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11/02/09 3:30 AM EST

Yanks on verge of road to success

Bombers trying to win Series with three straight in Philly

If the Phillies can extend the 2009 World Series and send it back to New York, they'll avoid repeating a little bit of history they'd just as soon not revisit.

The last time a road team swept three games to leave town with the World Series title, it happened right across the street from Citizens Bank Park where Veterans Stadium used to stand, when the 1983 Orioles swept three in Philadelphia to claim the world championship.

That World Series ended with Cal Ripken Jr. clutching a sinking liner off the bat of Garry Maddox. It began with a split in Baltimore, and the Orioles followed with victories in Philadelphia of 3-2, 5-4 and 5-0.

This year, a split at Yankee Stadium has been followed by back-to-back victories by the Yankees at Citizens Bank Park, including Sunday night's 7-4 defeat of the home team in Game 4 that put the Phillies on the brink heading into Game 5 tonight.

The Yanks are hoping to become the sixth team to sweep three games on the road to finish off a World Series. The first five:
Year Winner Opponent
1983 Phillies Orioles
1961 Yankees Reds
1949 Yankees Dodgers
1942 Cardinals Yankees
1941 Yankees Dodgers

With A.J. Burnett taking the ball for the Yankees against Phillies ace lefty Cliff Lee, the 2009 Yankees are trying to become the sixth team to split at home and then go on the road to sweep three games to win a seven-game World Series.

Before the Orioles escaped from Philadelphia with a title, the previous team to pull the championship-clinching road sweep was a Yankees club. The 1961 Yankees went to Cincinnati's Crosley Field and won three games, capping it off with a 13-5 victory over the Reds.

In fact, the Yankees, making their 40th World Series appearance this year, were involved in every other instance of a team heading into foreign territory and bringing home the hardware. The 1949 Yankees went to Brooklyn and took three, the 1942 Cardinals pulled the trick on the Yankees, and the 1941 Yankees also took three games in Brooklyn to finish off a title.

John Schlegel is a national reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.