Nick Swisher led off the top of the fifth with a walk. Melky Cabrera singled and CC Sabathia struck out on a foul bunt for the first out. Jeter singled to left, scoring Swisher. A RBI single by Damon gave the Pinstripes a 4-2 lead. The Phillies would not go down easily, however. With two outs in the seventh, CC gave up a solo homer to Chase Utley, bringing Philadelphia within one. Marte came in for Sabathia and got Howard to fly out. Joba Chamberlain came in for the eighth inning and got Jayson Werth and Raul Ibanez to strike out. He was one pitch away from sending Pedro Feliz packing, when the Phillies’ third baseman drove a game-tying solo home run out to left field. Joba came back to strike out Carlos Ruiz to end the inning, but the damage was done.
Phillies closer Brad Lidge came in to pitch the ninth and he got Matsui and Jeter out. Damon drove a single to left field and then proceeded to make one of the most jaw dropping plays I have seen on the base paths. Recognizing the shift on for Mark Teixeira, Damon rounded second despite the ball being thrown to Pedro Feliz just steps behind him. Damon sprinted ahead of Feliz to the wide open third base and completed a two-base steal on one pitch. The gutsy and surprising move appeared to throw Brad Lidge, who hit Mark Teixeira with a pitch. Alex Rodriguez stepped up and drove a RBI double to left, putting the Yankees ahead once again. Posada followed with a two-run single and the Yankees held the 7-4 lead going into the bottom of the ninth. Mariano Rivera came out and did his job and the Yankees took the 3-1 advantage in the World Series.
Teixeira: Mark went 0-4 and scored a run. He has played some great defense, but his bat has been practically non-existent during the playoffs.
Sabathia’s bunting: CC is known to be a decent hitting pitcher. It was pretty evident in the fifth that he has not spent a lot of time bunting, hardly a shock to anyone I’m sure. He kept dropping the top of his bat and the ball went foul. So why – and I find it hard to believe this was CC’s decision – would Girardi still have him bunting with two strikes? Derek Jeter could have told him that was a bad idea.
Damon: Without a doubt Damon’s double steal was the game-changing play. Damon also went 3-5 with a RBI and scoring two runs.
Jeter: The Captain got things started when he started the game with a single. He went 2-4 with a RBI and a run scored.
Rodriguez: With two outs in a tie game and runners on first and third in the bottom of the ninth, A-Rod drove the ball to left to give the Yankees the lead. How is that for clutch?
Game 4 Notes:
- Alex Rodriguez was hit by a pitch in the first inning, the third time he’s been hit in two games. FOX even played a clip of A-Rod saying to the umpire that it was the third time and it seemed like it must be intentional. The umpires then decided to warn both benches, taking away any chance for CC Sabathia to protect his players by sending a message to Philly. This did not seem fair, and while I can appreciate the umpires trying to keep a game under control – the Yankees have taken their lumps pretty well, I think the Phillies deserved to get a few. I definitely give A-Rod credit for not rushing the mound like some players might have (Kevin Youkilis, I’m looking at you).
- Alex Rodriguez has 15 RBIs in the postseason, tying him with Scott Brosius (1998) and Bernie Williams (1996) for most RBIs in a single postseason by a Yankee.
- The Yankees battled against a lot to comeback in this game. The tough Philly crowd, CC on short rest and an erratic strikezone that saw a lot of Yankees strike out looking on questionable strikes.
- Ryan Howard scored without touching home plate. This could easily have become another big story about the poor umpiring during the playoffs, but the Damon steal seems to have brushed it to the side. It was still Posada’s fault for not holding onto the ball, but I still have to say that I was amazed at how Howard managed to miss the plate.
- This season the Yankees have won 31 of 44 (.705) games decided by the bullpens (meaning neither starter factors into the decision), which was the best winning percentage in the majors. The Dodgers came in a distant second with a .604 percentage. (Elias Sports Bureau)
- Chase Utley’s third homer off CC Sabathia puts him in interesting company. Yogi Berra is the only other player to hit three World Series homers off the same pitcher. Yogi did it off Don Newcombe in 1956. (Elias Sports Bureau)
- If Joba had not made one bad pitch to Feliz, we would all be heralding the return of the old Joba. You take that one pitch away and he looked really good last night.
- The Yankees have handed big losses to Joe Nathan, Brian Fuentes and now Brad Lidge during the Playoffs. Makes you appreciate Mariano Rivera a little more, doesn’t it?
- Damon’s double steal continues to amaze me. It was a heads up and gutsy move. Pedro Feliz was probably only a step or two away, but having caught the ball facing away from Damon, it appears that Johnny had just enough time to start heading to third before becoming dead in the base paths. When it first happened I thought Damon had somehow figured that the ball had been thrown into the outfield, but clearly this was something Damon was thinking about. He took a chance, but it paid off and put the Yankees in position for a very big win.
In the On Deck Circle:
The Yankees will try to capture their 27th World Series title tonight in Philly. AJ Burnett will pitch on short rest against Philadelphia’s Game 1 starter, Cliff Lee. Lee dominated the Yankee lineup, giving up six hits and no earned runs in a complete game 6-1 victory over the Yankees. AJ pitched a beauty of a game in his last outing. He gave up one run on four hits over seven innings. In four games on short rest, Burnett is 4-0 with a 2.33 ERA. First pitch is at 7:57 at Citizens Bank Park.
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