November 2, 2009 - 7:40 PM
PHILADELPHIA -- It's been nine years, since a clear and chilly night like this one in Citizens Bank Park, since the New York Yankees have won the World Series. That's not long if you're a Cubs fan or you've been a Red Sox fan most of your life. But in the Bronx, it's an eternity.
On that night in 2000 at now-bulldozed Shea Stadium, Mariano Rivera got Mike Piazza on a fly ball to Bernie Williams for the final out as the Yankees celebrated their fourth title in five years and the 26th in their long history by completing a five-game victory over the Mets.
They haven't won one since. But No. 27 could come tonight in Game Five against the defending champion Phillies. It's A.J. Burnett on short rest against Philly ace Cliff Lee. Are the Phillies mentally cooked after last night's ninth-inning collapse? We'll see. First pitch is at 7:57.
I'd say it might be time to get this series over with. You're taunting the weather Gods going into November like this. And it's going to be cold in the Bronx this week (there's even rumors of snow showers). Heck, the Sabres are starting their annaul Salvation Army holiday kettle drive at Wednesday's game against the Islanders in HSBC Arena. Yes, that's for Christmas.
Here's tonight's lineups:
New York: Jeter, ss; Damon, lf; Teixeira, 1b; Rodriguez, 3b; Swisher, rf; Cano, 2b; Gardner, cf; Molina, c; Burnett, p
Notes: Jeter leads all hitters by going 7 for 17 (.412). Teixeira is 1 for 14 and A-Rod is 2-14 but the three combined hits are two home runs and A-Rod's GW 2B last night. Swisher (2-9) and Cano (2-15) are also struggling. The Yankees are batting just .235
Philadelphia: Rollins, ss; Victorino, cf; Utley, 2b; Howard, 1b; Werth, rf; Ibanez, lf; Feliz, 3b; Ruiz, c; Lee, p.
Notes: Howard is 3 for 17 with 10 strikeouts, two shy of the Series record of 12 set by Kansas City's Willie Wilson against the Phils in 1980. Utley is 4 for 15 -- 4 for 6 with three HRs and a double against CC Sabathia and 0 for 9 against everybody else. Rollins and Victorino are both 3 for 16 and Ibanez is just 3 for 16. The Phils are batting just .220.
It's over: Phils hold on, 8-6, as Ryan Madson -- not Brad Lidge -- gets a shaky save. Madson got a big double play ball from Jeter to ease the tension. He finally fanned Teixeira with Damon at first for the final out.
Mid-8th: (Phillies, 8-5): The Yankees knock out Lee on A-Rod's two-run double and a Cano sac fly. But the bottom of the order is up in the ninth. Phillies need to prevent the lineup from turning again.
Bot-7th: (Phillies, 8-2): Lot of fireworks in the sky and gonging of the giant Liberty Bell. First, Utley took Phil Coke deep for a solo shot. That's his fifth of the series tying Reggie Jackson's all-time record set in 1977. Thought Utley had a bad hip? Sure hasn't played like it. Ibanez drove one deep to the second deck in right to knock Coke from the game.
End-5th (Phillies, 6-2): Damon's fielder's choice grounder in the 5th scored another run but not much else happening. Lee has given up three hits through five. David Robertson pitched two scoreless innings for New York and Alfredo Aceves went in the fifth, thanks in large part to a great catch of a Werth bomb to center by Gardner. Werth rounded the bases thinking the ball was out after Gardner crashed into the wall. Um, dude, the guy caught it. Grab some bench.
End-3rd (Phillies, 6-1): Looking more and more like I'll be fulfilling that Amtrak reservation I have tomorrow morning for Penn Station in New York. Three more runs have knocked Burnett from the box and put the Phillies in command. Burnett didn't get an out in this inning so Girardi had to give him a quick hook (left) and replace him with David Robertson. He walked Utley and Howard and gave up RBI singles to Werth and Ibanez before mercifully getting pulled. Ruiz's fielder's choice grounder scored the other run. Burnett's final line: 2+ IP, 4H, 6 R, 6 ER, 4 BB, 2 K, 53 pitches-28 strikes. Ugly. He could have closed Game Five of the ALCS in Anaheim too but gave up a four-run first.
End-2nd (Phillies, 3-1): Order restored against the bottom of the orders. Lee puts down the Yankees' 7-8-9 men while Burnett puts down the Phils around a walk to Rollins.
End-1st (Phillies, 3-1): Huge start for the Bombers against Lee. The pitch from Lee to Jeter was taken low for a ball at exactly 8 p.m. The temperature is 50 degrees. With one out, Damon blooped a single to left-center and he chugged around the bases on A-Rod's two-out double into the right-field corner. A-Rod pulled his GW double last night to left, and went the other way on this pitch. His 16th postseason RBI, breaking the Yankees' franchise record. Swisher walked to put two men on but Cano lined to left for the final out.
Love the opening montage on the big board in left and the video boards on the RF wall. It's the famous "Rocky" workout scene as he runs through the streets of South Philly, spliced with live shots of fans in the stands waving their towels. Fires the place up. But will it fire up this Phillies offense?
Score one for Rocky. The Phillies erupted for three runs before Burnett even got an out to take the lead and quickly get the crowd back into the game. Rollins singled, Victorino was hit on the finger while trying to bunt and Utley pounded the first pitch he saw, a 94-mph fastball, deep over the wall in right to drive in Rollins and Victorino (right). The three-run bomb was Utley's fourth of the series. Guess he finally figured out a Yankee pitcher other than Sabathia.
The entire inning took 27 minutes. Burnett threw 23 pitches (14 strikes) while Lee was at 20-9 and didn't throw a first-pitch strike to any of the six men he faced.
(Photos: Associated Press)