Cliff Lee looked like he owned Yankee Stadium, putting a signature stamp on his wondrous night with three defensive plays over three consecutive innings. There was his nonchalant catch of a Johnny Damon popup in the sixth, the comebacker to the right side where instead of throwing to first he put a tag on Jorge Posada's rear, and then that behind-the-back catch of a Robinson Cano smash in the eighth. Chase Utley hit a pair of solo home runs to right off Yankees ace CC Sabathia. It should be noted that Sabathia is really good and never had given up a homer to a left-handed batter in the new ballpark. Jimmy Rollins was so "on" that he was even able to try to short-hop a fifth-inning liner off Cano's bat instead of actually catching it -- and then still completing a 6-3 double play after realizing he had in fact caught it. The Phillies never even had to slide into home. They barely had to get a single uniform dirty. They came here and beat a team that had not lost at home in this postseason. They quickly quieted the crowd and never really let the fans back into it. "The fans were pretty rowdy early on in the game," Utley said, "and during the end of the game, I noticed some people left. It was a little bit quieter." That is the image you are left with after one game of this Fall Classic. It is a best-of-seven series, though, and now the question will be how Pedro Martinez -- knows the Yankees well from his Red Sox days -- fares in this setting against A.J. Burnett and the Bombers. Game 2 is at 7:57 p.m. ET (FOX) at Yankee Stadium. Jay-Z and Alicia Keys will perform a pregame rendition of his "Empire State of Mind," followed by John Legend's national anthem, and the house will be rocking.
The question is whether Alex Rodriguez and the Yankees will make it loud. "As far as being frustrated, our guys will grind it out," Yankees manager Joe Girardi said, when asked if his hitters were frustrated by Lee. "I'm not concerned about that." "That's just one win, and that's why you play seven," Phillies center fielder Shane Victorino said. "They're professionals over there. They're a good team. They didn't have the best record for nothing. It's a win and we've got three more to go." Game 1 might have seemed shocking to many, because the Yankees posted the best record in Major League Baseball this season and opened with the home-field advantage. But this is not an underdog. The road goes through the reigning champs. This is a Phillies team thinking parade again -- or more accurately, thinking only of the moment and the next pitch. It just yanked away the Yankees' home-field advantage, earned through the American League's All-Star triumph, and countless fans in the City of Brotherly Love are happy to note that the winners of the first game have won the past six World Series. That streak began when the 2003 Marlins opened on top at Yankee Stadium on their way to the title. "This team didn't win 100 games being desperate," Ryan Howard said of the Yankees. "They're professional. They're not here by accident." The World Series is under way. It might be the first seven-game Fall Classic since 2002, finishing on Nov. 5, later than any in history. It might be a sweep. Who knows? The drama has started. Everyone is watching. For the Phillies, it was like one giant behind-the-back catch. They made it look easy.
GRABBING THE REINS
|Year||Game 1 winner||World Champions|
|2008||Phillies||Phillies in 5|
|2007||Red Sox||Red Sox in 4|
|2006||Cardinals||Cardinals in 5|
|2005||White Sox||White Sox in 4|
|2004||Red Sox||Red Sox in 4|
|2003||Marlins||Marlins in 6|
|2002||Giants||Angels in 7|
|2001||Diamondbacks||Diamondbacks in 7|
|2000||Yankees||Yankees in 5|
|1999||Yankees||Yankees in 4|
|1998||Yankees||Yankees in 4|
|1997||Marlins||Marlins in 7|
|1996||Braves||Yankees in 6|
|1995||Braves||Braves in 6|
Mark Newman is enterprise editor of MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.