Ahh, much better.
The Yankees beat the Phillies in a much-needed, if technically not “must-win” Game 2, with A.J. Burnett outdueling old friend Pedro Martinez.
The Phillies took an early 1-0 lead in the 2nd with an RBI single from Matt Stairs, but the Yanks answered in the 4th with a solo shot from Mark Teixeira. Two innings later, Hideki Matsui went yard to give the Yanks a 2-1 lead, and then they collectively abandoned the long ball game in favor of the small ball one.
If we had lost that game, I would have undoubtedly been arrested, and they would have needed dental records to identify the first base ump’s mangled body.
Something tells me this game is just a microcosm of how the rest of the series is going to go. Nip and tuck. Working the pitchers. No easy outs, no easy runs. I don’t know if my heart can take it.
Admittedly, no one can say we teed off on the long-winded stepchild of the Yankees. He kept our bats frozen through 3 innings, save a single from Hideki. And I wouldn’t dare publicly subscribe to this at the time, but the thought did cross my mind that if Pedro holds us scoreless and to one hit, I may have to walk into a pit of wild boars to take me out of my misery.
Fortunately, Tex saved me from this fate when he led off the bottom of the 4th with shot to right center. ‘Bout time. I was like 8 minutes away from exploding into a “the Phillies have weighted the ball!” outburst. (Seriously, though. It felt like the whole bar had been possessed by Sterling, every shot looked like it was going to carry, inducing us all to jump to our feet in excitement only to see it caught no where near the warning track.)
With the score tied 1-1, everyone was breathing slightly easier. Slightly. A.J. continued to deal, and unlike his usual Good A.J. persona, he wasn’t even throwing the occasional wildness. Over 7 unbelievably solid innings, he used 108 pitches to let up just 4 hits, walk 2, and strike out 9. NINE. Thank you a thousand times over, A.J.
The offense did little to help him out, though it never seemed as through Pedro was baffling them, per se. If anything, they might have been a little overeager to knock him around and hence were getting whiffed on giant cuts.
In the bottom of the 7th, the Yanks added another run to their lead, and it really should have been a couple more runs, but a horrendous call ended the inning. With runners on 1st and 2nd, Jorge Posada singled to score Brett Gardner (although his ribbie was regrettably not off Pedro, but I’ll take it.)
Jeter made the first out of the inning when he did what every hot batter does with 2 strikes, runners on, in a playoff game where you only lead by 2: bunted. Naturally. Johnny Damon came up and hit a line drive to first which Ryan Howard sells as a catch despite its definite hop, umps buy it, Posada out at 2nd, Damon out with the catch.
Technically, it should have been a 4-1 game, with runners on 1st and 2nd and still 1 out, since Howard never even stepped on first. Eh, it’s moot.
Mariano Rivera comes in for 6 outs and throws wayyy too many pitches en route to his 38th postseason save (39). Things started to get a little too close for comfort when he put on Shane Victorino and Jimmy Rollins, with Chase Utley to deal with on only 1 out. Superman induces a double play, inning over.
The 9th went on without much of a hitch beyond Raul Ibanez’s double. Mo struck out Matt Stairs to end the game. (Btw, I never noticed how much of a fat middle-aged Guiness-drinking, Mets-rooting blob Stairs looks like–that’s the type of guy who bats cleanup in his bar softball league, not for a pro one.)
The series is tied at 1 game apiece, with a “travel” day tomorrow, then 3 games in Philly commence on Halloween. Great win tonight, Yanks. And special nod of gratitude for Jose Molina (yup, first time that sentiment has ever been uttered ever), for picking off Jason Werth in the 3rd. Maybe that was the weird kick in the pants the boys needed to start it up.
It’s still our series. Here’s to taking Philly by the jugular this weekend.
And what better time for bloodshed then October 31?
Read 2009 Baseball Throwdown coverage for the New York Yankees.