PHILADELPHIA – In a season filled with comeback wins, the New York Yankees completed their most important late victory yet – with Alex Rodriguez at the center of it all.
A-Rod’s two-out double to left in the ninth scored Johnny Damon with the go-ahead run, and Jorge Posada’s two-run single – both off Phillies closer Brad Lidge – brought the Yankees one win away from their 27th world championship.
Mariano Rivera quickly finished off an improbable 7-4 Yankees’ victory at stunned Citizens Bank Park, where a sellout crowd had just celebrated Pedro Feliz’s game-tying, eighth-inning homer off Joba Chamberlain.
Making his first appearance in the Series, Lidge got two quick outs in the ninth before Damon – on a gritty nine-pitch at-bat – singled to left. Then things got really weird.
With the right-side shift on Mark Teixeira, Damon stole second, got up and raced to an unoccupied third base; he was credited with two steals on the play.
“I’m just glad when I started running I still had those young legs behind me,” Damon said. “By getting to third base, that takes away a tough slider in the dirt (for a potential wild pitch); one I may be able to score on.
“(Alex) is the reason we’re sitting here. Without him, who knows when our road would have stopped? He’s been driving us through the playoffs.”
Teixeira was hit by a pitch, and A-Rod untied the game with his 15th RBI of the postseason.
That tied a Yankees record shared by Bernie Williams (’96) and Scott Brosius (’98).
On three days’ rest, CC Sabathia restlessly navigated through six innings, charged with three runs. Chase Utley had connected on another Series homer off the lefty ace, cutting the Yankees’ lead to a single run in the seventh inning and putting a charge back into the sellout crowd.
Sabathia’s evening ended after Utley concluded his trot around the bases.
“This is a very tough lineup to navigate through,” said Yanks manager Joe Girardi. “I thought he gave a gutsy performance.
“I felt all year long this team has been extrememly resilient. (Tonight), all I’m thinking about is to go out and play a good game and see where we’re at.”
Damaso Marte continued his renaissance postseason, striking out Ryan Howard after the home run to end the inning.
Yankees 7, Phillies 4
E—Posada (1), Ibanez (1). LOB—New York 7, Philadelphia 7. 2B—Damon (2), A.Rodriguez (1), Victorino (1), Utley (1). HR—Utley (3); P.Feliz (1). RBIs—Jeter (1), Damon (3), Teixeira (2), A.Rodriguez (3), Posada 3 (5), Utley 2 (4), P.Feliz 2 (2). SB—Damon 2 (3), Howard (1). SF—Posada. RLSP—New York 3; Philadelphia 4. RMU—Teixeira, C.Ruiz
|Chamberlain W,1-0 BS,1-1||1||1||1||1||0||3||4.50|
IBB—off Sabathia (Werth, C.Ruiz). HBP—Teixeira, A.Rodriguez.T—3:25. A—46,145 (43,647).