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Matchup: Pettitte vs. momentum
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10/19/2003  7:34 PM ET 
Matchup: Pettitte vs. momentum
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Pettitte has to reverse tide

Andy Pettitte
Ivan Rodriguez
The matchup: Yankees starter Andy Pettitte vs. the Marlins' momentum

The Marlins seized home-field advantage in the World Series by beating the Yankees, 3-2, in Game 1 and quieting Yankee Stadium in the process. If they beat Andy Pettitte in Game 2, they'll be a solid favorite to take their second world title in the last seven years.

It's up to Pettitte to put a tourniquet on this Series, just like he did when the Yankees fell behind the Twins and the Red Sox in earlier series.

The expectation: Pettitte, a notorious big-game pitcher with a fantastic cutter that toys with right-handed hitters, should be able to handle the meat of the Marlins' order.

The weight of the situation is nothing new to Pettitte, who figures to prove his veteran status again by coming through with a Series-tying effort.

The result: Pettitte did every bit of what was expected of him -- and more. Pitching on three days' rest for the first time this October, Pettitte simply dealt. He shut the Marlins out for the first 8 2/3 innings, cruised to a win, and gave the Yankees all the momentum heading to Games 3, 4 and 5 in Florida.

NEW YORK -- The Yankees have been here before, and so has Andy Pettitte.

In all three postseason series this year, New York lost the first game at home but came back to forge a 1-1 tie by winning the pivotal second game. All three times, Pettitte was the man of the moment, stopping the bleeding for the Yankees.

New York dropped Game 1 of the American League Division Series to the Minnesota Twins. Then Pettitte stifled the Twins in Game 2, stealing the momentum and sparking the Yankees to win the next three games.

The Yankees lost Game 1 of the AL Championship Series to the Boston Red Sox in another relatively flat performance in front of a quieted Stadium crowd.

It was Pettitte to the rescue again, though, when the left-hander manhandled Boston in a 6-2 win.

Game 1 of the World Series was no different, with the Florida Marlins' pitching and run manufacturing just enough for a 3-2 win over the Yanks, who looked a bit tired after their emotional Game 7 ALCS triumph over Boston two nights earlier.

And in Game 2, Pettitte shined, stifling the Marlins with 8 2/3 innings of dominance. He was on autopilot, cruising toward a shutout, but a late Aaron Boone error led to the Marlins' only run and Pettitte's removal.

Still, New York steamrolled Florida with a 6-1 win with Pettitte's usual response when his team needs it.

He has once again set up his team to take on the challenges of the next three games in front of a hostile crowd of close to 70,000 in Pro Player Stadium.

    Andy Pettitte   /   P
Height: 6'5"
Weight: 225
Bats/Throws: L/L

More info:
Player page
Astros site

That's what being a big-game pitcher is all about.

If you ask Pettitte about it, it's all in a day's work.

"I've pitched so many games like this," he said. "I just keep the same mindset."

But his performance continued to impress his manager, Joe Torre.

"He deals with the stress and the pressure very well," Torre said.

"He's been huge for us."

Doug Miller is a reporter for This story was not subject to approval by Major League Baseball or its clubs.

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