Swisher continued to put his slump behind him, smacking a solo homer in the top of the sixth. Werth drove his second homer of the game out to left in the bottom of the inning and the score was 6-4. In the top of the seventh, Damon walked and stole second. Rodriguez was hit by a pitch and Posada singled to left, scoring Damon and giving the Yankees the 7-4 edge. Pinch hitting for Joba Chamberlain, in the top of the eighth, Hideki Matsui capped off the Bombers offense with a solo homer to left. With the score 8-4, Phil Hughes came out in the bottom of the ninth, but his playoff struggles continued as he gave up a home run to Carlos Ruiz. Mariano Rivera came in, getting Matt Stairs to ground out and Rollins to pop out to end the game.
Hughes: Girardi keeps giving Hughes chances to redeem himself, but appears to have him on a short leash. In .1 inning, Hughes gave up one run on one hit. He is 0-1 with an ERA of 10.80 in eight games during the 2009 Playoffs. He has given up ten hits and six runs in five innings.
Robinson Cano/Melky Cabrera: Both went 0-4 with two strikeouts. Cano stranded three runners while Melky stranded one.
Pettitte: Despite an ugly second inning, Pettitte fought off a rain delay and tough Philly crowds to give the Yankees a solid start. In six innings, Pettitte gave up five hits for four runs, striking out seven and walking three. Andy even contributed on the offensive end, driving a nice RBI single into center to tie the game.
Swisher: After a game on the bench, Swisher came back swinging. He went 2-4 with a double and a home run. He had two runs scored and a RBI. He made Girardi look like a genius.
Bullpen (except Hughes): Joba Chamberlain and Damaso Marte each pitched an inning of scoreless hitless baseball. Marte also picked up two strikeouts. Rivera also pitched scoreless hitless baseball for .2 innings.
Is anyone else tired of all the controversy surrounding this year’s playoffs? We have had terrible double play calls and terrible no calls, prompting many in the media and blogosphere to rethink expansion of instant replay. Now we have a controversial call despite the use of instant replay. In the first reviewed call in World Series history, Alex Rodriguez managed to drive a homerun off a camera just above the fence in right field. The initial call was that the hit was not a home run, but after review the umpires changed their ruling and the Yankees were within one run of the Phillies.
Before the game, the umpiring crew did a tour of Citizens Bank Park and determined that in the unlikely event that a ball did hit that camera, they would rule it a home run. As we have all learned, nothing is unlikely when Alex Rodriguez is involved. Apparently, the camera was out of place, however, the umpiring crew stuck with their earlier decision on how to call a ball hit off of it. The camera will be elsewhere for the game tonight, in an attempt to minimize controversy. Meanwhile, A-Rod has the distinction of being the first player to ever have a home run reviewed by instant replay (when the Yankees played at Tropicana Field last September) and the first player to ever have one reviewed in the World Series.
In Praise of Girardi:
As many of us have harangued many of Girardi’s decisions during the playoffs, it is only fair to point out some smart moves he made last night. First, after benching Nick Swisher for Game 2 due to his slumping offense, he returned the outfielder to the lineup in Game 3. Swisher proved his manager right, hitting a double and a homer. Girardi also decided against putting Matsui in the outfield, choosing instead to pinch hit him for Joba Chamberlain in the eighth. Godzilla returned the favor with a solo home run. In fact, you can’t even blame Girardi for the one mistake he made, putting in Phil Hughes. He gave the reliever another opportunity to prove himself in the playoffs and pulled him out as soon as it was clear Phil still has some issues to work out.
In the On Deck Circle:
Tonight, the Fall Classic pits CC Sabathia against Joe Blanton. CC will be pitching on short rest, after losing Game 1 despite a strong performance. CC gave up two solo homers to Chase Utley in that outing, but looked solid otherwise. Charlie Manuel opted to give the ball to Joe Blanton Sunday, letting Cliff Lee get his full rest for Game 5. Blanton does not have good numbers against the Bronx Bombers, going 0-3 in four starts, with an 8.18 ERA. He last faced them in June 2008. The first pitch will be at 8:20pm in Philadelphia.