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The New York Yankees are baseball's best again.
The Yankees won their 27th World Series title Wednesday night, beating the defending champion Philadelphia Phillies 7-3 in Game 6 behind Hideki Matsui's record-tying six RBIs.
Andy Pettitte won the clincher, pitching the Yankees to their first champisonship since 2000.
Matsui homered, doubled and singled, and tied Bobby Richardson's 49-year-old record for RBIs in a Series game. His two-run homer off Pedro Martinez in the second inning started the Yankees on their way.
Mariano Rivera, Derek Jeter and Alex Rodriguez helped the Yankees wrap up a most successful season in their first year at the new $1.5 billion Yankee Stadium.
Matsui hit three home runs in this World Series, two against Martinez, who lasted four innings, giving up four runs on four hits.
The Yanks added two more in the third when Matsui lined a two-out, bases-loaded single to make it 4-1. He added a two-run double in the fifth when the Yanks scored three more to make it 7-1.
In the Series, Matsui was 8-for-13 with three homers and eight RBIs. His six RBIs in this game tied Richardson's one-game World Series record, set for the Yankees in Game 3 in 1960 against Pittsburgh.
Pitching on three days rest, Pettitte, 37, went five and two-thirds innings, allowing three runs on four hits. Pettitte, the winningest postseason pitcher ever with 18 total victories against 9 losses, won four games in this postseason alone. He got the victory in all three Yankee clinchers in the posteason, against the Twins, Angels and Phillies.
Yankee closer Rivera got the final five outs to touch off a celebration in the Bronx.
And to think it capped a season that started in turmoil — a steroids scandal involving Alex Rodriguez, followed by hip surgery that kept him out until May.
For Chase Utley and the Phillies, it was a frustrating end to another scintillating season. Philadelphia fell two wins short of becoming the first NL team to repeat as World Series champions since the 1975-76 Cincinnati Reds.
Ryan Howard's sixth-inning homer came too late to wipe away his World Series slump, and Phillies pitchers rarely managed to slow Matsui and the Yankees' machine.
In a fitting coincidence, this championship came eight years to the day after the Yankees lost Game 7 of the 2001 World Series in Arizona on Luis Gonzalez's broken-bat single off Rivera.
New York spent billions trying to get back. At long last, it did.
Hey Babe and Yogi, Mr. October and Joltin' Joe — you've got company. Mark Teixeira, CC Sabathia and a new generation of Yankees have procured their place in pinstriped lore.
And for the four amigos, it was ring No. 5.
Catcher Jorge Posada, shortstop and team captain Derek Jeter, Pettitte and Rivera came up together through the minors and were cornerstones for the four titles the Yankees won in five years starting in 1996.
Now, all on the other side of age 35, they have another success to celebrate. And surely they remember the familiar parade route, up Broadway through the Canyon of Heroes.
For George Steinbrenner, it was the seventh championship since he bought the team in 1973. The Yankees had talked about winning another for their 79-year-old owner, who has been in declining health.
New York's eight seasons without a championship was the third-longest stretch for the Yankees since their first one, following gaps of 17 (1979-95) and 14 (1963-76).
It had been nearly a half-century since players had won five titles with one team. The last to do it? Of course a bunch of Yankees: Yogi Berra (10 titles), Mickey Mantle (seven) and Whitey Ford (six) in 1962, according to STATS LLC.
For second-year manager Joe Girardi, a three-time Yankees champion as a player, it was the fulfillment of a mission. When he succeeded Joe Torre in October 2007, Girardi chose uniform No. 27, putting his quest on his back for all to see. His tenure didn't start out so well, with New York missing the playoffs in its final season at old Yankee Stadium following 13 consecutive appearances.
Steinbrenner's well-paid players hadn't soaked themselves in bubbly after the season since Bernie Williams gloved Mike Piazza's midnight flyout at Shea Stadium to win the 2000 Subway Series.
Last offseason the Yankees added a trio of top free agents — Teixeira, Sabathia and A.J. Burnett — for $423.5 million. They jelled with Rodriguez, the game's highest-paid player but a winner for the first time in 16 major league seasons.
This program aired on November 5, 2009. The audio for this program is not available.
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