Phillies battle, but settle for split in Bronx
EW YORK -- Pedro Martinez looked up and pointed toward the sky as he left the mound in the seventh inning Thursday night at Yankee Stadium.
He stopped and smiled as he peered into the crowd from the top step of the Phillies' dugout.
Martinez took the loss in a 3-1 defeat to the Yankees in Game 2 of the World Series, which evened the best-of-seven series at 1, but he felt good about his effort in a city that loves him and hates him. He said he put everything into his pitching performance to give his team a shot to win. He left the field with no regrets.
"That's all I could do today," Martinez said. "I don't feel like I saved anything. I did everything I could to beat those guys."
But the Phillies and Yankees have shown the World Series is going to be a battle when play resumes Saturday night at 7:57 ET with Game 3 at Citizens Bank Park.
"It's two heavyweights going at it," Jimmy Rollins said.
The Phils left Yankee Stadium for a train trip to Philadelphia feeling good about their position. They beat Yankees ace CC Sabathia in Game 1, and although they could not handle right-hander A.J. Burnett in Game 2, they captured home-field advantage with the next three games at the Bank.
"You start a series on the road, and I think you did your job if you've created home-field advantage for yourself," Jayson Werth said. "Obviously, we would have liked to win tonight, but looking at this as a whole, we're going back to Philly tied."
The Phillies had an excellent opportunity to take a 2-0 lead in the series, but Burnett dominated. He allowed just four hits, one run and two walks and struck out nine in seven innings. Yankees closer Mariano Rivera also pitched two scoreless innings, although they managed two hits and a one walk against them, which they hope helps them in future encounters.
Martinez pitched with as much hype surrounding an individual's start in the World Series in recent memory.
Martinez had a long and storied history against the Yankees. Everybody expected the ballpark to be rocking with "Who's your daddy?" chants, except the fervor of Yankee postseason pasts was lacking. Asked if he thought this World Series felt more like a World Series than last year's against the Rays, Rollins said it will be once the series returns to Philadelphia.
"Our ballpark is so loud and rowdy," he said. "I was really expecting some of that here, but it was very tame and civilized, actually."
In New York?
"You only heard one big cheer and that was on home runs," Rollins said.
Yankees fans had little to cheer early Thursday. Burnett retired the first five batters he faced when Raul Ibanez hit a blooper that landed on the left-field foul line and bounced into the stands for a ground-rule double with two outs in the second. Matt Stairs, who served as Charlie Manuel's designated hitter, followed with a ground ball to the left of Yankees third baseman Alex Rodriguez. Rodriguez got his glove on the ball, but it got past him and into left field as Ibanez scored easily.
It was Stairs' first single since June 28. He had hit .078 (4-for-51), including two at-bats in the postseason, with two doubles and two home runs since he had a pinch-hit single in the seventh inning against Toronto.
The Phillies had a 1-0 lead.
It lasted until the fourth, when Mark Teixeira hit a solo home run into the Yankees bullpen in right-center field to make it 1-1. Hideki Matsui then smacked a 74-mph curveball into the right-field stands for a solo home run in the sixth for a 2-1 New York lead.
It would be enough because Burnett had found his groove.
"I threw a lot of first-pitch strikes and that allowed me to open up and expand the zone after that," Burnett said.
Manuel sent Martinez to the mound to start the seventh inning after having thrown 99 pitches. Jerry Hairston Jr. hit a flare into right field for a leadoff single and Melky Cabrera followed with a bullet to right field to put runners on first and second with nobody out.
Manuel pulled Martinez, but Chan Ho Park allowed a singled to Jorge Posada to score an insurance run.
"He asked me how I felt [in the sixth inning]," Martinez said of pitching coach Rich Dubee. "I never felt as strong as I would like to because I've been under the weather the last two days. That's not an excuse, but I didn't feel quite as strong. I haven't been eating right. I had very little sleep. But I felt good enough to make pitches, and that's what I told him. They trusted that."
The run might have mattered had the Phillies touched Rivera for a run or two. Rollins worked a walk and Shane Victorino followed with a single with one out in the eighth to put the go-ahead run at the plate, but Chase Utley hit into a double play to end the inning.
"Utley was safe," Manuel said. "Go look. He was safe."
"I haven't seen the replay," Utley said. "I've been told the replay shows I was safe. I was running with my head down, so I don't know. I knew it was a close play."
If that call went against the Phillies, perhaps an inning-ending double play worked in their favor in the seventh. Ryan Howard caught a sinking line drive off Johnny Damon's bat with runners on first and second and one out. Howard threw wide to Rollins at second.
The replay showed the ball might have hit the ground before it hit Howard's glove. If that was the case the bases would have been loaded. But Howard's ball was ruled a catch and Jorge Posada was double up at second to end the inning.
Good pitching performances. Close plays. Big hits.
It has been the World Series everybody had expected so far.
And it could get even more interesting this weekend in Philadelphia. Game 3 is on Saturday on Halloween.
Rollins was asked what might be the scariest thing he sees Saturday. He laughed.
"I don't know," he said. "Maybe Ryan and Chase combine for four home runs or something."