IT TOOK PETTITTE 51 PITCHES TO GET HIS FIRST six outs of Game 3, and by then Philadelphia had jumped on the Yankees lefthander for a 3-0 lead. It looked to be a long Halloween night for Pettitte, and not only because the game's start had been delayed 80 minutes by rain.
Somehow Pettitte wound up with yet another postseason victory, giving him more playoff wins (17) than any other pitcher in history. Game 3, if not the Series, turned on a dime as New York entered the fourth inning losing 3-0 but went on to win easily.
The catalog of Pettitte's postseason wins is vast. He has won games with the Yankees tied, ahead and behind in a series. He has won Games 1, 2, 3, 4, 5 and 6. (He has never pitched a Game 7.) But never before had he won a game remotely like this: falling behind by three runs and giving up four earned runs in all.
"I can't remember winning a game where I've struggled like I did tonight," Pettitte said. "It's very gratifying to be able to go out there and just battle through it. I knew after the first inning that even though I got through the first, the ball wasn't going where I wanted it to exactly."
In the second inning Pettitte yielded a home run to Jayson Werth, walked two batters, including one with the bases loaded (something he had not done all year), and served up a sacrifice fly for the third run. But Pettitte surrendered only one more hit, another homer to Werth, before he left after six innings with a 6-4 lead.
The salvaged victory was also possible because as Pettitte recovered, Cole Hamels, the Philadelphia starter, collapsed. One out into the fourth, the Yankees had neither a run nor a hit off Hamels when Teixeira walked on a 3-and-2 pitch that appeared to be a strike.
"It was a strike," Hamels said. "Story of my season."
Two pitches later Rodriguez hit a fly ball toward the rightfield corner that smacked off the lens of a television camera that was protruding into the field of play. Rightfield umpire Jeff Nelson, thinking the ball hit the wall, ruled it in play, and Rodriguez stopped at second base with a double. But the umpires convened and decided to use instant replay, the first time the technology was employed in a World Series game. The umpires changed the ruling to a home run.
Things grew far worse for Hamels in the next inning. With Nick Swisher at second after a double and Pettitte batting with one out, Hamels flipped a first-pitch curveball thinking Pettitte would be bunting. He said he was trying to get Pettitte to pop up a bunt.
"I made the right pitch to Pettitte," he said.