Lee leaves them speechless in the Bronx

Chris Ruddick, MLB Editor

Rounding Third Logo Philadelphia, PA (Sports Network) - You are going to be hard pressed to find a better pitching performance than the one Philadelphia Phillies left-hander Cliff Lee threw at the New York Yankees on Wednesday in Game 1 of the World Series at Yankee Stadium.

Lee stymied the potent Yankee offense with a complete-game gem, holding them to just six hits and an unearned run to lower his postseason earned run average to an eye-popping 0.54 through four games.

"I definitely have confidence. I have always been that way. This is the stage I've wanted to get to since I was a little kid," said Lee, who also became the first pitcher to strike out 10 without a walk in back-to-back postseason starts.

Of his 10 strikeouts, seven of them came against the heart of the Yankees order, as he fanned Mark Teixeira and Jorge Posada twice, while whiffing Alex Rodriguez three times.

Cliff Lee's ERA is the seventh-best in a single postseason
in baseball history.
"He was dominant," said Rodriguez, who had entered this series hitting .438. "He seems like he's been in a rhythm for the last year and a half. He threw the ball really well tonight."

How good has Lee been in these playoffs? Well his ERA is the seventh-best in a single postseason in baseball history. Waite Hoyt (1921), Carl Hubbell (1933), Christy Mathewson (1905) and Kenny Rogers (2006) all went through their playoffs without allowing a run, while Sandy Koufax pitched to a 0.38 ERA in 1965 and Harry Brecheen to a 0.45 ERA in 1946.

Lee, though, is the only one of those pitchers to throw more than 30 innings in their impressive postseason runs.

"I'll pat myself on the back when it's over hopefully, but until then I'm going to keep grinding and do everything I do each day to prepare for my next outing and leave it at that," Lee said.


While Lee took care of business on the hill, it was Chase Utley who delivered the offense, as he became the first left-handed hitter to hit two home runs off a left-handed pitcher in a World Series game since Babe Ruth did it in 1928.

"I guess that's pretty good company, but no," Utley said. "You try to take it game-to-game and keep working."

Utley also set a major league record by reaching base safely in his 26th straight postseason game with a walk in the first. He had shared the mark with former Baltimore first baseman Boog Powell, who had reached base safely in 25 consecutive postseason games for the Orioles from 1966-71.


The winner of Game 1 of the World Series has won six straight Fall Classics, 11 of the last 12 and 12 of 14 in the Wild Card era.

Anaheim was the last team to go onto win the series after dropping Game 1 in 2002. The Yankees also rallied to win a series after they dropped the first two games at home to the Atlanta Braves in the 1996 World Series.

New York, though, has now dropped four straight World Series games and has lost the opener in each of its last three appearances in the Fall Classic, dating back to 2000.

Comments? Criticism? Applause? Contact Chris Ruddick at cruddick@sportsnetwork.com.
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