Yanks only need Burnett, Rivera to best Phils

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So, now we know just how the Yankees have decided to address that middle-relief problem; they’re going to bypass it completely.
A.J. Burnett struck out nine over seven innings and Mariano Rivera pitched scoreless eighth and ninth innings Thursday as the Yankees won 3-1 to send the World Series to Philadelphia deadlocked at one game apiece.
The game was tied at 1 until the bottom of the sixth, when Hideki Matsui took a Pedro Martinez curveball and golfed it over the short porch in right field for a solo homer. Martinez finished the inning from there, and common sense suggested that his night was over after 99 pitches.
Charlie Manuel had other ideas, though. Martinez went back out to start the seventh against Jerry Hairston Jr. Hairston, who started over the benched Nick Swisher because he was 10-for-27 against Martinez, managed to dunk one over Ryan Howard’s head into short right. He was immediately removed for Brett Gardner. Melky Cabrera followed by showing bunt on the first pitch. Martinez responded by throwing a high fastball — a pitch that’s very difficult to bunt — on the second pitch, only to see Melky line it into right for another clean single, putting runners on the corners.
That knocked out Pedro. Jorge Posada singled off Chan Ho Park to make it a 3-1 game, and a couple of oddities followed to keep it at that score. After failing in his first two bunt attempts, Derek Jeter tried one more time and fouled the pitch off, resulting in a strikeout. Johnny Damon then hit a little liner towards Ryan Howard, who was credited with a catch and a double play, even though he short-hopped the ball in truth.
Martinez clearly deserved better for what was a pretty stellar outing. He struck out eight, and while Mark Teixeira’s homer in the fourth was legit, Matsui’s was a Yankee Stadium shot. Pedro shouldn’t have been sent back out for the seventh, yet he was unfortunate that things turned out as badly as they did then. Hairston got only a small piece for the ball he hit for a single, and he simply guessed wrong during Melky’s at-bat.
In his first World Series start, Burnett was the big star for the Yankees. He struck out nine, and one of his two walks was intentional. Rivera gave up two hits and a walk in his two innings, but the Phillies couldn’t come up with the hits when they needed them.
The Yankees got their win even though Alex Rodriguez went 0-for-4 with three strikeouts for the second straight game. Damon was also dreadful, and given that he’s unexceptional against lefties anyway, it’d make more sense to sit him than Nick Swisher if the Yankees want Hairston in the lineup again for Game 3 versus Cole Hamels.

Dodgers upset with Héctor Neris after Thursday’s game

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July hasn’t treated Phillies closer Héctor Neris well. Entering Thursday, he had allowed runs in three of his last four appearances, blowing two saves in the process. His struggles continued as he allowed a two-out solo home run to Alex Verdugo in the bottom of the ninth inning on Thursday afternoon, closing the deficit to 7-6. Thankfully for the Phillies, he was able to get the final out, getting Justin Turner to fly out to right field. An excited Neris looked into the Dodgers’ dugout and yelled an expletive.

The four-game series between the Dodgers and Phillies had quite some drama. After Matt Beaty hit a go-ahead three-run home run in the top of the ninth inning on Tuesday, Neris threw a pitch at the next batter, David Freese, seemingly in frustration. Neris was suspended three games. He appealed his punishment, which is why he’s been allowed to pitch. In the fourth inning of Thursday’s game, Max Muncy and Beaty stepped on first baseman Rhys Hoskins‘ ankle on consecutive plays. That, along with his own struggles, explains why Neris might’ve been amped up after closing out the ballgame.

The Dodgers were, understandably, not happy about Neris yelling at them. Several players shouted back, including Clayton Kershaw and Russell Martin. An unamused Muncy glared at Neris. Martin suggested to Neris that they meet in the hallway.

Dodgers manager Dave Roberts said after the game, “I think we played this series the right way, played it straight. To look in our dugout and to taunt in any way, I think it’s unacceptable. Look in your own dugout.”

Muncy said, “He’s blown about eight saves against us over the last two years. I guess he was finally excited he got one. Whatever.”

Neris attributed his outburst to emotions, saying, “It’s a great win for my team and just I let my emotion get out.”

In baseball, everyone is pro-showing-emotion when it’s himself and his teammates, and against when it’s players on the other team. Muncy got into a back-and-forth with Giants starter Madison Bumgarner after flipping his bat and watching his long home run at Oracle Park last month. Bumgarner jawed at him and Muncy said, “I just told him if he doesn’t want me to watch the ball, go get it out of the ocean.”

Neris, however, is the last guy on the Phillies who should be antagonizing the Dodgers after his terrible decision to throw at Freese, not to mention his overall poor performance against them. The Phillies were pigs in mud who wanted to wrestle and the Dodgers jumped in with them for some reason. Thankfully, the two teams are done playing each other for the rest of the regular season.