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 World Champions in the BronXXVII

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PostSubject: World Champions in the BronXXVII   Thu Nov 05, 2009 1:55 am

World Champions in the BronXXVII
Matsui ties World Series record with six RBIs in clincher

By Bryan Hoch / MLB.com

11/05/09 12:18 AM EST

Box >

NEW YORK -- This was the ultimate dream that the Yankees waited so long to achieve, as they clustered at the center of their magnificent new cathedral and celebrated the perfect ending to the inaugural season of Yankee Stadium.

Finally -- and forever -- a 27th World Series title is now theirs.

In what may have been his final game in pinstripes, Hideki Matsui drove in six runs and Andy Pettitte stepped up on short rest to help get the ball to Mariano Rivera. The Yankees' mission statement was completed on Wednesday with a 7-3 victory over the Phillies in Game 6 of the World Series.

With old foe Pedro Martinez standing in the way of the end to a nine-year title drought, Matsui, who was named the World Series MVP, starred on the biggest stage of his career, belting a two-run homer and drilling a two-run single off the Phillies right-hander to provide the old workhorse Pettitte with a cushy advantage.

Once a fresh face of the dynasty, Pettitte tugged the bill of his cap low over flecks of gray hair and prayed that his left arm could deliver the World Series rings with one more night to remember -- this start on three days' rest, an equation that has given him mixed results over the years.

Pettitte needn't have worried, attacking the Phillies' lineup and holding the National League champions to three runs over 5 2/3 innings, extending his all-time postseason record with an 18th victory and his third in a clinching game this year.

The speed bumps for Pettitte came on a two-run Ryan Howard homer and a Jimmy Rollins sacrifice fly, as he scattered four hits and earned every decibel of a loud standing ovation from the crowd of 50,035 as he jogged off the field.

Descending the dugout steps while acknowledging the roar, Pettitte's effort and those behind him in relief allowed manager Joe Girardi to make the easiest decision he has had all postseason -- put the ball in Rivera's right hand, the best closer history has ever known, and wait to celebrate.

The on-field exultation would not have been possible without Matsui, who played in the 2003 World Series after coming over from Japan and saw the franchise fall into a dry postseason patch, wondering if he would have the opportunity to feel the exhilaration of a New York championship.

Matsui put the Yankees back on top with a hard-fought at-bat against Martinez in the second inning, belting the eighth pitch for a high, arcing drive that landed in the second deck of the right-field grandstands -- the third home run of this World Series for the designated hitter.

It was a crushing early blow against Martinez, who was loudly serenaded with ringing chants of "Who's Your Daddy?" a leftover from 2004, when Martinez eventually got the last laugh. Not this time, as Matsui struck in the fourth with a bullet liner that brought around Derek Jeter and Johnny Damon.

Mark Teixeira touched Chad Durbin for a run-scoring single in the fifth inning and Matsui blasted the capping blow in the fifth, a two-run double off J.A. Happ. The six RBIs from Matsui tied a Major League record set by Bobby Richardson in Game 3 of the 1960 World Series.

More importantly, it put the champagne on ice in anticipation of the Yankees' 11th postseason win after 103 in the regular season, leaving them as the last team standing and uncorking a raucous, loud celebration at Yankee Stadium and throughout the five boroughs of New York City.

It was a journey that began by steamrolling the Twins in the American League Division Series. The Yankees then emerged victorious in a hard-fought AL Championship Series to topple the nemesis Angels before meeting the National League's best in the 105th Fall Classic.


2009 World Series

Gm. 1... PHI 6, NYY 1... Wrap.... Video
Gm. 2 NYY 3, PHI 1 Wrap Video
Gm. 3 NYY 8, PHI 5 Wrap Video
Gm. 4 NYY 7, PHI 4 Wrap Video
Gm. 5 PHI 8, NYY 6 Wrap Video
Gm. 6 NYY 7, PHI 3 Wrap Video

Philadelphia presented a challenge, especially after Cliff Lee handcuffed the Bombers' potent lineup in the first World Series game played at the new Yankee Stadium, but the Yankees won three straight before losing Game 5, providing the opportunity to celebrate the championship at home.

To hear the Yankees talking about the anticipation driving them, this push was for the "core four," as Jeter, Pettitte, Jorge Posada and Rivera returned to their glorious youth, partying like it was 2000 all over again and acquiring a fifth ring for the thumb, 3,296 days after the last one.

It was the wish of those who have put in their time without ever had the opportunity to taste the sweetness of that stage, like Matsui and Alex Rodriguez, who played major parts in powering the Yankees here after coming to New York years earlier and being rebuffed time and time again.

And above all else, it was for principal owner George M. Steinbrenner, whose declining health has been no secret and watched the first two games of the World Series from his box seats at Yankee Stadium before taking in this victory via television from his Tampa, Fla., home.

A certain urgency was embedded in the Yankees' actions during the offseason, as they doled out $423.5 million to acquire the top three free agents on the market, fitting ace CC Sabathia, right-hander A.J. Burnett and Teixeira for pinstripes and incorporating them into a clubhouse that meshed wonderfully.

The biggest statement was the five-word slogan affixed to the franchise postseason run -- "Win It For The Boss."

Those within the Yankees family thirsted to present Steinbrenner with the opportunity to savor one more moment, and with Girardi wearing the uniform No. 27 as a daily reminder of the job expectation, they finally have.

Bryan Hoch is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.


"If you have to choose between power and speed and it often turns out you have to make that choice, you've got to go for speed." Source: TV Guide Interview (April 3, 1982)
-- Sparky Anderson
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