So much for a pitchers’ duel. The heralded matchup between Roy Halladay and C.C. Sabathia didn’t turn out exactly as expected as the Yankees belted three home runs off the Phillies’ ace en route to an 8-3 victory.
After a scoreless first inning, Halladay uncharacteristically struggled to command his cutter and curveball in the second. Robinson Cano lead off that inning by grounding out, but Halladay then gave up a hit to Nick Swisher on a 3-1 count before walking Jorge Posada on four pitches. With runners on first and second, Halladay once again fell behind in the count before yielding a two run triple to Brett Gardner on a 3-1 cutter. Gardner would end up being stranded at third base, but by the end of the inning, Halladay had thrown 29 pitches.
C.C. Sabathia eased through the first three innings, striking out six batters along the way. Meanwhile, the Yankees went back to work on Halladay in the bottom of the third. Curtis Granderson led off the inning by sending a wayward changeup deep into the right field second deck. Then, after Mark Teixeira flied out to deep right, Cano lashed a curveball into the right centerfield gap for a double and later scored on Nick Swisher’s round tripper, which again came on a cutter.
Now staked to a 5-0 lead, Sabathia had his only hiccup in the fourth inning. Chase Utley led off the inning by singling off Sabathia’s left hand. It was the second time in Sabathia’s last three starts that he extended his pitching hand in the way of a batted ball, and each time thereafter the big lefty seemed to struggle with his location. After a visit from the trainer, Placido Polanco singled off Sabathia’s glove and then hit Ryan Howard with a pitch. Before plunking him in the shoulder, Sabathia had Howard set up for a third straight swing and miss at a slider low and away, but inexplicably tried to bust the Phillies slugger up and in with a fastball. Two consecutive RBI singles by Jayson Werth and Raul Ibanez then followed, after which Ben Francisco’s 3-4 force out (which could have been a double play if Sabathia remembered to cover first base) plated another run. Sabathia rebounded to strike out Castro and retire Ruiz on a ground out, preserving the lead at 5-3.
With the Phillies back in the game, it looked as Halladay had regained his form by relying more on his fastball. Perhaps out of stubbornness, however, he tried to sneak one more cutter by Mark Teixeira, who promptly deposited the pitch just over the 314 sign in right. The extra run seemed to reinvigorate Sabathia, who finished off his night by easily retiring the side in the sixth and seventh.
The Yankees tacked on two more insurance runs when Francisco Cervelli worked his two out magic with runners in scoring position by singling with the bases loaded. All that was left was for Dave Robertson and Chan Ho Park to close out the game and give the Yankees a leg up in the first game of their World Series rematch.
Facing Roy Halladay was a true test for an offense that had been feasting on less than stellar pitching over the past three weeks. Even with Arod out of the lineup for his fourth straight game, the Yankees passed with flying colors.
CC Sabathia’s Pitch Breakdown
|Four Seam Fastball||93.2||96.1||64||42||65.6%|
- Coming into the game, Roy Halladay had only given up three homeruns, none of which were to left handed hitters. The Yankees not only doubled Halladay’s season total, but all three home runs were hit by lefties.
- Halladay surrendered a career high three home runs in a game for the ninth time. The prior two occasions were also against the Yankees on August 4 and July 4 of last season.
- The Yankees six runs off Halladay matched the most they have ever scored against the righty. The other time the Yankees reached Halladay for six runs was on April 30, 2000.
- By beating the Phillies, Sabathia earned his first victory against a team other than Orioles since April 16.