For the first time in 26 post-season games, the Phillies have lost back-to-back games and are also trailing a series for the first time in two post-seasons. The Phillies - playing for the first time ever on Halloween - were tricked by Yankee starter Andy Pettitte, who came out weak and finished with a strong stretch to help the Yankees to an 8-5 win in Game Three.
Phillies starter Cole Hamels was on cruise control early, but started to fall apart in the fourth when the Yankees got a disputed two-run home run from Alex Rodriguez.
Rodriguez, who had been hitless coming into Game Three, hit a long fly ball to right that actually hit off of a FOX TV camera. The ground-rules state that the cameras are behind the fence and any ball that hits off of them are considered a home run. The problem is that the camera appeared to be on the field side of the fence. After a delay for a video review, the umpires declared the ball to be a home run, making it a 3-2 game.
"Because we cannot control what the cameraman does with the camera, one of the specific ground rules is when the ball hits the camera, home run," explained umpire Gerry Davis following the game.
Umpire Jeff Nelson admitted it was tough to tell exactly where the ball hit as the play developed. "In this particular play, the ball hit something hard, solid, and it was in my judgment it was the top of the fence. And then when Joe came out, Joe just said, 'We think it hit a fan.' I said, 'It didn't hit a fan, it hit something solid. But we'll talk about it.' We talked about it, and we decided to use the replay."
Whether the ball was out or not, things went down hill from there for Hamels.
Manager Charlie Manuel stressed his confidence in Hamels after the game. "I think at times he gets a little upset with himself, but as far as his mental toughness, he's mentally tough. He's definitely mentally tough," stressed Manuel.
Hamels made it through 4 1/3 innings before giving way to J.A. Happ in the fifth.
While Hamels struggled, the Phillies bullpen wasn't much better. Over the final 4 2/3 innings, the bullpen gave up three earned runs.
Offensively, the night belonged to Jayson Werth, who hit two home runs in the losing cause. Carlos Ruiz added a solo home run in the ninth off reliever Phil Hughes that brought the Phillies to within three and opened the bullpen door for closer Mariano Rivera to enter the game.
Rivera picked up his second save of the series with 2/3 of an inning.
The Phillies enter Game Four with Joe Blanton on the mound, going against Yankees ace CC Sabathia. Blanton made one start earlier in the post-season and made 31 starts for the Phillies during the regular season. The Phillies, behind Cliff Lee, beat Sabathia in Game One of the series at Yankees Stadium.