A-Rod, Yankees' bats go silent in Series opener

BY foxsports • October 29, 2009

Alex Rodriguez and the New York Yankees better hope they can muster more offense against Pedro Martinez than they did against Cliff Lee. Baffled all game by the quick-working lefty, the normally potent Yankees went silent at the plate during a 6-1 loss to the Philadelphia Phillies in the World Series opener Wednesday night. "We definitely need to get the bats going," Johnny Damon said. "We have to win tomorrow." Shut down by Lee, New York now faces the crafty Martinez in Game 2 on Thursday night. The 38-year-old right-hander, lacking the overpowering fastball he once had, was a thorn in the Yankees' side for years when he pitched for rival Boston. Martinez knows how to rise to a big occasion - and he's been quite a boon to the Phillies. Signed in mid-July after sitting out the first half of the season, he went 5-1 with a 3.63 ERA in nine starts down the stretch. Then, he tossed seven shutout innings of two-hit ball in Game 2 of the NL championship series at Dodger Stadium. "Pedro knows how to pitch," Derek Jeter said. "He's been pitching for a long time and mixes it up. He'll be ready. He likes these atmospheres. He likes these big games, so it's going to be another challenge for us." This will be Martinez's second World Series start. He allowed only three hits over seven scoreless innings for the Red Sox in 2004 against St. Louis. "He's going to pitch well and he's going to be ready - and so are we," Rodriguez said. The fourth inning Wednesday night was the most striking example of New York's ineptitude against Lee. Mark Teixeira, strike three swinging. Rodriguez, same thing. Jorge Posada, another whiff. Rodriguez fanned his first two times up and never hit the ball out of the infield. Not exactly what the three-time MVP had in mind for his World Series debut - especially after putting on such a dazzling display of consistent clutch hitting in the AL playoffs. The slugger finished 0 for 4 with three of New York's 10 Ks, his first three-strikeout game since July 30. That spelled the end of his 11-game postseason hitting streak. "I don't think we need to overthink about tonight," Rodriguez said. "Tonight was a dominant pitcher on the mound who dominated our lineup and probably would have dominated any lineup in baseball. So I wouldn't worry about it too much." Lee went the distance and became the first pitcher to strike out Rodriguez three times in a game since Philadelphia lefty Cole Hamels on May 24. Hamels is slated to start Game 3. A-Rod waited 16 major league seasons to reach a World Series. Sixteen years ... for that? "You move on - quick," he said. "You have to have a short memory." Most of his teammates fared no better. New York managed six hits, one for extra bases, and went down meekly in most innings against Lee. "He broke about 10 of our bats today, two of them mine. He didn't make any mistakes," Damon said. With the crowd of 50,207 grumbling after every easy out, the Yankees hit one harmless popup after another. Lee kept them off-balance throughout, fooling and freezing them with off-speed pitches and fastballs. Soft grounders. Called third strikes. Not a single walk. All with owner George Steinbrenner watching from his luxury box, no doubt disappointed. "It was everybody tonight," said Posada, retired on an excuse-me, checked-swing roller to Lee in the seventh. "We can't pinpoint on one guy. We really didn't hit today. He pitched a hell of a ballgame." What happened to all those big Yankees bats, the relentless offensive machine that led the majors this season with 915 runs and 51 comeback wins? Where was the fearsome club that hit 14 homers in nine AL playoff games? Jeter was the only hitter who looked comfortable against Lee, going 3 for 4 with a double. New York's lone run came on a throwing error by Rollins in the ninth. The new Yankee Stadium was a homer-haven all season. But in their first World Series game at the $1.5 billion ballpark, the Yankees looked overmatched at the plate as Lee outpitched fellow ace CC Sabathia. "The ball was definitely getting on us and it was going in different directions. He's learned how to pitch over the last couple years," Damon said. "We're hoping he's not going to be this good the next time, but we know better. Our guy is going to have to shut them down."

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