Thanks to the Utley factor, the defending world champions have forced Game 6 of the World Series, which will be Wednesday night at Yankee Stadium.
Yes, it's back to New York after the Phillies on Monday night crushed home run after home run to beat the Yankees by the score of 8 to 6. The Yankees' lead in the series is now more narrow – 3 games to 2.
Utley, the Phillies' power-hitting second baseman, is red-hot, launching two blasts in their victory. That's happened only once before, in 1980. Utley's first homer came in the first inning with two men on base. His second was a solo shot in the seventh.
Utley has been a home-run hitting machine in the World Series, knocking five out of the park. That surpasses Babe Ruth's record and ties Reggie Jackson's 1977 total, the most ever. And this series is not over.
For Game 6, the Phillies will call on the crafty veteran Pedro Martinez, who lost Game 2 at Yankee Stadium. Although he lost that matchup, he went six innings and gave up only three runs. With his off-speed pitches, he kept the Yankees fooled most of the time.
"I expect something similar to what we got the other night," said Phillies manager Charlie Manuel. "He's definitely capable of giving us – he should go anywhere six, seven innings in a game."
For their part, the Yankees are expected to call on veteran Andy Pettitte, winner of Game 3, who will go on three days' rest instead of the normal four. Yankee manager Joe Girardi says he will check with Pettitte on Tuesday when the team works out.
If there is a Game 7, the Yankees will send out their ace, CC Sabathia, who would make his third start of the series. He lost Game 1 and won Game 4. Manuel has not said who his Game 7 pitcher would be – although their ace, Cliff Lee, who won on Monday night, said he was available.
No matter who pitches for the Yankees, each one will have to pitch more carefully to Utley.
"Chase, when he gets hot, he can get hot and stay hot for a month or two," Manuel said.
Utley's success lies in a compact swing, says the Yankees' Girardi. "He's so short to the ball," he said in the press conference after Game 5. "You don't see him chasing a lot of bad pitches, either."
Despite Utley's heroics, Monday night's game might have been closer. In Girardi's words, his starter, A.J. Burnett, "struggled." That might be an understatement: He did not last three innings, giving up six runs.
The Phillies took advantage, returning to their form in the regular season, when they made teams pay once they got men on base. In fact, they led the National League in runs scored, even though they had a mediocre team batting average.
"When you look back on it, those runs hurt us," Girardi conceded.
The reason they hurt is because in the eighth and ninth innings, the Yankees started to score runs.
"I'll take my chances with him every day in the lineup," said Girardi of Teixeira.
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