AJ Burnett humbled Philadelphia's finest hitters while Hideki Matsui and Mark Teixiera smacked home runs to lead the New York Yankees past the Phillies 3-1 yesterday and level the 105th World Series. Burnett struck out nine and scattered four hits in seven innings as the four top batters for the reigning World Series champions went 0-for-10 against him and the Yankees deadlocked Major League Baseball's best-of-seven final at 1-1.
Teixiera, mired in a .186 playoff batting slump, hit a solo homer off a Pedro Martinez fastball in the fourth inning to pull New York even and Japan's Matsui blasted a sixth-inning homer to give the Yankees 2-1 lead. Jorge Posada singled in Jerry Hairston with an insurance run in the seventh inning and New York's Mariano Rivera, the all-time World Series saves leader, entered in the eighth and induced the final six outs for his 10th Series save.
"I wanted to come out and attack, feed off the crowd and the energy," said Burnett. "I've done a good job of being calm in situations but I wanted to come out with some fire." "I knew it was a big game, the biggest I've ever thrown in for this team," he said. "I wanted to set the tone early, be very aggressive. I threw a lot of first-pitch strikes. It made a big difference. I went out with confidence and the game just rolled by."
The scene now shifts to Philadelphia for games three through five starting on Saturday, when Yankee star Andy Pettitte, a four-time Series champion, is set to face fellow southpaw Cole Hamels, last year's Series Most Valuable Player. * AFP