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We Go On: Phillies 8, Yankees 6

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Facing their first elimination game in the last two postseason, the Phillies rose to the occasion once again behind Chase Utley's power and Cliff Lee's guts, holding off a furious late Yankees rally to send the World Series back to the Bronx for Game Six Wednesday night. 

Lee wasn't quite as sharp in his second start of the Series as he was in the opener, but through the first seven innings he held the Yankees to single runs in the first, on an Alex Rodriguez RBI double that scored Johnny Damon, and the fifth, on a Damon groundout that plated Eric Hinske.  Using all his pitches once again, he held New York to four hits and three walks through seven, striking out three. 

Meanwhile, the Phillies battered A.J. Burnett, working on three days rest after shackling the Phils in Game Two. Trailing 1-0 in the bottom of the first, Jimmy Rollins singled, Shane Victorino was hit by a pitch on his hand while trying to bunt. That brought up Utley, who crushed Burnett's first pitch for a three-run homer--his fourth of the Series. Two innings later, they chased Burnett after he started the inning with walks to Utley and Ryan Howard and surrendered a run-scoring single to Jayson Werth. Raul Ibanez followed with a single to bring Howard home, and Burnett gave way to David Robertson. The Phils added another run on a Carlos Ruiz groundout to go up 6-1. Utley struck again off lefty Phil Coke in the bottom of the 7th, blasting his fifth home run of the Series to tie Reggie Jackson's record. Later in the inning, Ibanez hit a tape-measure shot off the facing of the upper deck to make it 8-2. 

Then disaster nearly struck. Continuing a run of questionable in-game decisions over the last three days, Charlie Manuel pulled Victorino to start the top of the 8th, sending Ben Francisco in to play center field; Victorino was obviously perplexed that Francisco was coming in for him, rather than Ibanez. The decision loomed large as the inning unfolded: Lee, over 100 pitches, seemed to have Damon struck out on a curveball, but couldn't get the call. On the next pitch, Damon hit a soft grounder to short that Rollins could not get out of his glove. Mark Teixiera followed with a double to left, putting men on second and third with none out. The next hitter was Rodriguez, who turned on a first-pitch fastball that Ibanez dove for and saw bounce off the heel of his glove, scoring both men. With the lead cut to 8-4, Lee gave way to Chan Ho Park, who got Nick Swisher on a groundout and induced a fly to shallow center from Robinson Cano. But Francisco's weak throw was too late to get Rodriguez at the plate, and the Yankees had pulled within three runs at 8-5. 

It stayed that way going into the 9th, with Ryan Madson now on for the Phillies. Jorge Posada began the inning with a double to right that barely stayed in the park; Hideki Matsui followed with a single through the hole on the left side to put runners at the corners. With visions of disaster dancing in a million Philadelphian heads, Madson fell behind Derek Jeter 2-0--but came back to induce a 6-4-3 double play as Posada scored to make it 8-6. Damon, again the Yankees' most effective hitter, battled back from an 0-2 hole to single up the middle. But with the crowd roaring, Madson struck out Teixiera to end the game and send the Series back to New York.

This is still a steep uphill climb. But they didn't go out feebly, and with the bats hopefully heating up at last, they've got a puncher's chance as the Series shifts back to New York.