11/01/09 2:29 AM EST
Lack of DH doesn't hinder Yankees
Swisher's bat comes to life; Matsui delivers pinch-hit homer
By Brittany Ghiroli / Special to MLB.com
With the World Series switching to National League rules inside the Phillies' Citizens Bank Park, the Yankees were without the designated hitter on Saturday night, but their lineup still looked every bit like the same Bronx Bombers who led the Major Leagues in home runs this season.
Thanks to a breakout night by Nick Swisher, a pinch-hit homer from Hideki Matsui and a little magic out of the No. 9 hole from Game 3 starter Andy Pettitte, the Yankees' bottom three batting slots generated four hits and three RBIs in New York's pivotal 8-5 victory in front of a crowd of 46,061.
"That's what you hope for," Yankees captain Derek Jeter said of the club's balanced offensive attack. "That's been one of our strengths throughout the year, is [that] we get contribution from our whole lineup."
And Saturday's victory meant different things to different players. For Swisher, who was benched for Game 2 on Thursday night after getting four hits and one RBI in the first two rounds, it was vindication, a freeing feeling considering his oft-chronicled postseason slump.
Following a fifth-inning double and a solo shot in the sixth, the energetic outfielder was all smiles in his postgame interview, taking pictures and recording his session with the media.
"I'm soaking this up," Swisher said, chuckling.
Added manager Joe Girardi: "You don't think that you're going to keep him down every game. But he's battled, and he's had some big hits at times for us during these playoffs."
Godzilla roars in a pinch
Outside of Alex Rodriguez, who homered in the fourth inning, no Yankee has been on an offensive tear like Matsui, who went yard for the second consecutive World Series game. Matsui, New York's usual DH, entered the game in the eighth inning in place of reliever Joba Chamberlain and sent a pitch from Brett Myers over the left field wall. Matsui, 35, is batting .573 (4-for-7) in the Fall Classic's first three games and has four hits and two runs scored in the series.
Matsui's long ball was the 24th pinch-hit homer in World Series history. He has a .370 average (10-for-27) as a pinch-hitter, including the regular and postseason.
The other Yankees to hit pinch-hit homers in the World Series are Jason Giambi (2003), Jim Leyritz (1999), John Blanchard ('61), Elston Howard ('60), Robert Cerv ('55), Johnny Mize ('52) and Yogi Berra ('47).
"Everybody contributed today," catcher Jorge Posada said. "Matsui coming off the bench with a big home run, Swisher's home run, obviously Alex, Johnny [Damon's] double I think was a key hit."
Damon's double scored Jeter and Pettitte in a three-run fifth inning that saw the Yankees take the lead and never look back. Pettitte's one-out single scored Swisher to cap a gutsy performance from the veteran lefty, who battled through six innings to give New York a chance to win.
"Well, first of all, runners in scoring position, I'm going to be a little bit more aggressive," said Pettitte, who jumped on a first-pitch curveball from starter Cole Hamels. "I wasn't taking -- I just saw a ball up in the zone, so I'm not trying to hit a home run, I'm trying to slap the ball around. And fortunately enough, I got a ball up in the zone, and I was able to slap it back up the middle."
Brittany Ghiroli is a contributor to MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.