Bronx, NY (AP) - Roy Halladay pitched 8 strong innings and the offense came through when it needed to, allowing the Phillies to bust out the champagne and celebrate their second world championship in four years, after eliminating the Yankees with a 7-3 victory in Game Five.
"I'm just so proud of our guys," said Manager Charlie Manuel. "We battled through so much all season long, and every challenge that was thrown our way, we met in a big way."
"This is what it's all about," said shortstop Jimmy Rollins. "This is the goal, when you start up in Florida in February. This is what you reach for, what you dream for every single day. To achieve it, there's no feeling like it!"
Rollins was one of the key cogs, not only in this game, but throughout the World Series. He had 4 home runs and 8 runs batted in, and was named MVP. His two run home run in the sixth gave the Phils a 5-2 lead at the time and turned out to be the game winner.
|Roy Halladay was on fire to start the game, striking out Gardner, Cano, Teixeira and Rodriguez in succession.
The other key cog was starter Roy Halladay. The Phillies signed him two years ago for this moment, and he certainly came through. Halladay set the tone early, striking out the first four Yankees batters and kept them at bay most of the game. He ended up going 8 innings, striking out 9 and giving up just the three earned runs. It was his fifth win of the post season.
"Roy was just as much the most valuable player in the playoffs as any other Phillies player," said battery mate Carlos Ruiz. "He won every time we gave him the ball. He was dominant when we needed him to be, and he came through with so much consistency. This was exactly why we were so excited when he joined the team."
Halladay had struggled in the early part of the season, starting 1-5 before finally righting the ship and turning things around.
"I had some tough starts early, but I really felt I was pitching the ball well. I just didn't get some breaks," said Halladay. "But, this is what I love about the game. I love getting the ball in big moments. I want to be there for my team, like they're there for me each and every start. To finally reach the moutain top, it's unbelievable."
|Ross Gload gave the Phils an early boost with this 2-run homer in the second.
This is Halladay's first championship of his Major League career. He was certainly on top of his game from the very start.
However, Yankees starter A.J. Burnett was not nearly as sharp. He gave up back to back walks in the first inning to Placido Polanco and Chase Utley with one out in the first inning. However, he escaped without any damage when Ryan Howard and Raul Ibanez could not come through.
In the second inning, the Phils did come through, and again, the walk would hurt Burnett. He sent Victorino to first base on four straight balls to start the inning. After Domonic Brown lined out, designated hitter Ross Gload stepped up to the plate and proceeded to smack a two-run homer to to the Phils on the board.
"That was big for us," admitted Manuel. "To start out with the lead early, instead of having to try and come back again, that was important for us."
New York managed to get a run back in the bottom half. Curtis Granderson doubled with one out, and Jorge Posada came through with a single to bring home Granderson and cut the deficit in half.
|Shane Victorino was robbed of a home run on a great catch by Brett Gardner.
After that, it got to be frustrating for Phillies fans for a while. Time and time again, they had runners on base and in scoring position. But, just like Game Four, the Fightins couldn't come through with that big hit to score more runs. A lead off double by Polanco in the third was wasted. A two-out rally in the fourth could not be completed, as Rollins grounded out with runners at first and second to end the inning. Philly started the game off 0-6 and hitters were 0 for their last 16 with runners in scoring position.
And in the fifth, the Bronx Bombers tied the game up. Nick Swisher smashed a solo home run to left, and it was nervous time for Phillies fans once again.
But in the sixth, Philadelphia finally got some work done with runners in scoring position. Ross Gload started the rally with a two out walk. Carlos Ruiz doubled to right to score Gload all the way from first. Then, Jimmy Rollins sent a Burnett pitch deep into the night, giving the Phils a 5-2 lead.
|Jimmy Rollins' two-run homer in the sixth helped make sure the Phils would clinch the Wrole Series title in New York.
The Fightins tacked on two more insurance runs the next inning. Ryan Howard doubled. Then, Raul Ibanez smacked a ground rule double to left-center field, scoring Howard. Finally, a Shane Victorino single would give Philly all the runs it needed to secure the victory.
"We were starting to get a little frustrated," admitted Victorino. "We had plenty of opportunities, more so than in Game Four. So, when we weren't converting those chances into runs, it was worrisome. But, we ultimately came through when we needed."
So, now the city of Philadelphia can celebrate another championship. It's the second one in four seasons for the Phillies, their third as a franchise. Planning is in its early stages, but expect a parade down Broad Street in the upcoming days. And the Phils are certain to bring more hardware home, both for their performances in the postseason and the regular season.
Anyone up for a repeat?
That's what the Phils will be shooting for next year.