The Series could end tonight. I'm going to liveblog as much of this game as I can (I'm at my parents' place -- it's my father's birthday, and he'll be home any minute, and we'll be having dinner during part of the game), because I'm just that crazy. So check back for updates, if you actually care..... *grin*
Mary J. Blige sang "The Star-Spangled Banner." I gotta admit -- I love her name, but I have never understood her appeal. Her rendition of our national anthem has done nothing to ameliorate this confusion.....
One reason why the Yankees have been successful is that they've been generally good about keeping the leadoff hitters off base. This worked particularly well against the Angels. Keeping Jimmy Rollins off base is key, which is why his groundout to Jeter is a good way to start the game.
Shane Victorino getting a cheapie base hit four feet in front of home is not a good way to continue, however. Sigh.
Chase Utley may finally get the credit he deserves for being a great player. He plays between two MVPs, and he's a better player than either of them. This doesn't diminish my glee at his grounding into a DP, which ends with another patented Mark Teixeira stretch. I don't care how crappy Tex is hitting, he's pretty much saved the postseason for the Yankees with his defense at first.
And now dinner is on. More when I'm done stuffing my face.....
WE'RE BACK! Hideki Matsui just hit a two-run home run to put the Yankees on top 2-0! WOO!
Jorge Posada strikes out for the first out of the second inning. The second out is a laser that almost takes Utley's head off, but Robinson Cano is retired. Nick Swisher flies out to end it.
Pettitte induces a groundout on Ben Francisco ("here I come...."). Carlos Ruiz -- your typical no-hit catcher who has been hitting like Willie Mays this postseason for some reason -- just hit a triple that took a nasty bounce off the wall to handcuff Brett Gardner in center field. Sigh.
Rollins follows with a sac fly to ruin Pettitte's shutout. 2-1 Yanks.
Victorino flies out to Swisher to end it. We need to score more runs off Pedro. Like, now. One-run leads are suboptimal.
Gardner leads off with a strikeout. He sucks. Shoulda started Hairston.
Jeter then hits it to center, which Victorino totally misreads, and it bounces into his glove for a single. Johnny Damon works another of his very long at-bats before drawing a walk, putting two on for Teixeira, who gets hit by a pitch to load them up for A-Rod.
You couldn't have scripted this setup better. A-Rod versus Pedro with the bases loaded in a potential clinching game of a World Series. This is what you play for.....
But he strikes out on a called third strike that sure looked outside -- and FOX's Pitch Trax thingie agrees with me. Sigh.
Now Matsui up with the bases jammed and two outs. The second pitch is ripped down the right-field line but only is foul by a foot. The next shot is up the middle for a two-run single that puts the Yanks ahead 4-1. WOOT!
Posada flies out to end it. It's time for dessert -- BBIAB.
Came back to discover that Damon's out with a strained right calf, Jerry Hairston Jr. replacing him in left field and batting second. That's not good. And apparently Pettitte got into trouble, aided by Joe West and his now-you-see-it-now-you-don't strike zone. Still, no damage, and it's still 4-1 Yankees in the bottom of the fourth. Cano flies out, Swisher strikes out, and Gardner lines out to Utley, who makes a fantastic jumping catch to end it.
Pettitte strikes out Francisco, then goes to 3-0 on Ruiz. I guess he doesn't want another triple. Sure enough, he walks him on a 3-1. Sigh. Rollins then is kind enough to ground into a DP to end it.
Sorry -- my father announced that now was the time for me to get a lift home. I'm now in my own living room instead of my parents'. Yanks now up 7-3 -- Jeter doubled, Tex got an RBI single, A-Rod was plunked by Pedro's last pitch of 2009, and then Godzilla hit a two-run double. He's driven in 6 of the 7 runs.
The Phils got two back on a two-run homer by Ryan Howard, which is a rare case of big-batness from Howard, who's been neutralized by the Yanks for most of the Series.
Pettitte gets two outs, then gives up a double to Raul Ibañez, which ends his night. Joba Chamberlain comes in and gets Pedro Feliz to ground out to end the sixth.
Swisher leads off the bottom of the sixth with a walk. After J.A. Happ strikes out Gardner, he's lifted for Chan Ho Park, who induces Jeter to force Swish at second, bringing Hairston to the plate. He flies out to end it.
I wonder if a World Series MVP has ever been given to a non-pitcher who only started half the games? Let's put it this way -- it is more likely that Matsui will win the MVP than he will hit for the cycle. If he does, by some miracle, get a triple, he'll be the first to hit for the cycle in a WS game. But given that his knees are purely theoretical, I doubt he has the oats to make a triple out of anything but a ball that gets stuck in the wall or something.....
THERE SHOULD NOT BE CHRISTMAS COMMERCIALS DURING THE WORLD FUCKING SERIES, DADGUMMIT!
What's more, those kids need to get off my lawn............
Joba back in to face Francisco, who strikes out swinging on a great slider. Carlos "Babe Ruth" Ruiz then singles. Rollins forces Ruiz at second for out #2. Victorino up, and to my surprise, Joba remains in -- I thought for sure Girardi would bring Damaso Marte in. Rollins then steals second -- Posada made a perfect throw to second, Rollins just beat it -- and Joba then walks Victorino, to bring Utley to the plate.
Now Marte is coming in to face the person who's hit best in this series. Yeesh.
Utley has already hit five home runs this WS, which ties the record set by Reggie Jackson in 1977 (which I remember watching as a kid). Now Marte is facing him with two on and a four-run lead. The good news is, the worst that will happen is that the Yanks' lead is cut to one run.
First two pitches are called strikes. Third pitch is a swinging strike that Utley couldn't hold up on.
That was probably the most important at-bat of Damaso Marte's entire life. Points to him for grabbing it by the balls.
Tex, A-Rod, and Godzilla in the seventh. I wonder if Matsui will get the triple here....
Tex strikes out on a fast ball up at the shoulder blades. A-Rod singles between Feliz and Rollins, which ends Park's evening. Scott Eyre comes in to give up Matsui's triple.
Matsui, unsurprisingly, gets a standing ovation when he's announced. Then he strikes out, obviously wanting to save his triple for the ninth inning rally. However, A-Rod steals second on strike three.
With a lefty on the mound and first base open, switch hitter Posada is walked to pitch to Cano who has a) sucked in the postseason and b) sucked all year with runners in scoring position. Sure enough, he strikes out to end it. Still 7-3 Yanks going into the eighth.
Marte stays in to face Howard. This makes sense, as Howard hits like Willie Mays against right-handers and like Willie Bloomquist against left-handers. Marte then throws his fourth, fifth, and sixth straight strikes to K Howard.
And that ends that. Giradi takes Marte out, and now it's time for "Enter Sandman." You thought Matsui got an ovation, it's as nothing compared to the reaction to Metallica on the PA system.
Mo strikes out Werth on a cutter.
I have to admit to being a little disappointed that Phil Hughes didn't get into this game, but I also can't blame Girardi for going to his best. This is the time to step on their necks, as it were.
Ibañez doubles over Gardner's head in center -- for some reason, Gardner was shallow. Weird. It winds up not mattering, as Feliz hits a foul pop up in front of the Yankee dugout that Posada catches easily to end it.
The Yanks are three outs away from World Championship #27.
In the bottom of the eighth, Eyre gets Swisher to ground out on a great barehand play by Feliz, and then Gardner grounds out to Utley. That's it for Eyre, as Charlie Manuel brings in Ryan Madson -- his best bullpen arm -- to face Jeter.
Jeter singles to right. Now we just need the next three batters to get on so Matsui can get his triple. Sadly, Hairson Jr. blows it by hitting a flare to right that Rollins is able to catch up to. These guys have no sense of teamwork......
Matt Stairs comes up to pinch hit for Francisco -- that's pretty much been his job this season, to hit for the weak-hitting folk in the late innings, and also to DH in games in AL parks -- works the count to 3-1 before hitting a monster foul to right and then lining out right to Jeter.
Two outs to go.
Ruiz, a fellow countryman of Mo's -- they're both from Panama -- face each other. Ruiz draws a walk -- he's been on base four times. Sheesh.
Now it's Jimmy Rollins. He predicted that the Phillies would win in five. He also now infamously claimed to have figured out how to hit Mo.
First pitch strike. Second pitch a flyout to right field. Guess he didn't see as many things as he thought.....
One out to go.
Strike one to Victorino.
Swinging strike two. Ruiz takes second. Nobody cares.
Foul ball. Another foul ball. And another. And yet another.
Ball inside. Full count. Victornio's not giving up, and points to him, but neither is Mo.
GROUND OUT TO CANO! WORLD CHAMPS! YESSSSSSSSSSSSS!
That was great. I am a happy Yankee fan.
All credit to the Philadelphia Phillies. The World Phucking Champions made a serious fight of it, and they made even a 7-3 game a nail biter.
But this is very very very very very sweet.
Edited to add: Hideki Matsui deservedly received the WS MVP. Go, go Godzilla!