Baseball: Lee's wizardry gives Phillies the ideal start

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The Independent Online

The first World Series game played at the new Yankee Stadium was turned into a sombre affair by Philadelphia Phillies pitcher Cliff Lee. The left-hander gave the crowd of 50,207 little to cheer about while leading the 2008 World Series champions to a 6-1 victory over the New York Yankees in the first game of the 2009 Fall Classic on Wednesday.

On a chilly night with a consistent drizzle, the powerful Yankee hitters were kept off balance by Lee's ability to mix his fastball with an array of off-speed pitches. "That was the key," said Phillies catcher Carlos Ruiz. "If you're the pitcher, you've got to mix it up. He did it very good. His curve and change-up was great all night."

Lee, a mid-season acquisition by the Phillies, struck out 10 while giving up only six hits and an unearned run in the ninth inning. By that time, most of the fans had headed for the exits. "Winning game one is huge," said Lee. "You want to get off to a good start. It's a seven-game series, getting that first one out of the way is big for us. At worst we can split here in New York and go back home with the home field advantage." Game Two was played overnight in New York and took on extra significance for the Yankees.