World Series: Lidge perfect postseason ends

PHILADELPHIA (AP) - November 2, 2009 History says it's not over yet for the Phillies -Take a look at other teams that came back from a 3-1 deficit to win the World Series!

In his first World Series appearance since striking out Eric Hinske to clinch the title last year, Lidge gave up three runs in the ninth inning and the Philadelphia Phillies lost 7-4 to the New York Yankees in Game 4 on Sunday night.

The Yankees have a 3-1 lead and can clinch their 27th title in Philadelphia on Monday night.

"You always want to go out there and have good results," Lidge said. "Any time you don't do well, it's frustrating. Obviously, the guys did a great job coming back tonight. I really wish we could have come out with the win here. We've got to get back to New York and keep going. Hopefully I get another chance to get out there and get a win or a save for our team."

Lidge had turned around a nightmare season by going 1-0 with three saves in three chances this postseason. He didn't pitch in the first three games against the Yankees before entering a tie game in the ninth.

After retiring the first two batters, the hard-throwing right-hander fell apart. He nearly struck out Johnny Damon on a 2-2 pitch that barely missed. Damon then lined a 3-2 pitch to left for a single. Damon stole second on the first pitch to Mark Teixeira, got up after sliding and took third with no one covering because of an exaggerated shift.

Lidge hit Teixeira with a pitch, bringing up Alex Rodriguez. A-Rod lined an RBI double to put the Yankees ahead and Jorge Posada followed with a two-run single to make it 7-4.

"I threw a fastball in," Lidge said of the pitch to Rodriguez. "I think it was actually a decent pitch, but we've gone in there a lot and you've got to give them some credit, too. I guess it could have been off the plate in, but they've been doing a good job hitting. He's a pretty good hitter."

Lidge hadn't allowed a run in five appearances this postseason. Damon's sprint for third seemed to rattle him.

"Did he lose his focus? I think the first two hitters, he did real well," manager Charlie Manuel said. "He was up 1-2 in the count on Damon. Damon had a real good at-bat and ran the count out to 3-2. But once he stole, did he lose focus? I don't know. I mean, he was having trouble. But at the same time, the way he started the inning, he was fine."

Now the defending champs are on the verge of elimination. They'll turn to ace Cliff Lee, who shut down the Yankees in Game 1.

While CC Sabathia pitched effectively on three days' rest for the Yankees, Joe Blanton got the nod over Lee for Game 4 because the 2008 AL Cy Young Award winner has never pitched on three days' rest in his career.

Blanton allowed four runs in six innings in his second start of the playoffs.

"I think Joe - after the first inning when he gave up a couple runs - he did very well," Manuel said. "I thought he did a real good job."

The Phillies got a poor outing from Cole Hamels in Game 3. Last year's World Series and NLCS MVP, Hamels gave up five runs over 4 1-3 innings in an 8-5 loss.

Lidge was 48 for 48 in save opportunities last season, including seven in the playoffs. Without him, the Phillies probably wouldn't have won the division let alone their second World Series title in franchise history.

But this year was a disaster for Lidge. He led the majors with 11 blown saves and went 0-8 with a 7.21 ERA, temporarily losing his closer's job a couple times.

Manuel didn't commit to using Lidge exclusively as the closer when the playoffs started. But when he needed someone to preserve a 6-5 lead in Game 3 of the NL division series against Colorado, Manuel called on Lidge to pitch the ninth.

Lidge retired Rockies cleanup hitter Troy Tulowitzki with the tying run at second to secure that win. Less than 24 hours later, he struck out Tulowitzki with two runners on to finish a 5-4 victory that sent the Phillies to the NL championship series.

Lidge pitched out of a jam to earn another save in an 8-6 win over the Los Angeles Dodgers in Game 1 of the NLCS, and he got his first win of the year in Game 4 when Jimmy Rollins hit a two-out, two-run double in the ninth.




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