They say sports make for great theatre. There’s drama and nail-biting action. Perhaps the element that makes baseball the most entertaining are the story-lines that highlight each game. When Charlie Manuel announced that Pedro Martinez would get the nod in New York, the script was written, it was just waiting to be performed.
Unfortunately for the Phillies, Yankees starter, A.J. Burnett wanted the lead role and seized the spotlight from the flashy Phillies veteran.
In a game that featured a pitchers duel of duels, Burnett and the Yankees finished on top, beating the Phillies 3-1, evening the series at one.
Despite surrendering three earned runs, Martinez pitched a solid game, keeping the Yankees off balance most of the night by sneakily mixing in his change-up. Ironically it was that same change-up that got him into trouble in the fourth when Mark Teixeira took one deep into the short right-field porch, tying the game at one.
The Phillies jumped out to the early lead, thanks to an opposite field double from Raul Ibanez, followed by an opposite field, R.B.I. single from Matt Stairs, in the second inning. The Phillies looked to have had Burnett figured out, but the righty settled in nicely, smothering the Phillies line-up, thanks in large part to the generous outside corner of the plate. He finished with nine K’s in seven innings, while walking only two.
Pedro Martinez finished the game with a quality line, six-plus innings pitched, eight strikeouts, two walks and three earned-runs. New York broke the dead-lock in the sixth off the bat of Hideki Matsui, a solo-shot to right. They would add and insurance run in the seventh off of reliever Chan Ho Park, credited to Martinez.
Yankees turned the ball over to Mariano Rivera in the eighth. The Phillies threatened in the inning, with two on with one out, but Chase Utley grounded into the twin-killing, ending the prospect of a rally off of baseball’s all-time best closer.
All of the hype surrounding Martinez’s return to New York and “Who’s Your Daddy,” and what not, Pedro came out unfazed. He made two mistakes that were rightly hammered for long-balls. However, everywhere Martinez goes, a show is sure to follow. For six innings, Phillies fans got exactly that.
Both teams will enjoy an off day before resuming action Saturday night at Citizens Bank Park.