Friday, October 30, 2009

World Series Game Two

As a huge baseball fan, I wait with a baited breath as every pitch is thrown during the World Series. As a Mets fan, this World Series makes me short of breath. Either way, here's a summary of game two, which the Yankees won:

From the CP (Canadian Press):

Jerry Hairston Jr. and a couple more of the New York Yankees' role players filled in the blanks when two of their biggest stars struggled in Game 2 of the World Series on Thursday night.

Hairston started a seventh-inning rally with a leadoff single and Jose Molina had a solid night behind the plate to help New York to a 3-1 victory over the Philadelphia Phillies.

"It does feel good. Sometimes, you've got to scrap," said Hairston, who replaced struggling Nick Swisher in right field. "I haven't started too many games the last two months or so."

With Molina subbing for Jorge Posada, A.J. Burnett threw seven sparkling innings. Molina, who has caught each of Burnett's post-season starts, also picked off Jayson Werth with a snap throw to first in the fourth.

"I thought that was real, real important," manager Joe Girardi said of Molina's play on Werth.

The effort by New York's bench players was especially crucial with Derek Jeter and Alex Rodriguez both striking out three times.

Brett Gardner also made a key play when he came in to run for Hairston after his hit in the seventh. Gardner went from first to third on Melky Cabrera's single to right and scored on pinch hitter Posada's liner up the middle.

STAR POWER: Jay-Z and Alicia Keys fired up the Yankee Stadium crowd before Game 2, performing a clean version of "Empire State of Mind" from the rapper's hit album.

The two New Yorkers were originally scheduled to perform Wednesday night but were pushed back because of rainy weather. There was some concern about some of the song's raw language but Jay-Z kept it PG for the nationally televised performance.

The rap king - wearing a Yankees hat and jacket - and Keys got a loud ovation when they walked through an opening in the outfield wall in left-centre to the stage behind second base. Keys, in a black and hot purple outfit, played keyboard before joining Jay-Z in the centre of the stage for the end of the song.

Yankees shortstop Derek Jeter, who uses a snippet of "Empire State of Mind" for his at-bat music, bobbed his head during the performance. New York reliever Joba Chamberlain also was grooving to the song while the Philadelphia Phillies watched attentively from the top step of the visiting dugout.

A buzz went through the crowd when Jay-Z rapped one of the signature lines of the hit: "I made the Yankee hat more famous than a Yankee can."

There was more applause after the performance as Jay-Z and Keys walked arm in arm through the outfield to the gate. Phillies pitcher Pedro Martinez was preparing for his Game 2 start nearby but he kept long tossing as the music stars disappeared from sight.

NOT AGAIN: There was another blown call by the post-season umpires in the seventh inning of New York's 3-1 victory over the Phillies on Thursday night.

With one out and runners on first and second, Johnny Damon hit a smash to Philadelphia first baseman Ryan Howard. Umpire Brian Gorman, standing behind the 6-foot-4 Howard, immediately threw his arm up to indicate the ball was caught in the air, but TV replays indicated it bounced into Howard's glove.

Howard took a few steps toward first before throwing to shortstop Jimmy Rollins, who tagged Jorge Posada to complete the inning-ending double play. Posada stood on second for a few moments before bounding off the base to protest the call, and manager Joe Girardi came out of the dugout to argue.

The umpires gathered in the infield after the players returned to their dugouts, but the ruling stood.

A series of umpiring mistakes during the playoffs has led to calls for expanded use of instant replay, but commissioner Bud Selig said before the game he still thinks it's not necessary. Selig did promise more discussion of the topic.

TOP SPOT: Ruben Amaro Jr. was one of Pat Gillick's top lieutenants when the Phillies won the World Series last season.

This time, he's in charge.

Amaro took over as general manager when Gillick retired following last season, ascending to the top spot after 10 years as an assistant in Philadelphia. The club hasn't skipped a beat under his leadership, winning the NL East and the pennant for the second consecutive year.

"What is really pretty cool about this being here right now is the fact that it's the big stage, it's New York," Amaro said before Philadelphia's 3-1 loss in Game 2. "It's the history and we're playing clearly one of the best teams in baseball, in our minds the best team in the American League.

"To be able to match up with this storied franchise and to be in this situation is pretty gratifying. It's pretty neat."

Amaro made a couple of shrewd moves during the season to help the Phillies get to this point. He acquired left-hander Cliff Lee and outfielder Ben Francisco from the Cleveland Indians for four prospects and signed free-agent righty Pedro Martinez.

Lee struck out 10 in a dominant performance in Philadelphia's 6-1 victory in the Series opener. Martinez went 5-1 with a 3.63 ERA in nine starts in the regular season and pitched into the seventh inning in a sharp outing in Game 2.

Amaro, 44, joined the Phillies immediately after his playing career ended in 1998. He worked under former GM Ed Wade for seven seasons and the last three with Gillick.

"I've had a chance to learn from some very, very good GMs in my mind," Amaro said. "They each had some pretty interesting qualities to kind of feed off of."

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