NEW YORK—What many baseball experts thought would be a high-scoring affair turned out to be a pitchers duel on Thursday night, with the New York Yankees winning 3-1 on A.J. Burnett's outstanding pitching effort and Hideki Matsui's home run to even the World Series at one game apiece.
Yankee stadium was rocking on Thursday night as fans chanted "Who's your daddy" at Pedro Martinez, taking the mound for the first time at the new Yankee Stadium. Martinez, the Yankees nemesis and former Boston Red Sox star, last pitched in the postseason in the Bronx during the 2004 ALCS.
Martinez was dealing in the early going, striking out Derek Jeter and Johnny Damon in the first inning. The Phillies got on board first in the second inning as DH Matt Stairs singled in left fielder Raul Ibanez to put the defending champions up by a run.
The Yankees answered in the fourth. First baseman Mark Teixeira snapped out of his postseason funk and drove a Pedro Martinez pitch out of the yard for a solo home run. The Bombers tacked on another run two innings later on a solo shot by Hideki Matsui.
Both Burnett and Martinez were solid. But Martinez was chased after Jerry Hairston and Melky Cabrera hit back-to-back singles in the seventh inning. A batter later, Jorge Posada singled off Phillies reliever Chan Ho Park to score Brett Gardner, the pinch runner for Hairston.
Apparently, two runs were all A.J. Burnett needed on Thursday night. Despite not having his best stuff, hard-throwing A.J. Burnett was masterful, handcuffing the powerful Phillies lineup to only four hits and one run in seven strong innings.
There were some questions going into the game as to how Burnett would perform under pressure, but his performance on Thursday night was an encouraging sign for the rest of the series and the fans were behind him on every pitch.
Closer Mariano Rivera relieved Burnett to start the eighth and the Phillies promptly put two men on base with one out, silencing the Yankee Stadium crowd—for a brief moment. But Rivera induced a crucial double play grounder from Chase Utley to close the eighth inning.
This game was supposed to belong to future Hall of Famer Martinez, whose longstanding feud with the Yankees dates back to his days as a star pitcher with the Boston Red Sox. Martinez was solid—allowing three runs in six innings and striking out eight—but received little run support.
Yankees manager Joe Girardi benched Nick Swisher on Thursday night in favor of Hairston. Hairston, who is a career .370 hitter against Martinez, finished the game 1 for 3.
The series will now head to Philadelphia as the Yankees send veteran lefty Andy Pettite to the mound on Saturday night to face Cole Hamels.