On the mound, the Yankees starter was solid, though not spectacular, striking out seven and allowing four earned runs, five hits and three walks in six innings. But Pettitte's contributions with his bat and his legs made the difference, keying a three-run fifth inning, and the Yankees went on to defeat the Phillies 8-5 in Saturday night's rain-delayed World Series Game 3, giving New York the 2-1 lead.
Pettitte admitted that the 80-minute rain delay disrupted his pregame rhythm and that it was a "tough" night on the mound. "I can't remember winning a game where I've struggled like I did tonight," he said. "It's very gratifying to be able to go out there and just battle through it."
Prior to the game, the Yankees announced that, win or lose, they'd bring
Trailing 3-2 in the top of the fifth, Pettitte punched a soft single into centerfield to score
"[With] runners in scoring position, I'm going to be a little bit more aggressive," he said. "I wasn't taking -- I just saw a ball up in the zone, so I'm not trying to hit a home run. I'm trying to slap the ball around, and fortunately enough I got a ball up in the zone, and I was able to slap it back up the middle."
Two batters later
Philadelphia starter turned postseason reliever,
Among the insurance runs were solo homers from New York's Swisher and
The pundits calling for more use of instant replay got a demonstration of its effectiveness on A-Rod's homer, a low liner to rightfield. The ball bounced back onto the field of play and was thought to have hit off the top of the wall, but the umps consulted the replay, which showed that the baseball caromed off a TV camera beyond the wall. That was the first time replay has been used in a playoff game.
"I couldn't put the ball where I wanted to," Pettitte said. "I wasn't getting it down and away consistently like I wanted to, and I wasn't able to throw my curveball for strikes. It was an absolute grind tonight, that's for sure."
Hamels noted earlier in the week his difficulties in putting away hitters after getting two strikes -- he yielded 79 two-strike hits, second-most in the NL -- had no such trouble for the first 3 1/3 innings of Game 3, retiring the first four hitters that went to two strikes. But the fourth inning started to slip away from him when he started Teixeira with a 1-2 count, then threw three balls to walk him. Rodriguez homered on an 0-1 fastball.
"I think at times he gets a little upset with himself," Phillies manager
Werth led off two innings with homers, the first to give the Phillies a 1-0 lead and later to cut the deficit to 6-4. After the second blast, estimated at 445 feet, Werth watched the ball descend into leftfield's upper deck, then slammed his bat into the home-plate circle as a rallying cry to his teammates.
In the second Pettitte kept his full-count slider down in the zone, but Werth reached down and crushed a homer to leftfield. Werth hit the sixth pitch of the at bat out of the park. A patient hitter, he led the majors in seeing 4.51 pitches per plate appearance this season.
The home runs were Werth's sixth and seventh of this postseason and extended his team record to 11.
The second inning continued with a
Ruiz added a solo homer in the ninth off reliever
Pettitte's plodding pace, with prolonged pauses between pitches and pickoff attempts a plenty, practically teased the rain to return. He labored in those early innings, throwing 51 pitches through two.
The tarp was rolled onto the field after a sudden burst of rain 30 minutes before the first pitch started soaking the field. A few more bands of heavy, but brief, rain fell, leading to the long delay, before the first pitch at 9:17 on a mild night of 63 degrees. The delay more than nullified the hour of rest everyone would gain from Daylight Savings Time.
The cast members of
The Phillies won last year's Game 3, which also was played on a Saturday night following a rain delay, winning on a Ruiz walkoff single in the ninth.