Make us your home page

Get the quickest, smartest news, analysis and photos from the Bucs game emailed to you shortly after the final whistle.

(View our Privacy Policy)


NEW YORK — The grand return of the World Series to New York after a six-year absence turned out to not be so special.

At least not for the home team.

As they did last year at Tropicana Field to the Rays, the Phillies crashed the party, snatching the homefield advantage by taking the opener, this time 6-1.

And befitting their role as the other team given all the hype and hyperbole accorded the hosts in their quest for a 27th championship in honor of ailing owner George Steinbrenner, their stars were two of the other guys.

Cliff Lee, the other left-handed ace traded away by Cleveland, not CC Sabathia, threw a dazzling six-hit complete game. And Chase Utley, the other guy coming off hip surgery, not Alex Rodriguez, hit a pair of home runs.

"Winning Game 1 is huge," Lee said. "Getting that first one out of the way is big for us. At worst, we can split here in New York and go back home and really have the homefield advantage."

It was the first Series game in New York since 2003, as well as the first in the $1.5 billion new Yankee Stadium, and featured the requisite pomp and circumstance, including an appearance by first lady Michelle Obama (and the accompanying snipers around the stadium) and glimpses of celebrities of various degree (Kurt Russell?) among the crowd of 50,207, which shrunk rapidly in the later innings.

And, with Steinbrenner making a rare trip up from Tampa to watch, it turned out not to be much fun.

"They kicked our butts," Yankees leftfielder Johnny Damon.

"It's disappointing," captain Derek Jeter said. "They played better than us, and they deserved to win. Hopefully we can play a lot better (tonight)."

With a 2-0 lead on Utley's homers and Sabathia, who is being considered to make three starts, gone after seven, the Phillies had the Yankees exactly where they wanted them — reaching into their bullpen.

Facing the not exactly fear-inducing foursome of Phil Hughes, Damaso Marte, David Robertson and Brian Bruney over the eighth and ninth innings, the Phillies broke out for four more runs.

Lee made it look easy, working quickly, changing speeds and attacking the strike zone, throwing the first Series complete game in six years. Even easier when he put his glove behind his back to snare Robinson Cano's shot at the start of the eighth. "I don't know how I caught that ball,'' he said.

Lee, now 3-0 with a 0.54 ERA in four postseason starts held the high-scoring Yankees to just four hits over the first eight innings, struck out 10 and allowed only three runners past first base.

"We really didn't get him in trouble much at all," Jeter said. Sabathia, who had zipped through his first three postseason starts (3-0, 1.19) loaded the bases in a 25-pitch first inning and escaped then, but made the two costly mistakes to Utley. "Just missed location both times," Sabathia said.

He allowed the two runs on four hits over seven innings. But more important going forward might be the 113 pitches he threw as the Yankees decide whether to bring him back on three days' rest for Game 4.

Utley— who hit a tone-setting first-inning homer in the opener against the Rays last year - had a memorable night.

His first at-bat was historic as he walked to set a postseason record by reaching base in 26 consecutive games, breaking a tie with Boog Powell.

The next two were a bit more significant.

In the third, with two outs, Utley, who hit just .211 with one RBI in the NLCS, worked a nine-pitch at-bat and looped a full-count pitch high and just over the rightfield fence. With one out in the sixth, he turned on an 0-and-2 pitch and drove it deep into the right-centerfield seats. They were the first homers by a visitor in the six postseason games at Yankee Stadium and the first allowed to a lefty at home by Sabathia the entire season (18 starts).

"Utley can hit," Jeter said.

"You hear everyone talking about Jimmy (Rollins) and (Ryan) Howard," Phillies closer Brad Lidge said. "You know you've got a pretty good lineup when people forget about Chase Utley."

Marc Topkin can be reached at

1 for the road

This article has been revised to reflect the following correction:

(10/30/2009) CORRECTION: The Braves won Game 1 of the 1996 World Series 12-1 at New York but lost the series in six to the Yankees. A chart Thursday was incorrect (correction was made below in copy after story had published)

The Phillies' victory Wednesday at New York is the seventh time a road team has won World Series Game 1 since the playoffs expanded in 1995. Of the previous six, five FOUR went on to win the series:

Year TeamOpponentScoreResult
2008PhilliesRays3-2Phillies in 5
2006CardinalsTigers7-2Cardinals in 5
2003MarlinsYankees3-2Marlins in 6
2002GiantsAngels4-3Angels in 7
1999YankeesBraves4-1Yankees in 4
1995 1996BravesIndians Yankees3-2 12-1Braves in 6 Yankees in 6

Show-stealers 10/28/09 [Last modified: Friday, October 30, 2009 5:48pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times


Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

  1. Rays see the Blake Snell they've been waiting for in win over Mariners

    The Heater

    ST. PETERSBURG — It was a one-run game Sunday when the Mariners' Robinson Cano singled with one out in the seventh inning, bringing the dangerous Nelson Cruz to the plate.

    Tampa Bay Rays starting pitcher Blake Snell (4) throwing in the third inning of the game between the Seattle Mariners and the Tampa Bay Rays at Tropicana Field in St. Petersburg, Fla. on Sunday, Aug. 20, 2017.
  2. Bucs journal: Demar Dotson (mild groin strain) expected back for opener


    TAMPA — The Bucs got good news Sunday on starting right tackle Demar Dotson, whose MRI exam showed only a mild right groin sprain and who should be back at practice next week.

    Tackle Demar Dotson has only a mild groin strain.
  3. Bucs counting on better health creating better pass rush


    TAMPA — Ask Bucs coaches about the improved depth and health of their defensive line, and they'll look around for a piece of wood to knock on.

    Retired All-Pro defensive end  Simeon Rice, right, the last Buc to have double-digit sacks in a season,  works with defensive end Ryan Russell, who last season was promoted from the practice squad for the second half of the year as injuries piled up. He is competing for a backup job this year.
  4. Rays journal: Jake Faria heads to DL with left abdominal strain

    The Heater

    ST. PETERSBURG — RHP Jacob Faria made the trek he didn't want to take after his last start. It was to the trainer's room. The pain in his left abdominal went from nagging to an issue during his start that night in Toronto.

    Tampa Bay Rays starting pitcher Jacob Faria (34) throwing in the first inning of the game between the Milwaukee Brewers and the Tampa Bay Rays at Tropicana Field in St. Petersburg, Fla. on Friday, August 4, 2017.
  5. Rays up next: vs. Blue Jays, 7:10 p.m. Tuesday, Tropicana Field

    The Heater

    Tonight: Off

    Up next: vs. Blue Jays, 7:10 p.m. Tuesday, Tropicana Field.