With a tough at-bat and instinctive baserunning, Johnny Damon made it possible for the Yankees to win Game 4 of the World Series.
11/02/2009 11:11 AM ET
Damon does it with his wheels
Yankees veteran calls upon swiftness of youth in mad dash
Coming up with two out and none on in the top of the ninth, and the heart of the order behind him, Damon worked Phillies closer for a nine-pitch at-bat, fouling off four, before lacing a single to left on a 94 mph fastball on a full count.
Then, with Mark Teixeira up and the infield in a full shift to the first base side, Damon stole second with a pop-up slide and, seeing that nobody was covering third, kept going to put the go-ahead run just 90 feet away.
"What I had to see before I could start running to third base was how Pedro [Feliz] caught the ball," Damon told the Philadelphia Inquier. "So I knew it dragged him off some, and I'm just glad that when I started running I still had some of my young legs behind me."
Even though players are taught not to make a third out at third base, especially with hitters like Teixeira and Alex Rodriguez coming up, Damon's dash to third was a well-calculated risk. When Teixeira was hit by a pitch and Rodriguez followed with a double, Damon scored the eventual winning run.
"I felt that, being on third base, it probably takes away a slider, a tough slider in the dirt that I may be able to score on," Damon said. "Alex got two fastballs."
Tie-breaking double tops them all for A-Rod Alex Rodriguez's tie-breaking double in the ninth inning of World Series Game 4 went right to the top of his already impressive list of career highlights.
"There's no question, I've never had a bigger hit," Rodriguez told the Washington Post.
"After .... all the stuff that I've been through, you have nothing to lose," Rodriguez said. "For the first time in my career, I've felt like an underdog."
All signs added to success for Sabathia: Pitching on three days' rest, CC Sabathia allowed only three runs on seven hits and three walks in 6 2/3 innings of work while striking out six on Sunday night in Game 4 of the World Series.
The big lefty was in line to earn the win until the Phillies tied the game at 4-4 in the eighth inning when Pedro Feliz hit a two-out home run to left field.
"The important thing on short rest is you have to know how your pitcher physically is feeling," Girardi told the New York Post. "CC went through all his work [Friday], and we talked to him, and he threw a pretty good game after short rest last time, and then he had some extra days off."
Lee tries to extend Phillies season one more game: The Phillies turn to Cliff Lee -- who has two complete games and a 0.54 ERA in the postseason -- to pitch Game 5 and, hopefully, send the World Series back to New York.
"You're going to have good streaks, you're going to have bad streaks, and you've got to try to ride the good ones and limit the bad ones," Lee told MLB.com. "The only way I know to do that is to stick to my routine and do what I know I need to do between starts and prepare."
Pettitte provides pick-me-up with bat: Not to be overlooked in Andy Pettitte's gutty Game 3 pitching performance was his big contribution at the plate.
Down 3-2 in the fifth inning, the left-handed hitting Pettitte hit an RBI single to tie the game at 3-3. It was Pettitte's second career World Series hit, with the first one coming in Game 6 in 2001. The RBI was the first by a New York pitcher in a World Series game since 1964, when Jim Bouton had an RBI in Game 6.
On Friday during the team's workout, Pettitte didn't sound like a man who was expecting much success at the plate.
"Hopefully, you can get a bunt down; really, that's the big thing," Pettitte told the New York Daily News. "And then you're just trying to fend for yourself up there because you don't have time to get ready, try to worry about anything as far as trying to get any timing down or anything like that. Hopefully I can get a ball that I can handle and get some barrel on it, it will be a base hit maybe somewhere if I can get one."
Hamels hoping for a Game 7: Cole Hamels would welcome the opportunity to pitch Game 7 if the Phillies can win the next two.
"I really do hope I have that opportunity. It's one of those games that you can definitely redeem yourself," Hamels told MLB.com. "I would know it's the very last game that I would ever have that season. It's not the type of game you want to have in your last game. It's just kind of something where if you could end it on a good note, why not? Having a Game 7 opportunity that would be mean a lot. I hope my teammates believe in me and want me to be out there for it."
Swisher returns to lineup on the offensive: Reinserted in the Yankees lineup for Game 3, Nick Swisher responded with a double and a home run in the club's 8-5 win.
"Swish has been our right fielder all year long," Girardi told the New York Daily News. "In Game 6 against the Angels, we thought his at-bats were real good right-handed. His at-bats, even though he didn't get any hits in Game 1 were right-handed. So that's why we chose to do what we did."
A-Rod relishes delayed home-run trot: Alex Rodriguez didn't get to break out his home-run trot following his first World Series blast.
The umpires originally ruled the ball hit the top of the fence and bounced back onto the field, but replays showed the ball actually hit a television camera that was above the fence. After conferring on the field, the umpires decided to review the hit on replay and came back out signaling a home run.
"Well, it's only fitting, right?" Rodriguez joked to the New York Post about his non-traditional World Series home run.
The two-run homer pulled the Yankees within a run and they went on to win Game 3.
Huff inspired after taste of big leagues: After experiencing Minor League life, Indians prospect David Huff was anxious to reach the Majors.
"When you first sign a contract, they invite you here for a game, and you see all the glam[our] of Major League Baseball. You're thinking, 'All right, this is sweet,'" Huff told MLB.com.
"And then they send you to the Minors, and it's nothing like that. It's a letdown. And it's just that much more motivation to get up here faster. You want to be better. When you finally get here, it's such a huge relief. And you've got to work hard to stay here."
McCann, Green have jerseys retired at high school: Duluth (Ga.) High School honored two of its most famous alumni at the school's football game over the weekend. Brian McCann and Nick Green had their baseball jerseys retired. McCann was a two-sport star, also playing basketball.
"Being able to go through high school with the person you looked up to the most [brother Brad], that was the best thing for me," McCann told the Atlanta Journal-Constitution. "And this is where I met my wife. My wedding was the best day of my life. I'm thankful for that and the whole baseball program here."
Sanchez signs two-year deal with Giants: The Giants and Freddy Sanchez have reportedly agreed on terms of a two-year contract. San Francisco acquired him during the season for the stretch run, and he hit .284 in 25 games with the Giants.
"[The new contract is] a big deal for me," Sanchez told the San Francisco Chronicle. "Obviously, they gave up a pretty high prospect for me. I feel there's a lot of work to do to show what I'm capable of doing when I'm on the field. I try to be as loyal a person as I can. Being part of the San Francisco Giants' family, hopefully I can do what they traded for me to do."
-- Red Line Editorial