The Phillies' lack of pitching is beginning to be exposed and the Yankees' powerful lineup is clicking back into full swing.
On Saturday night (and into early Sunday morning) the Yankees pounded the struggling Cole Hamels and the Philadelphia Phillies 8-5 behind another solid start by veteran Andy Pettitte. The Yankees bats awoke from their two-game slumber and chased the Phillies lefty from the game after only 4.1 innings (five runs on five hits). They then continued to rip into the bullpen effectively taking back control of the series with a 2-1 lead going into Sunday's matchup between CC Sabathia and Joe Blanton.
While many doubted Pettitte's effectiveness going into playoffs, the former multi-time World Series Champion continues to prove that there are a few big games "left" in his left arm. Pettitte went six solid innings, giving up four runs on five hits while striking out seven. It wasn't a stellar outing, but with Hamels' immense hittability, it was more than enough to secure a Yankees victory.
Early on, the game looked to be moving in Philadelphia's favor as they jumped out to an early three-run lead in the second inning. But in the top of the fourth, following a Mark Teixeira walk, A-Rod — as he has so many times before in this season's playoffs — pounded a clutch home run off of a camera in the right field stands, surging the Yankees back into the game in authoritative fashion.
The offensive onslaught would continue the next inning stemming from the most unlikely of places. After a Nick Swisher double, Pettitte came to the plate with one out. The light hitting pitcher proceeded to loop a single to center, scoring Swisher on the play, tying the game at 3-3 and becoming the first Yankees' pitcher to record and RBI in a playoff game since Jim Bouton in the 1964 World Series.
Derek Jeter followed with a single and Johnny Damon beat the lefty-on-lefty matchup slashing a doubled to deep right, scoring both Pettitte and Jeter. From that point on Hamels was gone and the game was all New York. While Philly would put up a run in the bottom of the sixth and the bottom of the ninth, their offensive could scarcely match the Yankees' immense and unceasing output.
Swisher and Hideki Matsui added a home runs of their own in the sixth and eighth innings respectively and Jorge Posada singled in Johnny Damon in the seventh. The Phillies ran five pitchers out to the mound, but none until Ryan Madson in the ninth could stop the Yankees from scoring.
With a 2-1 lead and CC Sabathia facing the far inferior Joe Blanton in Game 4, the Yankees look to be back in the driver's seat of the 2009 World Series as the memory Cliff Lee's dominating performance fades into the past and, oddly enough because of his pitch count, has begun to take on a underlying result of detriment to the overall success of the team.