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Chase Utley buys more time for Phillies

He hits two home runs to keep the Yankees from clinching and ties a World Series record.

November 03, 2009|Kevin Baxter

PHILADELPHIA — Chase Utley saw his first World Series game when, as a 9-year-old growing up outside Los Angeles, he went to see the Dodgers play the Oakland Athletics in 1988.

"Game 2," his father, Dave, said. "The game after Kirk Gibson."

For two decades that was the closest Utley would come to a dramatic World Series home run until Monday, when he hit two in Philadelphia's 8-6 victory over the New York Yankees in Game 5 of the World Series, extending the Phillies' season for at least two more days.

But if Utley looked like a hero during the game, he sought anonymity afterward.

"It doesn't really matter who it is," he said. "The bottom line is to win the game, however you need to do it, whether it's hitting, pitching defense.

"It doesn't really matter who steps up. It's just a matter of when and how."

Charlie Manuel, the Phillies' manager, would beg to differ. It he had his druthers, he'd write Utley's name in every spot on his lineup card.

"Sometimes I tell our players, 'Just play with Chase,' " Manuel said in his West Virginia drawl. "Because if you play with Chase you've got a chance to be a pretty good player."

Utley was better than good Monday when the Phillies, who couldn't afford another loss, came out swinging. Jimmy Rollins greeted Yankees starter A.J. Burnett with a single before Shane Victorino, trying to move Rollins to second base with a bunt, was hit by a pitch. Utley then drove both of them in with his first home run.

Two innings later, Utley led off with a walk and stole second base, igniting another three-run rally that chased Burnett, who left without retiring a batter in the third inning.

The right-hander, who took the mound with a chance to pitch the Yankees to their first World Series title since 2000, was charged with six runs in his shortest outing since April 2007. And it was the shortest World Series start since Roger Clemens pitched two innings for the Houston Astros in 2005.

But the Phillies weren't finished, which proved fortunate because the Yankees never quit either.

Utley and Raul Ibanez hit solo home runs against reliever Phil Coke three batters apart in the seventh inning, extending the Philadelphia lead to 8-2 and earning Utley a page in the World Series record book.

With five home runs in five games, Utley matched Reggie Jackson for most home runs in a World Series. And with seven World Series home runs in his career, Utley has more than any second baseman.

"Obviously, it's great company," he said. "At some point maybe I'll look back on it and see what kind of special moment it is."

Oh, and he has also scored six runs, driven in eight and has a slugging percentage of 1.222. And Manuel said he believes Utley might just be getting started

"Chase, when he gets hot, he can stay hot for a month or two," Manuel said.

The Yankees answered with some broken records from their own red-hot slugger, Alex Rodriguez, who doubled in a run in the first inning and two in the eighth, giving him a record-tying 11 extra-base hits this postseason. The three runs batted in gave him a franchise-record 18 in the playoffs.

More important, however, is the fact that Rodriguez's double chased starter Cliff Lee and forced Manuel to go to a bullpen that is growing shakier by the day.

First up was Chan Ho Park, who gave up a sacrifice fly to cut the Phillies lead to 8-5. In the ninth inning, Manuel chose to go with Ryan Madson over closer Brad Lidge, who gave up three ninth-inning runs and blew the game Sunday.

The decision nearly backfired when the first two Yankees that Madson faced reached base, bringing Derek Jeter to the plate representing the tying run. But Madson got Jeter to hit into a double play, then struck out Mark Teixeira with a runner on to end the game and extend the World Series.

The Phillies still have a long journey ahead of them, though, and it's not just the trip to New York for Game 6, and Game 7 if needed.

If they hope to become the first team since the Kansas City Royals in 1985 and only the seventh in history to overcome a 3-1 deficit and win a World Series, they'll have to beat Andy Pettitte and CC Sabathia.

"I don't see why we can't," Victorino said. "We've done it before where we won three games in a row on this stage. You've just got to take one game at a time."


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