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WORLD SERIES

Yankees get even with homers, A.J. Burnett

Mariano Rivera gets a two-inning save and umpiring comes under fire again,

October 30, 2009|Bill Shaikin

NEW YORK — Good thing the New York Yankees won, or this could have been the defining image of the Game 2 of the World Series: The Yankees' pulling their team off the field while the umpires discuss whether they messed up again.

Fortunately for Bud Selig, the defining image was this: When a ball would have loaded the bases, when a hit could have tied the score, when a home run could have lost the game, Mariano Rivera came through again.

Or, at least the way the Philadelphia Phillies saw it, the umpires messed up again.

One night after he hit two home runs, Chase Utley hit into the crucial double play, with Rivera earning the save in the Yankees' 3-1 victory over the Philadelphia Phillies on Thursday. The World Series is tied at one game apiece, with Game 3 scheduled for Saturday in Philadelphia.

Rivera earned his record 10th World Series save by pitching two innings. Neither inning was a 1-2-3 inning, and never in the World Series had he thrown as many as the 39 pitches he threw Thursday.

He started the eighth inning with a 3-1 lead and promptly found himself in trouble, with two on and one out and Utley at bat, with Ryan Howard on deck.

Utley worked the count full, then grounded into a double play, although the Phillies begged to differ.

"I'm not saying nothing about the umpiring," Phillies Manager Charlie Manuel said. "I'm just saying that he was safe."

A.J. Burnett earned the victory in his World Series debut, striking out nine and giving up one run in seven innings, and feeding off a sellout crowd.

"They were cheering all the time," Burnett said, "but when I struck guys out, they got really loud, so I was just trying to keep that going for them."

Pedro Martinez took the loss, striking out eight and giving up three runs over six-plus innings. Martinez relished his turn in the spotlight, his chance to return to the World Series in the city in which he pitched last year.

"I played for the Mets, so I know they really want to root for me," Martinez said. "It's just that I don't play for the Yankees. That's all.

"If I was on the Yankees, I'd probably be like a king over here."

Alex Rodriguez went hitless in four at-bats, striking out three times. After batting .438 in the first two rounds of the playoffs, Rodriguez is hitless in eight at-bats in the World Series, with six strikeouts.

The Yankees had not scored an earned run through the first 12 innings of the Series, but Mark Teixeira led off the fourth inning with a home run to tie it at 1-1. Hideki Matsui hit a solo home run too, in the sixth inning, tucked just inside the right-field foul pole, the one that stands 314 feet from home plate.

The Yankees added another run in the seventh, on a single by Jorge Posada. With one out, he was on first and Melky Cabrera on second when Johnny Damon lined out to first baseman Ryan Howard.

Howard appeared to believe he had short-hopped the ball, firing toward second base for what would have been a force on Posada, but first base umpire Brian Gorman ruled that Howard had caught the ball before it hit the ground.

"I couldn't hear him say out," Howard said. "It just happened so fast. I wasn't sure because the crowd was so loud."

Phillies shortstop Jimmy Rollins caught Howard's throw and tagged out Posada while he was standing on second base.

That was a double play, and the end of the inning. However, Posada refused to leave the base, as Yankees Manager Joe Girardi rushed out to argue.

Eventually, Posada left the base, and the Yankees took the field. But all six umpires gathered to discuss the call, and Girardi pulled his team off the field.

The call stood. The Yankees returned to the field.

Howard wouldn't say that he actually had caught the ball.

"Did I catch it?" he said. "Well, they called him out."

Selig, the commissioner, held court with reporters before the game, reiterating that he has no plans to expand instant replay. The umpires might have missed some high-profile calls this October, he said, but too much instant replay would slow the game too much, and most of the calls are correct anyway.

So Selig could not have been thrilled when Manuel was asked whether he thought the umpiring was good.

"You know," Manuel said with a laugh, "I've probably never thought the umpiring was good."

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bill.shaikin@latimes.com

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