NEW YORK - Game 1 couldn't have worked out better for the Phillies.
First of all, they got the win. Teams that win Game 1 have won the last six World Series.
Secondly, they eked out enough offense to beat Yankees ace CC Sabathia. Beating Sabathia last night was crucial for the Phillies' chances in this series.
"We won a game tonight. We got one win," manager Charlie Manuel downplayed. "Tomorrow we'll come to the ballpark, we're going to come to win."
Chase Utley's solo home runs accounted for the only two runs the Phils managed off Sabathia in last night's 6-1 win. Utley went 2-for-2 with a walk against the powerful lefty. His home runs also were the first Sabathia has given up to a lefthanded hitter all year at Yankee Stadium. Utley also was the first lefthanded hitter to hit multiple home runs off a lefthanded pitcher in a World Series game since Babe Ruth hit a pair off Bill Sherdel of St. Louis in 1928.
"My approach was to try to make him work a little bit," said Utley, who homered in the third and sixth innings. "I just wanted to try to hit his fastball."
"He's been there for us all year," Ryan Howard said of Utley. "For him to come out the way he did, especially against CC with those two home runs, was huge."
While Sabathia was icing down his left arm after throwing 113 pitches in seven innings, Phils starter Cliff Lee was still mowing down the Yankees. Lee was still hitting the 90s with his fastball in the ninth inning of his complete game.
"Every game I pitch I always want to pitch all nine innings and put up all zeroes, but that's not reality; that's going to happen," Lee said.
Pitching with the lead is always much more advantageous and Utley's homers allowed Lee to dictate the game.
"Sabathia had a ton of momentum coming into this series," Phils closer Brad Lidge pointed out, "and to get to him enough and do some damage on their bullpen is pretty big. With what Cliff was doing, there was no room for error for CC."
So now the Yankees must regroup. The biggest weapon in their arsenal did not give them the victory they needed. They lost Game 1 and homefield advantage.
"I don't feel like we're intimidated [by Sabathia]," Utley said. "We all have confidence."