After a late start it was a good Halloween in Philadelphia if you’re a Yankee fan:
PHILADELPHIA — After the fifth inning of Game 3 of the World Series on Saturday, the Phillie Phanatic cavorted on the field at Citizens Bank Park with a band of monsters and goblins. A man in a Yankees jersey strolled by, and suddenly, the mascot and his crew cowered in fear, rushing off the field.
The holiday gag, of course, was that the mere sight of the Yankees was hideous enough to scare away a pack of ghouls. But for the Philadelphia Phillies, the joke hit too close to home. The real Yankees were all too frightening, seizing a two-games-to-one lead in the World Series behind Andy Pettitte’s 8-5 victory, bruising Cole Hamels and battering the bullpen.
It is the first time in the last two postseasons that the Phillies have trailed in games. Last year at this point, they were ahead, 2-1, and preparing to face the Tampa Bay Rays’ Andy Sonnanstine in Game 4. Now they are staring down the Yankees’ ace, C. C. Sabathia.
“They’ve got C. C., but oh well,” said the Phillies’ Shane Victorino. “We got him in Game 1. Why can’t we do it again?”
It was meant as a rhetorical question, but the answer is obvious: the Phillies’ ace, Cliff Lee, faced Sabathia in Game 1. Now Joe Blanton will face him in Game 4, just as the Yankees’ offense is warming up.
The Yankees had homers from Alex Rodriguez, Nick Swisher and Hideki Matsui on Saturday, and pivotal doubles by Swisher and Johnny Damon. But the hit that pulled them even was a single by Pettitte in the fifth inning. And that was not his least likely accomplishment.
There seemed no way Pettitte would last long after he made 52 pitches through two innings. But he managed to throw just 52 more in the next four innings, and the Phillies collected only two hits after the second.
“It was tough,” Pettitte said. “I’m not going to lie to you, I couldn’t put the ball where I wanted to. I wasn’t getting it down and away consistently like I wanted to, and I wasn’t able to throw my curveball for strikes. It was an absolute grind tonight.”
Fortunately, Pettitte said, the Phillies had three left-handers in their lineup who could not handle his cutter. Those hitters — Chase Utley, Ryan Howard and Raul Ibanez — went 0 for 9 off Pettitte and 0 for 12 in the game. Howard has nine strikeouts in the World Series, just three shy of Willie Wilson’s 1980 record
The Alex Rodriguez home run was the most interesting because it involved a first for baseball — the use of instant replay in a post-season game:
PHILADELPHIA (AP) — Alex Rodriguez has one more reason to love the camera.
His disputed drive into the right-field corner, originally ruled a double, was changed into a two-run homer when video technology was used to reverse a call for the first time in World Series history.
“Well, it’s only fitting, right?” Rodriguez said.
He also homered in the first regular-season use of replay last year. This one struck the lens of a TV camera positioned above the wall at Citizens Bank Park and sparked the Yankees to an 8-5 victory Saturday night and a 2-1 Series lead.
Rodriguez’ opposite-field shot came with the Yankees trailing Philadelphia 3-0 in the fourth inning. It was his first-ever World Series hit.
Mark Teixeira was on first base with one out when Rodriguez sent an 0-1 fastball down the line off 2008 World Series MVP Cole Hamels, who at first thought A-Rod had popped up. The ball carried and bounded back on the field. Rodriguez stopped at second base, with Teixeira holding at third.
“The ball hit something hard, solid,” right field umpire Jeff Nelson said. “In my judgment it was the top of the fence.”
A-Rod signaled home run with his hand, and Yankees manager Joe Girardi came out to talk to the umpires.
“Our coaches started yelling they thought it hit the camera,” he said. “My eyes aren’t great, so it was hard for me to see.”
Umpires convened and then went inside to check replays as Rodriguez spoke with Phillies first baseman Ryan Howard, who had trailed him to second on the play. About 1 minute later, they emerged and signaled home run, bringing New York within a run and prompting booing from the crowd.
Baseball spokesman Pat Courtney said umpires looked at the view from the camera that was hit.
“It looked like the camera was out over the fence,” Phillies manager Charlie Manuel said. “The umpire told me that before the game that they talked about that, and if it hit the camera that it was going to be a home run.”
But Manuel said that if the umpires discussed that among themselves, they failed to notify the Phillies.
“We tour the field during the Series whenever we go to a new ballpark and discuss specific ground rules and potential trouble areas, just like that,” crew chief Gerry Davis said. “Because we cannot control what the cameraman does with the camera, one of the specific ground rules is when the ball hits the camera: home run.”
Seems to me like they got the call right.
And, oh yea, Go Yankees !