New York Ryan Howard kept striking out. Cole Hamels had a meltdown on the mound. Brad Lidge imploded in a crucial spot.
With their slugger, former ace and closer struggling on the big stage, the Philadelphia Phillies had no chance to repeat. Their bid to become the first NL team in 33 years to win consecutive World Series titles fell two wins short against the New York Yankees with a 7-3 loss in Game 6 Wednesday night.
“Our goal is to come back and play again, and hopefully we play the Yankees again,” manager Charlie Manuel said.
Chase Utley tied Reggie Jackson’s record for homers in a Series with five, and Cliff Lee earned two wins.
But the Phillies couldn’t overcome poor performances by three players who played crucial roles in helping them win the franchise’s second championship in 2008. Hamels was MVP of the World Series last year against Tampa Bay. Lidge got two saves vs. the Rays and Howard had three homers and six RBIs.
They won’t have fond memories of this one.
The Phillies gave Hamels a 3-0 lead in the pivotal Game 3. But after tossing three scoreless innings, the temperamental lefty fell apart. He allowed five runs over 4 1⁄3 innings in an 8-5 loss that gave New York a 2-1 lead.
Lidge, who led the majors with 11 blown saves in the regular season, made one appearance against the Yankees. He entered with the score tied in the ninth inning in Game 4. After retiring the first two batters, Lidge gave up three runs in a 7-4 loss.
Howard, the MVP of the NL championship series against Los Angeles, set a record with 13 strikeouts in a World Series. Willie Wilson fanned 12 times for Kansas City against Philadelphia in 1980.
Howard hit a two-run homer Wednesday night. But the All-Star first baseman finished with a .174 batting average (4 for 23), one homer and three RBIs.
“You don’t look at it as a failure. We had a great season. We just got beat by the better team,” Howard said.