2009 World Series recap

Yankees defeat Phillies, 4 games to 2

September 29th, 2022

By the time the 2009 World Series arrived, the Yankees were mired in what was, for them, a championship slump. After winning four Fall Classics in five years from 1996-2000, New York experienced an eight-year drought that culminated in missing the postseason in 2008 for the first time since before the 1994 strike.

But for the '09 season, the Yankees added first baseman Mark Teixeira, ace CC Sabathia and hard-throwing A.J. Burnett, winning 103 games and the American League East behind second-year manager Joe Girardi. Playoff triumphs over the Twins and Angels set the stage for the franchise's 27th title, but the defending champion Phillies still stood in their way after a 93-win campaign, a National League East crown and postseason victories over the Rockies and Dodgers.

Philadelphia then struck the first blow by beating the Yankees, 6-1, in the new Yankee Stadium's World Series debut. Phillies left-hander Cliff Lee outdueled Sabathia by giving up only one unearned run in a complete game. Chase Utley, who set a Major League record by reaching base in his 26th straight postseason game, smacked two solo homers to stake the Phillies to a 2-0 lead they later stretched against the Yankees bullpen.

But the Yankees responded in Game 2. Pedro Martinez, who joined the Phillies in August of his final season, gave up a game-tying solo homer to Teixeira to start the fourth and a go-ahead shot to Hideki Matsui in the sixth, setting up a 3-1 Yankees victory. Burnett threw seven strong innings in his first World Series start, and Mariano Rivera went the final two for the save.

The action shifted to Citizens Bank Park for Game 3, and the Phillies jumped on Andy Pettitte for a 3-0 lead in the second inning before the Yankees clawed back against Cole Hamels. Alex Rodriguez smacked a two-run homer in the fourth -- thanks to the first use of instant replay in postseason history -- and in the fifth, Pettite's RBI single tied the score before Johnny Damon gave New York a 5-3 lead with a double. The Yankees held on to win, 8-5, to grab the series lead.

Game 4 went down to the wire after Pedro Feliz's solo homer off reliever Joba Chamberlain with two outs in the eighth tied it, 4-4. Phillies closer Brad Lidge got the first two outs of the ninth before Damon singled and ignited a rally. Rodriguez's RBI double put the Yankees in front, Jorge Posada's two-run single provided insurance and Rivera retired the side in order in the bottom of the frame to nail down a 7-4 win.

The Phillies staved off elimination in Game 5, roughing up Burnett for six runs in two-plus innings and helping Lee to his fourth win of the postseason. Utley became the second player in history with two multi-homer games in the same World Series and tied Reggie Jackson for the most big flies in a single World Series, with five. The Yankees made things interesting with a late rally and brought the potential tying run to the plate in the ninth, but Ryan Madson struck out Teixeira to preserve an 8-6 victory.

Back in the Bronx for Game 6, Pettitte tossed a solid 5 2/3 innings on three days' rest for his record 18th career postseason victory. Matsui, in his final game with the Yankees, smacked a two-run homer off Martinez to break a scoreless tie in the second and equaled a Series record with six RBIs to lock up MVP honors. He finished the series hitting .615, the third-highest mark in history. Rivera closed it out with a scoreless 1 2/3 innings in what turned out to be his final World Series appearance.

The result was one last title for the "core four" of Pettitte, Posada, Rivera and Derek Jeter, who hit .407 in the series. It also meant the Yankees had made good on their postseason slogan -- "Win it for The Boss" -- in reference to owner George Steinbrenner, who was in ill health at the time and died the following July.

Path to the World Series
ALCS: New York over Los Angeles (4 games to 2)
NLCS: Philadelphia over Los Angeles (4 games to 1)
ALDS: New York over Minnesota (3 games to 0); Los Angeles over Boston (3 games to 0)
NLDS: Philadelphia over Colorado (3 games to 1); Los Angeles over St. Louis (3 games to 0)

Managers: Joe Girardi, NYY; Charlie Manuel, PHI

MVP: Hideki Matsui, NYY: .615, 3 HRs 8 RBIs