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Yankees hit two solo homers to even series

October 30, 2009

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New York Yankees’ Hideki Matsui, right, is congratulated by Jerry Hairston Jr. after hitting a home run against Philadelphia Phillies pitcher Pedro Martinez during the sixth inning. The Yankees won, 3-1, on Thursday in New York.

New York Yankees’ Hideki Matsui, right, is congratulated by Jerry Hairston Jr. after hitting a home run against Philadelphia Phillies pitcher Pedro Martinez during the sixth inning. The Yankees won, 3-1, on Thursday in New York.

— Mark Teixeira and Hideki Matsui shook the New York Yankees from their lumber slumber and sent the World Series to Philadelphia all tied up.

Teixeira and Matsui hit solo homers off familiar foe Pedro Martinez, backing a sharp performance by A.J. Burnett and giving the Yankees a 3-1 victory over the Philadelphia Phillies in Game 2 on Thursday night.

“After yesterday, getting a win today was big,” Teixeira said.

A night after getting stopped by Cliff Lee in the opener, 6-1, the Yanks bounced back from an early deficit, sparked by a pickoff throw from backup catcher Jose Molina, and won in the Series for the first time since taking a 2-1 lead against Florida in 2003.

After a day off, Game 3 will be at Philadelphia on Saturday night. The Phillies had been hoping for more than a split but were content.

“I always like to be 2-0 over 1-1. But it is what it is,” manager Charlie Manuel said. “I’ve got to accept it.”

Light-hitting Matt Stairs put the Phillies on top with an RBI single in the second. Burnett then used a biting curveball to keep Philadelphia from advancing another runner past second base against him.

Teixeira, in an 8-for-44 (.182) postseason slump, tied the score when he led off the fourth by driving a high changeup into the Yankees bullpen in right field.

“I think the home run got the crowd back in it,” Teixeira said. “It kind of put a little bit of a crack in their armor.”

Matsui put New York ahead with two outs in the sixth, reaching down for a curveball below his knees and sending it a few rows into the seats in right.

“I was able to make a good adjustment and put a good swing on it, and fortunately it led to the result,” he said through a translator.

Jorge Posada pinch-hit in the seventh and added an RBI single off Chan Ho Park.

Burnett got his first win following three postseason no-decisions for the Yankees, allowing four hits in seven innings and retiring his last eight batters.

“He went to his bread-and-butter, that backdoor curveball. It’s impossible to hit,” Stairs said.

Burnett struck out nine, — including Ryan Howard three times — and started his first 11 hitters with strikes, nine of them looking. Burnett kept his control, walking two, one of them intentional.

“I just wanted to come out and set the tone early and be very aggressive,” Burnett said. “My key was strike one tonight.”

After Game 1, he was walking in the clubhouse kitchen and heard Lee talk about confidence during an on-field interview.

“He talked about belief in his stuff, and all I told myself last night and today was the same thing,” Burnett said. “I went out tonight with confidence, and just, you know, the game just rolled by.”

Mariano Rivera got six outs for his 38th postseason save, his 10th in World Series play. After the Phillies put two on with one out in the eighth, Game 1 star Chase Utley grounded into an inning-ending double play. He fanned Howard looking starting the ninth — the Philadelphia slugger’s first four-strikeout game since July 21 — then struck out Stairs with a runner at second to end it.

Several moves by Yankees manager Joe Girardi paid off.

Molina made his fourth straight postseason start as Burnett’s personal catcher and picked off Jayson Werth at first base after a leadoff single in the fourth — the Phillies next-to-last base-runner off Burnett.

“It got him through that inning,” Girardi said.

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