Phillies 2, Yankees 0(7)

BY foxsports • October 29, 2009

Chase Utley homered off CC Sabathia in the third and sixth innings, and the defending champion Philadelphia Phillies took a 2-0 lead over the New York Yankees in Wednesday night's World Series opener.

Cliff Lee, matched up against his former Cleveland Indians teammate, struck out seven and walked none in the first six innings. He gave up four hits and allowed just one leadoff batter to reach as the World Series returned to New York for the first time since 2003.

Utley drove a 95 mph fastball about two rows into the seats in right field with two outs in the third. The home run, on the ninth pitch of the at-bat, was the first Sabathia allowed at home to a left-handed hitter this year.

Sabathia retired eight in a row before Utley sent another 95 mph fastball, on an 0-2 pitch, deep into the right-field bleachers with one out in the sixth. Utley has four World Series homers and three in this postseason.

Sabathia, New York's ace, entered 3-0 with a 1.19 ERA in the postseason but struggled with his control early. He started eight of his first 12 batters with balls and needed 58 pitches to get through three innings. His pitch count was up to 104 by the end of the sixth.

Lee, 2-0 with a 0.74 ERA in the playoffs, worked fast and got ahead of batters. He struck out the side in the fourth - and sent Alex Rodriguez to his first two-strikeout game since Sept. 22.

Philadelphia loaded the bases in a 25-pitch first inning as Sabathia walked two - one shy of his total during his first three postseason starts.

Utley started the threat with a two-out walk - reaching via a hit or walk in his 26th straight postseason game, breaking a tie with Baltimore's Boog Powell for the record.

Ryan Howard, just 2 for 11 against lefties during the first two rounds, pulled a double into the right-field corner. After a walk to Jayson Werth, Raul Ibanez grounded to second when he tried to pull a high pitch that cut a little toward the outside of the plate.

After a rough first two rounds in which they blew an inordinate amount of calls, umpires appeared to get their first tough one right.

After Hideki Matsui's leadoff single in the fifth, Robinson Cano hit a soft pop to shortstop Jimmy Rollins, who leaned forward and caught the ball in the webbing of his glove. Second base ump Brian Gorman signaled out, but Rollins stepped on second anyway and threw to first, where Jeff Nelson initially signaled Howard was off the base as Cano crossed. But after the umpires met as a group, they ruled it was a catch and Matsui was doubled up because Howard tagged him.

Game 2 is Thursday night. Pedro Martinez, in his first appearance at new Yankee Stadium, starts for the Phillies against A.J. Burnett.

This was the latest World Series opener - one day behind Game 1 of the 2001 Series, which was delayed a week by the 9/11 terrorist attacks. Major League Baseball was hoping to end a record streak of five straight series that ended either in sweeps or five games.

The last six teams to win Game 1 - and 10 of the last 11 - all went on to win the Series. Philadelphia was trying to become the first team to win consecutive titles since the 1998-00 Yankees. The only NL team to accomplish the feat since 1922 was the 1975-76 Cincinnati Reds.

Old Yankee Stadium, surrounded by dark mesh across 161st Street and awaiting demolition, hosted a record 100 Series games. This was the first at the amenity-laden $1.5 billion ballpark.

It was just the second time two former Cy Young Award winners started a World Series opener, the other in 1995 between Atlanta's Greg Maddux and Cleveland's Orel Hershiser. Lee and Sabathia also started the new Yankee Stadium opener, won 10-2 by Cleveland on April 16.

Yogi Berra, first lady Michelle Obama and Jill Biden, wife of the vice president, accompanied retired Capt. Tony Odierno, who threw out the ceremonial first pitch. Odierno, who works for the Yankees, was a Bronze Star recipient who lost his left arm during the Iraq war.

Obama high-fived a fan on her way off the field.

Yankees owner George Steinbrenner, wearing a team jacket, watched a game at his new ballpark for the first time since its opener. The 79-year-old, who has been in diminished health, settled into a seat in the last row of his box on the suite level, just to the left of home plate. He received guests during the game, including Berra.

New York's grounds crew wore new shirts that read: "WIN IT FOR THE BOSS" on the front and 27 on the back.

Rain, which had stopped just before batting practice, resumed for the second inning and stopped before the third.



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