Utley, Lee help Phils stave off Series elimination
PHILADELPHIA (AP) – By the ninth inning, Phillies fans were preparing for the worst.
The New York Yankees were at it again, chipping away at a dwindling lead and threatening to take away the Phils’ World Series title right there at Citizens Bank Park.
Desperate to hang on, somehow Chase Utley and the Phillies did. Derek Jeter grounded into a double play, Mark Teixeira struck out, and Philadelphia staved off the Yankees and elimination with an 8-6 win in Game 5 on Monday night.
Now comes the hard part: winning twice at Yankee Stadium.
Game 6 will be played Wednesday night, with New York’s Andy Pettitte going on short rest against Pedro Martinez, not exactly a beloved figure in the Bronx.
Utley hit two home runs to raise his Series total to a record-tying five, Cliff Lee won again and Philadelphia cut its deficit to 3-2.
“We didn’t have a choice. It was either go home and watch football and college basketball or extend the season,” Phillies shortstop Jimmy Rollins said.
Ahead 8-2, the Phillies watched New York score three times in the eighth inning and put its first two batters on in the ninth. Jeter’s grounder drove in a run, but the fans on their feet couldn’t exhale until Teixeira struck out as the tying run.
Utley hit a go-ahead, three-run homer in the first inning off A.J. Burnett and added a solo shot in the seventh to join Reggie Jackson as the only players to hit five home runs in a single World Series.
“Obviously it’s great company,” Utley said. “It’s pretty surreal.”
Philadelphia replicated its winning formula from the opener, when Utley hit two solo homers and Lee pitched a six-hitter. Raul Ibanez set off fireworks from the Liberty Bell one last time, adding a second solo shot in the seventh off Phil Coke that made it 8-2.
In a matchup of starters from Arkansas, Lee allowed five runs and seven hits in seven-plus innings. He is 4-0 with a 1.56 ERA in five postseason starts.
“I don’t think my command was as good as it has been,” Lee said. “I had to battle a little bit.”
Alex Rodriguez had put the Yankees ahead with an RBI double in the first and hit a two-run double in the eighth off Lee. He scored on Robinson Cano’s sacrifice fly against Chan Ho Park to cut the deficit to 8-5.
Jorge Posada clanked a double against the right-field wall leading off the ninth against Ryan Madson, and Hideki Matsui singled him to third.
Closer Brad Lidge was nowhere to be seen one night after his ninth-inning meltdown.
“I kind of wanted to just give Lidge a break tonight if I could,” Phillies manager Charlie Manuel said.
Madson fell behind Jeter 2-1, then induced a 6-4-3 double play as Posada scored. After Johnny Damon singled, Teixeira struck out.
“We definitely have the momentum,” said Madson, who got the save. “I didn’t care if they scored one or two, as long as they didn’t score three.”
The Yankees, who have won the Series all eight previous times they took a 3-1 lead, have two more tries to close out title No. 27.
“If we would have pitched today, we probably would have won,” Yankees manager Joe Girardi said. “That’s the bottom line.”
Pitching on short rest didn’t work well for Burnett, who had been 4-0 previously in his career on three days’ off and kept the Phillies off balance in Game 2. He kept falling behind batters and allowed six runs, four hits and four walks in two-plus innings, his shortest start since his first outing in 2007.
It marked the first time in 14 postseason games this year that a Yankees starter failed to pitch at least six innings.
“You just feel like you let a bunch of guys down,” Burnett said. “It’s the worst feeling in the world to have the chance to do something special and fail like that. But what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger.”
Philadelphia ended baseball’s record streak of five straight Series that ended in sweeps or five games, ensuring at least one more telecast in a matchup between big-market teams that has revived baseball’s ratings. The Phillies still face a tall task: The Yankees lost three in a row just twice after the All-Star break and dropped consecutive home games only once after mid-June.
Just six of 43 teams facing 3-1 Series deficits have gone on to win the title, including five in a row since Kansas City rallied past St. Louis in 1985.
But Pettitte and CC Sabathia, the Yankees’ Game 7 starter, will be pitching on short rest – Pettitte for the first time this year and Sabathia for the third time in the postseason.
If the Phillies come back to become the first NL team to win consecutive Series titles since the 1975-76 Cincinnati Reds, Girardi will be widely second-guessed for his pitching decisions. No Series champion has gone the entire postseason with just three starters since the 1991 Minnesota Twins – when there were just two rounds of playoffs.
New York will be without center fielder Melky Cabrera for the rest of the Series. Cabrera strained his left hamstring in Game 4 and was replaced on the roster by backup infielder Ramiro Pena as Brett Gardner took over in center field.
Philadelphia received a scare when center fielder Shane Victorino was hit with a pitch while squaring to bunt in the first. X-rays were negative but the finger swelled and he left after seven innings.
“Hitting was difficult. I couldn’t get my grip,” Victorino said. “A.J. apologized when I got to first, so it wasn’t retaliation, I can tell you that. Everything’s fine. I definitely feel great.”
While the Phillies have outhomered the Yankees 10-5 in the Series, Ryan Howard is slumping. He went 0 for 2 with two walks and two strikeouts and is hitting .158 (3 for 19) with 12 strikeouts, tying the Series record set by Kansas City’s Willie Wilson in 1980.
NOTES: Eric Hinske, who walked as a pinch-hitter for the Yankees in the fifth, homered for the Rays in last year’s Series. He appeared for Boston in the 2007 Series and joined Don Baylor (1986-88) as the only players to appear in three straight Series with three different teams.