Sunday, November 1, 2009

Swisher, Pettitte Lead Yanks to Game 3 Victory, Lead Series, 2-1

Players of the Day for Saturday, October 31, 2009 NY Yankees 8, Philadelphia Phillies 5 Just when it seemed the Phillies had Andy Pettitte and the Yankees on the ropes, Alex Rodriguez changed Game 3 into a runaway for the boys from Gotham. Pettitte was touched up for 3 runs in the 2nd inning on a Jayson Werth solo homer, a bases-loaded walk to Jimmy Rollins and a Shane Victorino sac fly, but in the top of the 4th, with Mark Teixeira on first base, Alex Rodriguez launched a high fly down the right field line that at first glance seemed to bounce high off the wall for a double, advancing Teixeira to third. Standing on second base, Rodriguez motioned to the umpires and manager Joe Girardi that his shot was actually a home run, and, when the umps checked the tape - which was playing over and over again on the big screens at Citizen Bank Park - sure enough, A-Rod's ball had caromed off a TV camera protruding slightly over the wall near the right field foul pole. They ruled that the hit was a homer as they had discussed prior to the game that any ball hitting the camera would be a home run. Tex and A-Rod trotted home with the first 2 runs for New York. With Pettitte settled down, the Yankees went to work, scoring 3 more in the 5th and adding single runs in each of the 6th, 7th and 8th innings. Besides Rodriguez, the main catalyst for the Yankees was Nick Swisher, who came into the series batting just a shade over .100 in the post season. Swisher doubled and scored in the 5th and belted a solo homer to left field in the 6th as the Yankees built their lead. Pettitte took the win, his 17th career post-season victory, the most by any player all-time and also drove in the tying run in the 5th with a bloop double. Cole Hamels, the MVP of last year's World Series, was the loser, mostly due to his odd pitching behavior, suddenly switching to curve balls - which Yankee batters hammered - in the 4th inning after keeping them check with his slider and fast ball over the first three. Jayson Werth homered twice for the Phillies, both solo shots, as the Phillies tallied their 5 runs on just 6 hits. Werth has 7 post-season homers. Meanwhile, the big thumper batting in front of him, Ryan Howard, has just 2 hits in 13 series' at-bats (.154), and has struck out 9 times over the three-game span. Game 4 is scheduled to start at 7:57 pm ET in Philadelphia, with Game 1 starter, C.C. Sabathia going up the hill for the Yankees on three days rest. The Phillies will start Joe Blanton, who hasn't pitched since October 19, Game 4 of the NLCS, when he allowed 3 earned runs over 6 innings to the LA Dodgers and did not earn a decision. The Phillies won that game, 5-4.

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