The Yankees are in 27th heaven.
They were finally able to party like it was 2000 Wednesday night, capturing their first title in nine years by clobbering the Phillies, 7-3, in Game 6 of the World Series in front of 50,315 at the Stadium, which got to witness a championship in its first season.
The Yankees, in winning title No. 27 – the number Joe Girardi slapped on his back two years ago when he took over as manager – got a World Series record-tying six RBI from Hideki Matsui and a another grind-it-out effort by Andy Pettitte, who won his record 18th postseason game.
Matsui, a free agent after the season and likely playing his last game as a Yankee, went 3-for-4, including a two-run homer, and tied Bobby Richardson’s 1960 record for RBI in a Series game. He was named the World Series MVP.
Derek Jeter added to his extensive World Series resume, collecting three hits.
Pettitte, whose comment Tuesday that he “felt terrible” in his Game 3 start in Philadelphia caused some consternation given that he was returning on three days’ rest, was sharp enough over 5 2/3 innings. He allowed three runs and three hits – including a two-run homer – turning things over to Joba Chamberlain, who pitched an inning of scoreless relief. Damaso Marte got a key strikeout of Yankee killer Chase Utley to end the seventh and struck out Ryan Howard to start the eighth.
Leaving nothing to chance with a 7-3 lead, Girardi decided it was time to “Enter Sandman,” calling for Mariano Rivera, three weeks shy of his 40th birthday, to get the final five outs.
Eight years to the night he gave up two runs in the bottom of the ninth to the Diamondbacks in Game 7 of the 2001 Series, Rivera allowed a two-out double to Raul Ibanez in the eighth but got Pedro Feliz to foul out, and pitched a scoreless ninth to finish it.