Philadelphia, PA (AP) - The Phillies do their job at home, protecting home field advantage thanks to clutch hitting and solid bullpen work to beat the Yankees 5-3 for the second night in a row.
Both games in the World Series have been played very tightly by both teams. Each has had to scratch and claw for everything they've gotten. However, the Phils have had just a little bit more, and it's been enough to get out to a two-nothing advantage heading for the Bronx.
"Taking care of our business at home was important for us," said shortstop Jimmy Rollins. "It's going to be a tough few games in New York, so we definitely wanted to make sure we got in front. Now, we know at the very worst, we're coming back here, and that's important."
Just like in Game One, the Yankees drew first blood. The difference was that they waited until the second inning to take the lead. The Captain, Derek Jeter put the Bronx Bombers on the scoreboard with a bomb of his own to right field.
The Phillies would bounce back in a big way in what would essentially become the decisive third inning. Carlos Ruiz got it started with a base hit up the middle. Cliff Lee did his job by sacrificing Ruiz to second. Then, Jimmy Rollins stepped to the plate. And, one of the leaders of this team did not disappoint. Rollins crushed a pitch from starter Phil Hughes to right field, and just like that, the Phillies were back in front 2-1.
|Fair by that much. Shane Victorino's double down the left field line proved to be the difference.
Philadelphia kept the pedal on the metal in that third inning, however. Placido Polanco drew a walk. Ryan Howard then picked up a two out single. Raul Ibanez knocked Polanco in with a single up the middle. And then, Shane Victorino lined a ball that just barely bounced in fair territory in left field. That 2 out double brought home Howard, and the Phillies were looking at a 4-1 lead.
"That was a big inning for us," said Phils Manager Charlie Manuel. "Not only to take the lead, but to tack on a couple more runs with two outs, that really set us up to take this one all the way home."
The Phillies scored three of their five runs with two outs and also finished the day 2-4 with runners in scoring position, once again coming up with big clutch hits when they were needed the most.
The Yanks did manage to chip away slowly but surely against Phillies starter Cliff Lee. In the fourth, Mark Teixeira continued his hot hitting, leading off with a double. The Captain stepped up once again, this time Jeter driving in Teixeira by way of an RBI single to cut Philly's lead in half.
Cliff Lee was still on the mound in the seventh, when Curtis Granderson stepped to the plate. He would send one over the wall to make it a one run lead. That would be it for Lee, who gave up 3 runs over 6.2 innings and struck out four.
|Ben Francisco provided some pop off the bench, hitting his first home run of the postseason to give the Phils a little more breathing room.
"He's just so unshakable," said catcher Carlos Ruiz. "it doesn't matter what's going on around him, he's always able to just concentrate and get those outs when we needed them. He didn't have his best stuff, but he really gutted it out and gave us some good innings."
The Yankees would put a scare in the Philly faithful in the 8th. With one out, Teixeira drew a walk and Jeter was able to get a two out hit to put the tying run in scoring position. But, Ryan Madson came on to get Jorge Posada to ground out and end the threat.
And, the Phillies took advantage of the missed opportunity in the top of the 8th by the Yankees to seize more momentum. With two outs in the bottom half of the inning, Ben Francisco came in to pinch hit, and he delivered in a big way. Francisco smacked a home run to left field to give the Phils a little bit of insurance.
Brad Lidge would come on in the 9th and shut the door once again, and just like that, the Phillies were up 2-0.
"We're off to a good start, no doubt," said Phils slugger Ryan Howard. "But, we've still got a lot of work to do. It's not over yet. As weird as it may sound, we're hoping we don't have to come home to Philly again, except to bring the World Series trophy with us. But again, there's still plenty to do."