I watched tonight’s 8-5 from Blondie’s on Manhattan’s Upper West Side. Surrounded by Yankee fans, we were dejected when the Yanks fell behind early, elated with the three-run 5th inning and generally clapped for every two-strike count and sang along with Frank Sinatra after Mariano Rivera induced a weak pop-up off the bat of Jimmy Rollins for out number 27. With that win tonight, the Yanks grabbed a 2-1 World Series win and become the first team to win two games against the Phillies in a playoff series since the 2007 NLDS.
For the Yanks, this one got off to a slow start. Cole Hamels seemed to have his fastball, change-up and control working. The Yanks went down in order in the first, and their only baserunners through three innings came through an A-Rod hit-by-pitch and a Jorge Posada fielder’s choice. Andy Pettitte meanwhile had his problems. He needed 51 pitches to get through three innings and found himself on the wrong end of a 3-0 game.
For Pettitte, the righties tonight were the problem. The lefties couldn’t touch him, but he had his fair share of problems getting the Phillies’ right-handed hitters out. Jayson Werth belted two no-doubters, and Pettitte walked Jimmy Rollins with the bases loaded to force in a run in that awful third. But Pettitte settled down, and the Yanks’ bat showed up.
The first sign of life from the Yanks’ offense came from A-Rod in the fourth. Suffering through an 0-for-8 World Series spell, A-Rod hit a screamer down the right field line. The ball stayed fair and hit off of a camera absurdly placed above the wall in fair territory. After an instant replay review, A-Rod’s shot was ruled a home run, and the Yanks had cut the Phils’ lead to just a run.
An inning later, after Pettitte pitched around an A-Rod error, the bats showed up. Nick Swisher, coming off of a mental vacation in Game 2, doubled to left, and although Melky Cabrera struck out on a nasty pitch, Andy Pettitte hit a looper to center. Swisher was running with the hit and scored the tying run. Derek Jeter singled, and then Johnny Damon lined a two-run double into right-center field. The Yanks had a lead, and they wouldn’t give it back. After a Mark Teixeira walk, Cole Hamels would exit the game. Afterward, he would say that he “can’t wait until  is over. It’s been mentally draining.”
Over the next few innings, Andy persevered. He wasn’t at his best, but he made it work. He retired the Phillies in order in the 5th, and Nick Swisher homered in the 6th. Although Jayson Werth answered with his own home run in the 6th, Andy K’d Raul Ibañez and Pedro Felix. Eric Bruntlett, batting for the first time in nearly a month, flew out to end the inning.
Over the next few innings, the Yanks would add a pair. Jorge Posada blooped a single to drive home the Yanks’ 7th run. In the 7th, Joba Chamberlain looked great retiring the top third of the Phillies’ order, and Hideki Matsui launched a pinch hit home run to give the Yanks a four-run lead. In the 8th, the real Damaso Marte showed up. He fanned Howard on a 95-mph fastball, struck out Werth and retired Ibañez on a line out.
After a quick 9th, Phil Hughes came in with a four-run lead. Pedro Felix grounded out, but Hughes threw two high fastballs to Carlos Ruiz. Chooch is a high fastball hitter, and the second fastball ended up on the wrong side of the left field wall. The Phillies had cut the lead, but the Yanks brought in Mariano. It wasn’t a save, but five pitches later, the game was over. Matt Stairs grounded out, and Jimmy Rollins, the man who predicted the Phillies would win in five games, popped out to A-Rod.
With that out, the Yanks grabbed a 2-1 lead, and they guaranteed that, at worst, the World Series will return to the Bronx. CC Sabathia will face Joe Blanton tonight at 8:20 p.m., and the Yankees are feeling pretty good right now. On Halloween, I went as a Yankee fan watching Game 3 of the World Series, and I was not disappointed.