— NEW YORK - It all was going suspiciously too easy for the Philadelphia Phillies:
The potential momentum-building Game 1 victory in hostile territory.
The Koufax-esque dominance of Cliff Lee, backed by Chase Utley doing something last accomplished in World Series play by Babe Ruth.
And then the early 1-0 lead in Game 2 behind Pedro Martinez — right in the face of ‘who's your daddy?’ chants reverberating through Yankee Stadium.
No, this wasn't the way we thought things would unfold in this series that is supposed to put ‘the World’ back in the World Series.
The one matching two teams acknowledged as the best in the game, complete with powerful offenses, power pitching, and a handful of future Hall of Famers.
The one that could go seven games for the first time since 2002. All wrapped up in a regional rivalry separated only by about 100 miles of Interstate 95.
And now, we have it.
Mark Teixeira brought a miniscule .183 postseason batting average into Game 2, but tied the score at 1-1 by hitting a high changeup from Martinez a long way in the bottom of the fourth.
The Yankees finally got their first lead of the series two innings later, when Hideki Matsui lifted a low breaking ball 320 feet and into the right-field seats.
They pushed across another on Jorge Posada's seventh-inning, pinch-hit RBI single, and Mariano Rivera held on for a six-out save — 3-1 Yankees, series back to even, and destined to go deeper into November than any other.
Throw in two more questionable calls — both at first base, where Brian Gorman was stationed, and neither overruled by the rest of a veteran crew that didn't get the benefit of seeing television replays that would have reversed the calls — and we're right on schedule.
'Business as usual' is how Yankees manager Joe Girardi described it all afterward.
"Our club has been resilient all year,'' he said. "The one thing that we've been able to do is bounce back.''
And from Phillies manager Charlie Manuel: "I guess we have to be (content with a split). I always want to be up 2-0, but it is what it is. We're going home.''
Some other emerging trends:
Some high-quality starting pitching is controlling potent offenses that led their respective leagues in home runs. The Phillies have scored three earned runs in 14 innings against Yankees starters CC Sabathia and A.J. Burnett. Yankees hitters scored the same number against Martinez after getting one unearned run in Lee's complete game.
Burnett can blow hot and cold, but on this night, he had control of his electric stuff, and was able to locate his fastball early in the count, which set up a devastating breaking ball. He threw 21 of 26 first-pitch strikes, struck out nine, and kept his pitch count down at 108. Clearly, this was the best of his four postseason starts — and it came when the Yankees needed it most.
"I knew it was a big game — no lie,'' Burnett said. "It was the biggest game I've ever pitched. But at the same time, you can't let that affect you.''
Added Girardi: "He was extremely impressive. He gave us an extremely strong seven innings. He got some swings and misses.''
And Burnett outpitched an impressive Martinez, who said he was under the weather but got through six innings allowing the two solo homers and two other hits, while striking out eight. He left with a smile to acknowledge Yankees fans in one of the game's best love-hate relationships.
"They love how I compete,'' Martinez said. "If I was on the Yankees, I'd probably be like a king here. But that's not the case now.''
Manuel talked with Martinez after the sixth inning, which ended one out after Matsui's homer, and decided to let Martinez start the seventh. But an opposite-field flare by Jerry Hairston and a line drive single by Melky Cabrera finally chased the 38-year-old right-hander — and the Phillies lost for only the second time in his 10 starts since being signed in July.
"Pedro did a tremendous job,'' Manuel said. "He just got hurt by the longball.''
Rivera gets hurt by next to nothing. This was World Series save No. 10 for him, and 38th overall in the postseason. In case you're wondering, those are MLB records. And continuing what could be a decisive trend as this series unfolds, this was his fourth two-inning save in World Series play, and third in a row dating back to the Yankees' last World Series appearance in 2003. Of his last nine World Series apperances, six of them have been two innings in length, and two more scoreless frames in Game 2 lowered his World Series ERA to 1.09.
"(Pitching two innings) is something he's accustomed to doing,'' Girardi said. "It's not something we like to do during the (regular) season because we think it's important to keep him healthy for the long run. But it can be real effective for us now.''
The Phillies did put two runners on against Rivera in the eighth, but that's when a 4-6-3 double play was turned behind him to end the inning — much to Manuel's dismay. After answering questions about why he didn't start the two base-runners during Utley's at-bat, Manuel said: "I'll tell you something else: Utley was safe. Go look. Yeah, he was safe.''
But that out call at first base evened the score on controversial calls in the game, as Posada was doubled off following a ruling that Ryan Howard caught a sinking liner off Johnny Damon's bat in the seventh. Replays appeared to show that Howard trapped the ball.
"I'm not saying nothing about the umpiring,'' Manuel said. "I'm just saying (Utley) was safe.''