Nasty A.J. Dominates Phils, Series Even at One

aj-burnettA.J. Burnett is one of baseball’s nastiest pitchers and he brought his nasty stuff to the mound for game two versus the Phils, against Pedro Martinez.  Philadelphia jumped out to an early 2nd inning lead when Matt Stairs’ single(?) under the glove of Alex Rodriguez plated Raul Ibanez, who’d doubled to left with 2 outs.  It seemed more like an aberration, rather than a sign of things to come.  A.J. is either on or off and he looked on from the start in this one.

Mark Teixeira took a Pedro pitch over the centerfield fence leading off the top of the 4th and the game was knotted at one.  Godzilla, or Shemp if you prefer, Hideki Matsui drove one out to right in the 6th, giving New York the 2-1 advantage.  Down by a run, Charlie Manuel allowed Martinez to pitch to Jerry Hairston, Jr., and the second guessing began when JH2 hit a soft single to right.  Joe Girardi jumped on this opportunity by inserting pinch runner Brett Gardner at first.  Gardner went to 3rd on a Melky Cabrera hit to right (for sure Pedro shouldn’t have been allowed to pitch to Melky, but perhaps Manuel was thinking a bunt was in order).  That was it for Pedro, when Jorge Posada was announced as the pinch hitter for Jose Molina.  Jorge’s single to center off Chan Ho Park gave the Yankees a little insurance now up 3-1.

It seemed insurmountable with A.J. dealing on the mound for the Yanks, and it was.  Burnett allowed only 4 hits over 7 innings, striking out 9, before giving way to Mariano Rivera for the two inning save.  This game was a pivotal one for the Series, if Philly had won the first two in New York, it would’ve been very tough for the Yankees to comeback.  But now with the series at one win apiece, the home field advantage was gone, but the Phillies would need to win three straight in the city of brotherly love in order to maintain that advantage.

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