NEW YORK – Paint the town in pinstripes! Nearly a decade after their dynasty ended on a blooper in the desert, the New York Yankees are baseball’s best again.
Hideki Matsui tied a World Series record with six RBIs, Andy Pettitte won on short rest and New York beat the Philadelphia Phillies 7-3 in Game 6 on Wednesday night, finally seizing that elusive 27th title – the most in all of sports.
It was the team’s first since winning three straight from 1998-2000.
“It feels better than I remember it,” Derek Jeter said. “It’s been a long time.”
Matsui, the Series MVP, powered a quick rout of old foe Pedro Martinez. And when Mariano Rivera got the final out, it was ecstasy in the Bronx for George Steinbrenner’s go-for-broke bunch.
What a way for Alex Rodriguez and Co. to christen their $1.5 billion ballpark: One season, one championship.
It certainly ended a lot better than it started – with a steroids scandal involving A-Rod, followed by hip surgery that kept him out until May.
“My teammates, coaches and the organization stood by me and now we stand here as world champions,” said Rodriguez, who admitted using steroids from 2001-03 while with Texas. “We’re going to enjoy it, and we’re going to party!”
For Chase Utley and the Phillies, it was a frustrating end to another scintillating season. Philadelphia fell two wins short of becoming the first N.L. team to repeat as World Series champions since the 1975-76 Cincinnati Reds.
Utley tied Reggie Jackson’s record with five home runs in a Series. But Ryan Howard’s sixth-inning homer came too late to wipe away his World Series slump, and Phillies pitchers rarely managed to slow Matsui and the Yankees’ machine.
“I told them that I loved the way they played. We’re fighters and never quit,” Philadelphia manager Charlie Manuel said.
In a fitting coincidence, this title came eight years to the day that the Yankees lost Game 7 of the 2001 World Series in Arizona on Luis Gonzalez’s broken-bat single off Rivera.
Steinbrenner spent billions trying to win another Series. At long last, his team did.
Fittingly, it was dedicated to the 79-year-old owner, who has been in declining health and didn’t make the trip from his home in Tampa, Fla.
“The Yankees won.
“The world is right again,” team president Randy Levine said.
For the Four Amigos, it was ring No. 5.
Jorge Posada, Jeter, Pettitte and Rivera came up together through the minors and were cornerstones for those four titles in five years starting in 1996. Now, all on the other side of age 35, they have another title to celebrate.
New York’s stretch of eight seasons without a title was the third-longest for the team since its first one, following gaps of 17 (1979-95) and 14 (1963-76).
Yankees 7, Phillies 3
|Hairston Jr. lf||2||0||0||0||0||0||.167|
LOB—Philadelphia 8, New York 7. 2B—Ibanez 2 (4), Jeter (3), H.Matsui (1). 3B—C.Ruiz (1). HR—Howard (1), off Pettitte; H.Matsui (3), off P.Martinez. RBIs—Rollins (2), Howard 2 (3), Teixeira (3), H.Matsui 6 (8). SB—Rollins (3), A.Rodriguez (1). S—Hairston Jr.. SF—Rollins. RLISP—Philadelphia 6 (P.Feliz 4, Utley, Victorino); New York 3 (Posada, Cano 2). GIDP—Rollins, Utley. DP—New York 2 (Cano, Jeter, Teixeira), (A.Rodriguez, Cano, Teixeira).
|P.Martinez L, 0-2||4||3||4||4||2||5||6.30|
|Pettitte W, 2-0||5 2/3||4||3||3||5||3||5.40|
|D.Marte H, 2||2/3||0||0||0||0||2||0.00|
IR-S—Happ 2-2, Park 1-0, S.Eyre 1-0, Chamberlain 1-0, D.Marte 2-0. IBB—off S.Eyre (Posada). HBP—by P.Martinez (Teixeira). WP—Pettitte. PB—Posada. T—3:52. A—50,315 (52,325).