PHILADELPHIA - By the ninth inning, Phillies fans were preparing for the worst.
The New York Yankees were at it again, chipping away at a dwindling lead and threatening to take away the Phils’ World Series title right there at Citizens Bank Park.
Desperate to hang on, somehow Chase Utley and the Phillies did. Derek Jeter grounded into a double play, Mark Teixeira struck out, and Philadelphia staved off the Yankees and elimination with an 8-6 win in Game 5 on Monday night.
Now comes the hard part: winning twice at Yankee Stadium.
Game 6 will be played Wednesday night, with New York’s Andy Pettitte going on short rest against Pedro Martinez, not exactly a beloved figure in the Bronx.
Utley hit two home runs to raise his Series total to a record-tying five, Cliff Lee won again and Philadelphia cut its deficit to 3-2.
“We didn’t have a choice. It was either go home and watch football and college basketball or extend the season,” Phillies shortstop Jimmy Rollins said.
Ahead 8-2, the Phillies watched New York score three times in the eighth inning and put its first two batters on in the ninth. Jeter’s grounder drove in a run, but the fans on their feet couldn’t exhale until Teixeira struck out as the tying run.
Utley hit a go-ahead, three-run homer in the first inning off A.J. Burnett and added a solo shot in the seventh to join Reggie Jackson as the only players to hit five home runs in a single World Series.
“It’s pretty cool,” Utley said. “It’s pretty surreal. I’m glad we got the win tonight. We’re going back to Yankee Stadium.”
Lee gave up a run-scoring double to Alex Rodriguez in the first inning but settled in until A-Rod chased him with a two-run double in the eighth. Robinson Cano drove in Rodriguez with a sacrifice fly that cut the deficit to 8-5, and New York gave Philadelphia a scare when Jorge Posada doubled and Hideki Matsui singled at the start of the ninth against Ryan Madson, who held on for a save.
The Yankees, who have won the Series all eight previous times they took a 3-1 lead, will try to close out title No. 27.
“If we would have pitched today, we probably would have won,” Yankees manager Joe Girardi said. “That’s the bottom line.”
Pitching on short rest didn’t work well for Burnett, who had been 4-0 previously in his career on three days’ off and kept the Phillies off balance in Game 2. He kept falling behind batters and allowed six runs, four hits and four walks in two-plus innings, his shortest start since his first outing in 2007.
It marked the first time in 14 postseason games this year that a Yankees starter failed to pitch at least six innings.
In a matchup of starters from Arkansas, Lee allowed five runs and seven hits in seven-plus innings. He is 4-0 with a 1.56 ERA in five postseason starts.
Philadelphia ended baseball’s record streak of five straight Series that ended in sweeps or five games, ensuring at least one more telecast in a matchup between big-market teams that has revived baseball’s ratings. The Phillies still face a tall task: The Yankees lost three in a row just twice after the All-Star break and dropped consecutive home games only once after mid-June.
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