PHILADELPHIA — Guess who showed up for Halloween dressed as sluggers?
The New York Yankees and Alex Rodriguez, whose double clanked off a television camera in the right-field corner and was ruled a home run in the first instant replay call in World Series history.
It changed the game.
“I think it woke our offense up a little bit,” Rodriguez said after the Yankees rallied for a rain-delayed 8-5 victory over the Philadelphia Phillies on Saturday night that gave them a 2-1 Series lead.
Rodriguez and the rest of those dangerous New York bats finally broke loose to back another postseason win by Andy Pettitte.
Game 4 is Sunday night. Joe Blanton pitches against Yankees ace CC Sabathia, who goes on three days’ rest for the second time this postseason.
After pitching dominated the first two games in the Bronx, the Yankees and defending champion Phillies flexed their muscles, combining for six home runs at cozy Citizens Bank Park. Jayson Werth connected twice for Philadelphia.
Rain affected the Series schedule in Philly for the second consecutive year, delaying the start by 1 hour, 20 minutes. Once they hit the field in front of their boisterous fans, the Phillies built a 3-0 lead — but it was squandered by a struggling Cole Hamels, last year’s World Series MVP.
A slumping Nick Swisher and pinch-hitter Hideki Matsui also went deep for the Bronx Bombers, while Johnny Damon hit a tiebreaking, two-run double.
“This was my first time coming to this ballpark. It just seems like you’re going to have a slugfest a lot,” Swisher said. “It was a great day for us.”
Pettitte settled down after a shaky start and even helped himself at the plate with a tying single. His six-inning outing was enough to earn his 17th postseason win, extending his major league record.
“He closed off our left-handed hitters,” Philadelphia manager Charlie Manuel said.
Especially slugger Ryan Howard. The NL championship series MVP is 2 for 13 with nine strikeouts in the Series.
“Go home and go to sleep. I’m a simple guy,” he said. “We’re not going to panic by any means just because we’re down in the Series.”
Some fans were dressed in Phillies red, others in full costume for the second-ever World Series game on Halloween. They whipped around white rally towels, but the trick was on them — their team got whipped when the Yankees rallied.
Carlos Ruiz homered for the Phillies in the ninth off Phil Hughes. Mariano Rivera finished up at 12:42 a.m. in a non-save situation.
“It was an absolute grind tonight, that’s for sure,” Pettitte said. “I can’t remember winning a game where I’ve struggled like I did tonight. So it’s very gratifying.”
With the Yankees down three runs, Mark Teixeira walked in the fourth and Rodriguez hit an opposite-field drive into the right-field corner. He cruised into second base after the ball ricocheted back onto the field.
Video replays, however, showed the ball struck the lens of a television camera positioned just above the fence at the 330-foot sign. New York manager Joe Girardi came out to talk with right-field umpire Jeff Nelson as Phillies pitching coach Rich Dubee visited the mound.
While Rodriguez chatted with Howard at second base, umpires huddled in the infield. Four of the six went under the stands for a look at the replay and emerged about a minute later.
The signal: home run.
Baseball adopted instant replay for boundary calls during the 2008 season and Rodriguez homered the first time it was used last year.
“It’s only fitting, right?” he said.
Rodriguez’s first hit in nine World Series at-bats was his sixth homer this postseason, tying Bernie Williams’ club record from 1996. It also was the 17th postseason homer this year for the Yankees, setting a franchise mark.
The call seemed to give the Yankees a boost and help them break out of their Series slump — the team that led the majors in runs (915) and homers (244) during the regular season scored only four times in the first two games at home.
“Tonight I was a lot more disciplined, and better results,” Rodriguez said.
New York kept hitting in the fifth and chased Hamels. Benched in Game 2 at home, Swisher opened with a double and slid home with the tying run when Pettitte looped a one-out single to center on a first-pitch breaking ball.
It was Pettitte’s third hit in 18 career postseason at-bats, second in World Series play.
Who needs a designated hitter?
The Fox broadcast caught Derek Jeter saying to plate umpire Brian Gorman: “We’re going to have to listen to Pettitte now. He’s been bragging about his hitting all year.”
Jeter fisted a soft single and Damon cracked a two-run double to right-center for a 5-3 lead. Hamels was lifted after another walk to Teixeira and walked off the mound to a mix of boos and cheers.
The lanky left-hander, who was 4-0 with a 1.80 ERA in the postseason last year, fell to 1-2 with a 7.58 ERA in four outings this time around.
Swisher homered off rookie J.A. Happ in the sixth and took a long look at his solo shot to left.
Werth answered leading off the bottom half with a mammoth drive off the facing of the second deck in left. After connecting, he slammed his bat to the ground and glared into the Philadelphia dugout as if to urge on his teammates.
It was Werth’s seventh home run this postseason, one shy of the major league record held by Carlos Beltran (2004) and Barry Bonds (2002).
Jorge Posada’s RBI single in the seventh gave New York a three-run cushion. Matsui added an opposite-field solo shot to left in the eighth, his second homer in two games.
Matsui was on the bench because World Series rules don’t permit a DH in National League parks.
Pettitte fell behind 3-0 in the second. Werth reached down for a breaking ball and hit a leadoff homer to left, setting off fireworks and lighting up the Liberty Bell in right-center.
With the bases loaded, Jimmy Rollins walked to force in a run and Shane Victorino added a sacrifice fly.
Pettitte avoided further damage by striking out Chase Utley, then settled in and held Philadelphia in check. That gave the Yankees a chance to come back.
The Phillie Phanatic was wearing a rain-slicker and fisherman’s hat when he high-fived Mike Schmidt as the Hall of Famer walked to the mound to throw out the first pitch to Howard.
The grounds crew was still drying puddles on the warning track as the Phillies took the field.
Last season, Game 5 of the World Series between the Phillies and Tampa Bay was suspended for two days because of rain. Once it resumed — in the sixth inning — the Phillies went on to a 4-3 victory that clinched the championship.
Last year’s Game 3 started at 10:06 p.m. because of rain and didn’t end until 1:47 a.m. It was the latest start in Series history.
NOTES: The Phillies dropped to 11-2 at home the past two postseasons. … Nine of the last 10 teams to win Game 3 when the World Series was tied 1-all went on to take the title. The exception was the 2003 Yankees, who lost the next three games to Florida.