Monday, November 2, 2009

Yankees Rally in 9th, Put Series on Brink

Players of the Day for Sunday, November 1, 2009 NY Yankees 7, Philadelphia Phillies 4 With one more win, the NY Yankees will become the 2009 World Champions, their first claim to such a title since 2000, when they beat the Mets, 4 games to 1. The Yanks could produce a similar result when they take the field in Game 5, Monday night in Philly. The critical moment in Game 4 came in the top of the 9th inning, with the score tied at 4-4. Solo homer by Chase Utley in the 7th and Pedro Feliz in the 8th set the stage as the Phillies rallied from a 4-2 deficit. With Brad Lidge on the mound for the Phillies, seemingly in control after getting Hideki Matsui and Derek Jeter for the first two outs, Johnny Damon (left) stroked a clean single to left field. Damon's hit was no big deal by itself, but it brought Mark Teixeira to the plate. A dead pull hitter, the Phillies swung their infielders around toward first base, with second baseman Utley playing a rover-like position in short right field and all but third baseman Feliz on the 1st base side of second. With Teixeira taking all the way, Damon broke for second and easily swiped the bag on a one-hop throw from catcher Carlos Ruiz. He popped right up and took off for third, which, due to the shift, was unattended, allowing Damon to take the base uncontested. Feliz had actually collected the throw from Ruiz and chased Damon for a few steps before giving up. Lidge, clearly rattled, hit Teixeira with his next pitch, and then gave up the biggest hit of the series, when Alex Rodriguez lashed a double down the left field line, scoring Damon and leaving Teixeira on third and A-Rod on 2nd base. Jorge Posada stroked a single to left center, plating both of his teammates before being thrown out trying to advance to 2nd. The rest of the script is easy. The Yankees brought in Mariano Rivera to pitch the 9th inning, and the Sandman retired the deflated Phillies in order for the 7-4 win and his 2nd save of the series. He also set a record with his 23rd appearance, passing another Yankee, Whitey Ford. Game 5 is on for Monday night at Citizen Bank Park in Philadelphia. Yankee A.J. Burnett will start against the Phillies' Game 1 hero, Cliff Lee. Lee pitched a complete-game, 6-hitter for a 6-1 Philly win. Since then, they've lost three straight. One more and it's over. Only 6 teams have ever come back from a 3-1 deficit. The last time it happened was in 1985, when the KC Royals took the final three games from the St. Louis Cardinals. Of the 42 teams which have had 3-1 leads in the world Series, 36 have gone on to capture the title.

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