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A-Rod's down, but Teixeira, Matsui pick him up

Alex Rodriguez flips his bat after striking out

Alex Rodriguez flips his bat after striking out against Pedro Martinez during the sixth inning of Game 2 of the World Series. (Oct. 29, 2009) Credit: AP

Alex Rodriguez has carried the Yankees for most of the postseason. On Thursday night, the other guys in the middle of the order carried him.

A-Rod had his second straight 0-for-4, three-strikeout game in his first World Series. For the mathematically challenged, that makes the best player in the first two rounds of the playoffs 0-for-8 with six strikeouts in the World Series.

"It's eight at-bats," Rodriguez said. "I'm not concerned at all. Guys picked me up today. It's 1-1. There's a lot of baseball left. It's going to be a war. It's a five-game series now."

Rodriguez was picked up by Mark Teixeira and Hideki Matsui, who hit solo home runs off Pedro Martinez in the Yankees' series-tying 3-1 victory over the Phillies at Yankee Stadium.

>>VIDEO: Click here to see Newsday reporters wrap up Game 2

"Thus far in the postseason, Alex has carried the entire offense," Teixeira said. "I'm going to bet he'll get a hit in this series. If not, me and the other guys will have to step up."

Teixeira, who was batting .186 in the postseason going into Thursday night, did the first stepping up. He homered to right-center off Martinez to lead off the fourth inning, tying the game at 1.

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"I think for Tex, we've had so many days off, and Tex seems to be a rhythm hitter," manager Joe Girardi said. "We're going to have another day off and then we're going to play three days in a row. Getting to play, I think, is important. All the days off can be frustrating sometimes for players, for hitters. And some other hitters it helps physically. But I thought it was an important base hit for us. Obviously, [Teixeira's] is a big hit. It ties the ballgame. We hadn't done much against Pedro up until that point, and it kind of got us going."

Matsui gave the Yankees their first lead of the series when he hit a shorter homer to right - it still counts, though - to make it 2-1 in the sixth. That blast came after Martinez had struck out Teixeira and Rodriguez.

"His home run was huge," Girardi said. "It's the first lead we've had in this series in the two games, and it allows you to get your bullpen up in a sense the way you want to."

The Yankees will lose Matsui's bat in the next three games at Citizens Bank Park, as there will be no designated hitter. He has not played the outfield all season. That could make it even more vital for Teixeira and Rodriguez to provide power for the Yankees.

>>VIDEO: Click here to see faithful fans in the Bronx giving predictions

"I know he'll bounce back," Girardi said of A-Rod. "Obviously, you want him to continue on the torrid pace that he was on, but he'll bounce back, and we'll get it going with him in Philly."

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