A.J. Burnett pitched his best game of the postseason, lasting seven innings and leaving with the lead.
Was there any doubt who would start the eighth inning?
Not in the mind of Girardi, who called on Mariano Rivera to earn his 14th career postseason save of two innings.
The 39-year-old was equal to the challenge, laboring through the eighth but earning the save in the Yankees' 3-1 victory over the Phillies in front of 50,181 at Yankee Stadium.
Burnett, whose curveball danced and darted as well as it has all season, earned the first postseason victory of his career. He went seven innings, allowing one run and four hits. Burnett walked two and struck out nine, throwing 108 pitches.
Pedro Martinez was nearly as good in his six innings, charged with three runs and six hits. Two of those were solo homers by Mark Teixeira and Hideki Matsui. Martinez walked two and struck out eight.
Rivera came on with a 3-1 lead and gave up a one-out walk to Jimmy Rollins. Shane Victorino then singled, but Rivera ended the 23-pitch inning by getting Chase Utley, who homered twice in Game 1, to ground into a 4-6-3 double play.
Rivera retired the first two Phillies in the ninth - Ryan Howard struck out for the sixth time in nine at-bats - before allowing Raul Ibañez's second double of the game. He got ahead of Matt Stairs 0-and-2, threw two balls and then struck him out with a low cutter to send the Series to Philadelphia tied at 1-1.
Burnett had a far more successful first inning than in his previous start, ALCS Game 5, when the Angels scored four runs on his first 12 pitches. This time 12 pitches were enough to set down the Phillies in order.
The short inning would be an aberration for both starters.
The "Who's your daddy?" chants began after Martinez's first pitch, a ball to Derek Jeter.
Martinez struck out Jeter with an 88-mph fastball and Johnny Damon with a 75-mph curve. Mark Teixeira's pop-out to Jimmy Rollins ended the 17-pitch inning - the easiest inning, in terms of pitch count, Martinez would have until the fifth, when he needed just eight.
Burnett struck out Ryan Howard on an 82-mph curveball to start the second and retired Jayson Werth on a groundout. But Raul Ibañez, who had a two-run single in Game 1, hit an opposite-field double that was just fair, landing on the leftfield line before hopping into the stands.
Matt Stairs followed with a hard grounder just to the left of a lunging Alex Rodriguez, but the ball nipped the underside of his glove and went into left. Ibañez scored on the play, ruled a base hit, to make it 1-0.
Phillies leftfielder Ibañez hurt the Yankees in the bottom half of the inning, too. After Rodriguez - who struck out in six of his eight at-bats in the first two games of the Series - fanned to start the inning, Hideki Matsui singled to right. Robinson Cano then lined one into the gap in left-center, but Ibañez stretched out horizontally and made a diving catch.
Though the Yankees didn't score, they had Martinez at 43 pitches through two innings and 59 through three.
In the fourth, Teixeira, who entered the World Series at 8-for-39 (.205) and went 0-for-4 with two strikeouts in Game 1, reached for Martinez's 83-mph changeup, which was outside, and crushed it 414 feet into the Yankees' bullpen in right-center to tie it at 1. It was his second homer of the postseason.
The Yankees put a runner in scoring position in the fifth when Jeter, who had three hits in Game 1, doubled into the corner in left, but Damon popped to first for the third out.
Matsui, who had two doubles off Martinez in the seventh game of the 2003 ALCS, would give the Yankees the lead in the sixth.
Martinez struck out Teixeira and Rodriguez, both swinging, and got ahead of Matsui 1-and-2. But Matsui lined the righthander's next pitch, a low, slow curveball, a few rows deep into the stands in right for a 320-foot homer to make it 2-1. It was his second career World Series homer and eighth career postseason shot.
Martinez showed signs of tiring in the seventh. Jerry Hairston Jr., who started in right because of Nick Swisher's struggles and his own good career numbers against Martinez (10-for-27), singled to right to start the inning. Brett Gardner pinch ran and went to third when Melky Cabrera singled to right on a hit-and-run.
The inning abruptly turned moments later, though. Jeter struck out for the third time when he bunted foul on an 0-and-2 pitch. Then, against lefthander Scott Eyre, Damon lined a shot toward first baseman Ryan Howard that he gloved close to the ground before throwing the ball to Rollins near second base. Rollins tagged Posada, who was on the base clapping his hands. But it was ruled that Howard had caught the ball before it touched the ground, so when Rollins tagged Posada, it became a double play. After Joe Girardi argued the call, the umpires conferred, then upheld it.