If a pitcher could ever make pitching in game one of the World Series look
fun and easy, it's Cliff Lee. The left-hander struck out ten Yankees - nine of
them on a swing and miss - and didn't allow an earned run in throwing a nine
inning masterpiece. His performance was so good, that he even pushed a two home
run night by Chase Utley slightly out of the foreground in the Phillies 6-1 win
over the Yankees.
Lee, who now boasts a 3-0, 1.08 record in his first postseason, was touched
for just one unearned run that came in the bottom of the ninth on a throwing
error by Jimmy Rollins. The middle of the Yankees lineup was a combined 1-for-12
(.083) with seven strikeouts - three by Alex Rodriguez - against Lee. Through
the first eight innings, Lee allowed just four hits and didn't walk a batter. He
out-dueled his former teammate and good friend, CC Sabathia, to give the
Phillies a 1-0 lead in the series and swing home field advantage to the Phillies
side of the ledger.
Meanwhile, it looked like Utley would single-handedly provide the Phillies
offense for the night as he swatted solo home runs in both the third and sixth
innings to give the Phillies a 2-0 lead. Once Sabathia left, the Phillies
started to do some damage against a young Yankees bullpen and a two-run single
by Raul Ibanez with the bases loaded pushed the Phillies lead to 4-0. At that
point all of the Phillies run-producing hits had come with two strikes on the
hitter. Ibanez' single helped ease the pain that he inflicted on himself in the
first inning when he grounded out with the bases loaded to end the inning. The
Phillies added two insurance runs in the ninth when a Carlos Ruiz double and a
Jimmy Rollins single put runners on first and third with one out. Shane Victorino then singled to score Ruiz and later in the inning, Ryan Howard
doubled to score Rollins. On the play, Victorino was thrown out at the plate
when he tried to score from first, but a strong throw from Nick Swisher nailed
him at the plate to end the inning.
|Chase Utley launches the first of his two solo home runs off CC Sabathia in game one of the World Series. The Phillies won 6-1 and now hold home field advantage in the best-of-seven series.|
(Photo: Jim McIsaac/Getty Images)
Cliff Lee came out to start the ninth, even though he had already passed the
100 pitch mark and the Phillies had Ryan Madson set to go in the bullpen. Things
started off shaky with a Derek Jeter bloop single to center, that fell just in
front of a sliding Victorino. Jeter went to second on a Johnny Damon single,
which accounted for Damon's first hit of the night and came off Lee, who has
held Damon to an .091 average through his career. Manager Charlie Manuel decided
to stick with Lee to face Mark Teixeira and it seemed to work when Teixeira hit
a roller through the middle that Utley fielded and shoveled to Rollins, who
stepped on second and forced an off-balance throw to first that wound up in the
dugout, allowing Jeter to score. With a runner on second and one out, Lee roared
back and struck out both Rodriguez and Posada to end the game and his 122 pitch
Lee also made a dazzling defensive play with a behind-the-back grab on a
ground ball by Robinson Cano to leadoff the eighth inning after earlier making a
nonchalant play on a little pop-up back to the mound off the bat of Damon.
Sabathia allowed just two earned runs over seven innings and the Yankees'
bullpen gave up four earned runs over the final two innings. The Phillies were
patient enough at the plate to scratch out three walks from Sabathia and push
his pitch count up quickly. Over his seven innings, Sabathia threw 113 pitches.
The loss is the first time that a Yankees team has lost game one of the World
Series. And if you rely on history, the past six game one winners have all gone
on to win the World Series.
Game two will feature A.J. Burnett going against Pedro Martinez. Then, the
series takes an off-day on Friday before coming to Philadelphia for game three
on Saturday, which features Cole Hamels going against Andy Pettitte. The
pitching match-up for game four on Sunday hasn't been announced. If the series
goes longer than four games, game five would be in Philadelphia on Monday night
before games six and seven would be played back at Yankee Stadium.