A-Rod Gut Punches Phils

In a painful final-inning finish, A-Rod leads Yankees to a big comeback, 5-4

PHI brad lidge takes loss against yankees
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It was a gut-punch for the Phils. After leading the entire game, and with the score 4-2 in the bottom of the ninth, A-Rod stepped up to the plate. He slammed a two-run homer off Lidge that went over the right-field fence and tied the game, 4-4. Right after that, Melky Cabrera wrapped it up with a game-ending single.

You would have thought it was the World Series or something the way the Yanks came screaming out of the dugout to celebrate their 5-4 win. It was their 13th comeback of the year. "Right now, I'm probably the happiest .200 hitter in baseball," Rodriguez said.

Brad Lidge took the loss. "We went fastball away after throwing six sliders in a row," Lidge said. "It was pretty impressive that he was able to do what he did. We didn't expect him to hit it." Lidge came on in the ninth and immediately got in trouble. Johnny Damon drew a leadoff walk and stole second. After Mark Teixeira struck out, Rodriguez smacked his seventh homer -- and 10th hit -- after missing the first 28 games this season following hip surgery.

Lidge, who converted all 48 save chances in 2008 -- including the postseason -- during his first year in Philadelphia, has blown three of 11 opportunities this season. His ERA climbed to 9.16. "His stuff's good and his breaking ball's good. Give them credit. He made some pitches and they hit 'em," Phillies manager Charlie Manuel said.

Before the nightmare in the night, the Phils had good stuff to talk about. John Mayberry Jr. hit a three-run homer in his major league debut. In his second career at-bat, Mayberry lined a rocket to left field against Andy Pettitte in the fifth. Smiling in the stands and wearing a Phillies cap was Mayberry's father, John, a two-time All-Star who hit 255 homers in 15 big league seasons. In a neat twist, Mayberry Sr.'s final home run came for New York at the old Yankee Stadium on Aug. 8, 1982, against Texas. It also was a three-run shot, off lefty Jon Matlack.

"I didn't know that," said Mayberry Jr., who planned to have dinner with his dad after the game. "It's kind of cool." After his homer, the Phillies had some fun with the younger Mayberry, giving him the silent treatment in the dugout for a moment. He cracked a big smile, and they finally jumped off the bench to congratulate him. "It was incredibly exciting -- more than I ever imagined," Mayberry Jr. said. "You can't draw it up any better than this."

The homer led to some confusion on television for Fox, however. The network thought it had a shot showing Mayberry Sr. cheering in the stands, but it turned out to be some other Phillies fan. Fox acknowledged its gaffe on the air, then later found Mayberry's dad.

Raul Ibanez also hit a homer. It was his 17th homer of the season. It came in the second inning and helped the Phillies build a 4-2 lead for new starter J.A. Happ.

For Rodriguez, it was his sixth homer in eight games and No. 560 of his career, three shy of Hall of Famer Reggie Jackson for 11th place. "We had the last punch," Rodriguez said. "We're at home and we feel very comfortable."

The series finale is Sunday, with World Series MVP Cole Hamels on the mound against New York's CC Sabathia in a marquee matchup of ace left-handers. The third game of the series is Sunday at 1:05 p.m.

Copyright AP - Associated Press
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