the fourth) and yet he was able to keep the Red Sox offense at bay for most of the afternoon. The fact that the 25-year-old right-hander is within two victories of passing Clemens proves that he is doing something right. He lowered his season ERA to 3.79.
  • Manager Joe Girardi gets kudos for starting Chavez at third base and Chavez made the skipper look clairvoyant with his first two home runs of the season. Chavez has only two home runs all last season for the Yankees. In limited play this season, Chavez is hitting .400 and he is proving that the Yankees’ bench is pretty deep with talent.
  • Rodriguez’s home run was by far the most dramatic of all the home runs and it made a statement as it flew well over the Monster in left. It was his second home run of the season and it gave the Yankees a 5-2 lead. Buchholz gave up nine hits in six-plus innings five were solo home runs and two others were doubles. He was not exactly fooling the Yankees.
  • Jeter singled off the glove of Kevin Youkilis in the second inning to extend his hitting streak to 11 games. Jeter was 1-for-5 and scored a run and he is hitting .359 on the season. With the hit he moved into 18th place and past Dave Winfield on the all-time hit list with 3,111.

NAGGING NEGATIVES

  • Cody Eppley, who was brought up from Triple-A when Brett Gardner was placed on the disabled list on Wednesday, did not fare well in his debut with the Yankees. The 6-foot-5 sidewinding right-hander entered the game in the ninth with a four-run lead and he gave up a leadoff single to right by Jarrod Saltalamacchia. Girardi went immediately to the mound and brought in Rivera to close out the game.
  • Mark Teixeira was the only Yankee starter who did not get a hit in the game. He was 0-for-4 including three weak infield grounders. Teixeira’s season average dropped to .264, which is pretty good considering Teixeira is a career .190 hitter in April.
  • Swisher had to be a bit embarrassed by losing Aviles’ fly ball in the fifth, which allowed a run to score. Swisher tried using his left hand to shade his eyes from the sun but he ended up covering up and baling out as the ball dropped in front of him and rolled into deep right. It was a tough sun field on Friday but Swisher still should have had it.

BOMBER BANTER

Yankees left-hander Andy Pettitte tossed five innings on Friday in an extended spring training game against Pittsburgh Pirates minor leaguers at the Yankees’ minor-league complex in Tampa, FL. Pettitte gave up two runs on four hits but, more importantly, he threw 58 of his 66 pitches for strikes and struck out five batters. In his next game action, Pettitte likely will move up in class and start a game for Double-A Trenton. The 39-year-old veteran is targeting a return to the Yankees in early May.  . . .  Both teams on Friday wore throwback uniforms that were worn by Red Sox and Highlanders in 1912. The jerseys did not have names or numbers on the back, which made it hard for fans, broadcasters and writers to figure out who was coming to the plate to pinch-hit or who was coming to in to pitch. I would guess it was pointless to buy a game program in 1912, if they were even available then.

COMMENTARY

One of the loudest and warmest greetings from most of the 36,770 fans in attendance during the pregame ceremonies was bestowed upon former manager Terry Francona, who initially declined the invitation to come but later relented. Francona received a raucous standing ovation and it rivaled the ovation for Yastrzemski. In the seventh inning of the game, current Red Sox manager Bobby Valentine went to the mound to remove Buchholz and he drew a chorus of boos. Valentine is still reeling from comments he made to reporters on the record about a seeming lack of commitment from Youkilis. The firestorm ended with the players backing Youkilis and Valentine was forced to apologize for the comments publicly. But it is obvious that Francona’s departure after last season’s September swoon, Valentine’s uncalled for candor and the poor start of the team has combined to provide a very poisonous atmosphere at Fenway Park on her 100th birthday. The situation will be increasingly worse for Valentine if the Red Sox fail to win a game this weekend against the Yankees. For his part on Friday, Valentine appeared reticent and chastened when he spoke to the media. It would appear he has learned a valuable lesson about being too candid and failing to address concerns with his players privately. But the question still becomes how will Valentine survive it all if this team continues to languish at the bottom of the division and fails to make the playoffs? The fans in Boston are not a patient bunch and Valentine really stepped into it badly by knocking an immensely popular player.

ON DECK

The rivalry series continues on Saturday.

The Yankees will send right-hander Freddy Garcia (0-1, 6.97) to the mound. Garcia was tagged for five runs on nine hits in 5 2/3 innings in a loss against the Twins on Monday. With Pettitte on the way back to the major leagues, the pressure on Garcia to pitch well increases. He is 9-4 with a 4.45 ERA over the last 10 seasons against the Bosox.

Boston will counter with left-hander Felix Doubront (0-0, 5.40 ERA). Dubront has not made it out of the fifth inning this season although he has 13 strikeouts in 10 innings of work. He is 0-0 with a 3.86 ERA against the Yankees.

Game-time will be 4:05 p.m. EDT and the game will be telecast nationally by FOX Sports.

 

Five Reasons Why the Yankees Won and the Phillies Lost

I hate to say I told you so but I did tell you so. In my World Series preview post on Oct.28 I predicted the Yankees would win in six games. I also said they would win with their superior pitching. That prediction was an honest one and now let’s look a little deeper for the main reasons why the Yankees beat the Phillies.


No. 1: STARTING PITCHING

In my preview I wrote this:
“Neither the Rockies or the Dodgers have a pitcher of the caliber of CC Sabathia or can boast of a more experienced postseason pitcher than Andy Pettitte.  In contrast, the Yankees might struggle some with Cliff Lee but they could feast on Pedro Martinez, Cole Hamels and Joe Blanton.”

This is exactly what happened. Lee was 2-0 with a 2.81 ERA in the series. Hamels, Martinez and Blanton were a combined 0-3 with a 7.08 ERA. I don’t think I have seen such a great team like the Phillies get this far in the postseason with basically one competent pitcher. But they did.
The Yankees’ trio of CC Sabathia, A.J. Burnett and Andy Pettitte were 3-2 with an ERA of 4.46. Those numbers may not seem dominant but in the games Lee did not pitch, the Yankee starters were better than the pitcher they faced.
I also wrote this about Pedro Martinez:
Pedro Martinez did pitch well in his only start in the postseason. He went seven innings in a no-decision the Phillies eventually lost to the Dodgers in Game 2. He has the ability to shut down the Yankees. But he also has been beaten many times by the Yankees in the past. Hideki Matsui, Pedro? Remember him?

I don’t think Pedro wants to see Hideki Matsui in the batter’s box ever again after Wednesday night.
Starting pitching is a key in any series and, though none of the three Yankees’ starters pitched  great on short rest, they pitched well enough to expose the weakness in the depth of the Phillies’ starters.
No. 2: RYAN HOWARD

Someone told me there was this huge first baseman for the Phillies who hit mammoth home runs and was an MVP. I wonder what happened to him because I did not see him. I did see a big guy who hit one home run, drove in three runs and hit .174 with 13 strikeouts in 23 at-bats. But that could not have been Howard. Could it?
Unfortunately, for the Phillies, it was Howard. Though Pettitte gave up an “Oh, by the way” two-run home run to Howard in Game 6, he was MIA throughout this series because the Yankee lefties pitched him consistently outside and made Howard chase pitches out of the strike zone.
Of course, Howard was not the only problem with the Phillies’ offense. Jimmy Rollins and Shane Victorino combined to go 9-for-45 (.200). That is why Chase Utley hit five home but only had eight RBIs. 
No. 3: THE BULLPEN

I wrote the following in my preview:
By miles. Not inches but miles, the Yankees bullpen is better than the Phillies. It could be the one key reason, the Yankees are favored to win the series. The fact that only Cliff Lee can possibly give the enough length in his starts to cover up the Phillies deficiencies in the bullpen is quite telling. The Yankees simply feast off middle relievers and shaky closers. Just ask Joe Nathan of the Twins and Brian Fuentes of the Angels. I would not want to be Brad Lidge in this World Series.

The Phillies’ bullpen gave up three earned runs in 4 2/3 innings in Game 3 and Brad Lidge absolutely imploded as I predicted in the ninth inning of Game 4. Chad Durbin did not help Martinez much by giving up three runs in one-third of an inning in Game 6. So in three of the four defeats, the Phillies’ bullpen did not get the job done.
The Yankees on the other hand got 5 1/3 scoreless innings and two saves from Mariano Rivera. Lefty specialist Damaso Marte retired all eight batters he faced. The rest of the bullpen pitched 10 2/3 innings and that was not to expose the weakness here with Phil Hughes struggling. Give manager Joe Girardi credit. He used his bullpen wisely and it was far superior to the Phillies.

No. 4: THE DH FACTOR

This is not just because Hideki Matsui was named the Series MVP and was 8-for-12 with three home runs and 12 RBIs despite not starting in half the games. Nope. This is also because Matsui was a factor in this series and Matt Stairs was not.
Stairs is another Phillies power threat from the left side. But because lefthanders Sabathia and Pettitte started four of the six games, Stairs only started Game 2 as a DH. He singled in a run in his first at-bat. But he was 0-for-7 after that and was not a factor the rest of the way.
Ben Francisco started two games and was 0-for-7. So the Phillies got absolutely nothing from their bench and Stairs was neutralized by the fact he could not hit lefties well enough to allow manager Charlie Manuel to start him.
No. 5: INTANGIBLES

I warned Manuel about this in my preview:
As long as they have Derek Jeter, they have a chance to turn one slight mistake into a play that can turn a series. You know the Twins and Angels came into the playoffs as two of the most fundamentally sound teams in baseball. Look what happened to them. The Yankees just have a way of waiting for a team to make a mistake and jumping all over it.

Well, even if Manuel had read this, it would not have mattered. But the game-changing and series-changing play was the great at-bat Johnny Damon put on poor Brad Lidge in the ninth inning of Game 4 and the decision to swipe third on Pedro Feliz because the Phillies had no one covering third.
OK, quibble that it took A-Rod’s hit to score him. But, remember this: Damon’s presence at third made Lidge throw fastballs, which is his second best pitch. A-Rod got a fastball to hit because Damon’s daring dash, which could go down in history as the smartest play in World Series history, made Lidge ditch his devastating slider.
You just did not see the Yankees beating themselves at all this postseason but you sure as heck have seen them take advantage of a litany of blunders by the Twins, Angels and now the Phillies. That is no accident either. Good teams do this.
That is just five reasons why the Yankees are the 2009 world champions.

A.J. Shines As Matsui Victimizes Pedro Again

WORLD SERIES GAME 2
YANKEES 3, PHILLIES 1


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.
Ouch!
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.