Baseball: 'Old goats' Pettitte and Martinez set for Game Six duel

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The Independent Online

Longtime adversaries Andy Pettitte and Pedro Martinez will turn back the clock for a World Series pitching duel in today's Game Six between the New York Yankees and Philadelphia Phillies.

With the best-of-seven series poised at 3-2 in the Yankees' favour, the 38-year-old Martinez will pitch to keep the Phillies alive and send the Fall Classic to a Game Seven.

Pettitte, a year younger that Martinez, wants to nail down the Yankees' 27th Fall Classic crown.

"Just two old goats out there doing the best they can and having fun with it," Philadelphia starter Martinez, a three-times Cy Young winner, told reporters on Tuesday.

Martinez and Pettitte, who owns a record 17 career postseason wins, do not throw as hard as they used to but depend on pitching savvy, variety and placement to succeed.

"Me and Derek (Jeter) were talking about it in the clubhouse last night, just how strange is this, after all the battles with him being in Boston," left-hander Pettitte said, referring to Martinez's seven seasons with the Red Sox.

"What you see is a combination of experience and instinct," Martinez said. "It's just instinct, surviving."

Survival is the name of Game Six for the Phillies, who fought off elimination in Philadelphia on Monday with an 8-6 victory.

Phillies manager Charlie Manuel said he had faith in Martinez, who gave up three runs in six innings in losing his Game Two start, but thought both pitchers would have their hands full with the explosive lineups they faced.

"I think offense is starting to pick up actually on both teams, the way we've been starting to hit the ball," he said.

Martinez is 8-5 pitching against the Yankees in New York, but 0-3 against them in his last six postseason appearances.

The Dominican missed much of last season with the Mets due to injuries and as a free agent this year did not sign with the Phillies until July. He has been brought along slowly, making only nine regular-season starts in posting a 5-1 record.

Pettitte is pitching on short rest, three days off instead of the customary four, for the first time in years.

"I guess you'd probably fatigue a little bit quicker than you normally would, just because your body gets so into a routine of pitching on every fifth day and then you're shortening your rest time a little bit," Pettitte admitted.

"It's been a great series," Pettitte added.

"I think everybody knew it was going to be a great series. I think everybody knew it was going to be a tough series. And it looks like it's living up to that."

New York have outscored Philadelphia 25-24 in the series yet the hard-hitting Phils have had 10 home runs to the Yankees' 5.

Phillies second baseman Chase Utley's five home runs in this series - three off left-handers - tied the World Series record set by Reggie Jackson with the Yankees in 1977.

Since the final games will be played at Yankee Stadium, the 'designated hitter' will be back in use and Hideki Matsui will rejoin New York's starting lineup.