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David Brown

Burnett on target, Yanks get just enough of Pedro to split in N.Y

David Brown
Big League Stew

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Score and situation: Yankees 3, Phillies 1 Series tied 1-1

Leading lads: With so much attention being paid to Pedro Martinez(notes), perhaps A.J. Burnett(notes) felt able to blend into his surroundings in the biggest start of his career by a mile. And he was great. His fastball moved with a serpent's tail and his curve broke every which way he wanted. A run and four hits with nine strikeouts over seven innings was exactly the bridge Joe Girardi needed to get to closer Mariano Rivera(notes).

Like Tiger Woods in a bunker, Hideki Matsui(notes) golfed a breaking pitch from Martinez — OK, Tiger's ball wouldn't be moving — onto the short porch in right field for a home run and a 2-1 Yankees lead in the sixth. A great piece of hitting by Matsui, who went 2-for-3 with a walk.

Mark Teixeira(notes) picked up his game check with a home run to put New York on the board in the fourth.

Things worked out for Girardi, who added Jerry Hairston and Jose Molina(notes) to the starting lineup. Both contributed to the victory.

And any time you get a two-inning save, as Rivera did, you've had a good night.

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Head hangers: Alex Rodriguez(notes), who was having a great postseason until the World Series started, went 0-for-4 with three strikeouts. He has six whiffs in eight at-bats so far. Ryan Howard(notes) did even worse, going 0-for-4 with four strikeouts, though he had a beef on the ump's call with the last one.

The umpires. Again. Specifically first-base ump Brian Gorman, who missed Howard trapping a sinking liner on what turned into a rally killing double play for the Yankees in the seventh. He also missed Chase Utley(notes) beating out a grounder on an inning-ending double play (with Howard on deck) in the eighth.

Key play: If there's such a thing as momentum in a baseball game, it turned in the fourth. The Phillies led 1-0 and Jayson Werth(notes) singled to right, but soon was picked off first base by Molina — a somewhat surprising starter in Girardi's lineup. It was a great throw, basically going through batter Raul Ibanez(notes), and it was monumental mental laziness on Werth's part. The Yankees, coincidentally or not, were in control at that point.

Key stat: Burnett threw first-pitch strikes to the first 11 Phillies batters.

What they're talking about: Commissioner Bud Selig seems unwilling to expand instant replay, despite the calls that continue to be missed.

What they're saying:

"I knew it was gonna be crazy. I knew he was gonna be on his game and he was. I'm not much into watching the other guy but I did tonight. That was the fun." — A.J. Burnett

What's next: Just a train ride or two away, Citizens Bank Park takes over for Game 3 on Saturday night. Andy Pettitte(notes), Mr. Playoffs, goes against Cole Hamels(notes), the 2008 World Series MVP.

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