NEW YORK — More than any slugger on either team, pitching has been the star of this World Series.
A.J. Burnett took a page from Cliff Lee's how-to manual and backed by a few key hits and a sharp pickoff throw, New York drew even with the Phillies at one game apiece.
Mark Teixeira and Hideki Matsui helped rally the Yankees with solo homers off familiar foe Pedro Martinez, and Burnett's biting curveball frustrated Philadelphia in a 3-1 victory Thursday night.
After his team lost 6-1 in Wednesday's opener, Burnett happened to hear Lee talk about confidence during an on-field interview. It left an impression.
"He talked about belief in his stuff, and all I told myself last night and today was the same thing," Burnett said. "I went out tonight with confidence, and just, you know, the game just rolled by."
Light-hitting Matt Stairs, in a 4-for-51 slide, put the Phillies on top with an RBI single in the second off the glove of third baseman Alex Rodriguez. Philadelphia never got another runner past second base against Burnett and Mariano Rivera, who combined on a six-hitter.
After a day off, Game 3 will be at Philadelphia on Saturday night.
"We're not depressed at all. We feel pretty good," Phillies shortstop Jimmy Rollins said.
New York had managed only an unearned run in the first 12 innings of the Series but came to life after a pickoff throw from backup catcher Jose Molina caught Jayson Werth off first in the fourth inning. The Yankees went on to their first Series win at their new $1.5 billion ballpark — and their first since taking a 2-1 lead against Florida in 2003.
"They're the best team we've played all year," New York's Derek Jeter said. "They're champs for a reason, and we need to play well if we're going to beat them."
In an 8-for-44 (.182) postseason slump, Teixeira tied the score when he led off the fourth by driving a high changeup into the Yankees bullpen in right field.
"I think the home run got the crowd back in it," Teixeira said. "It kind of put a little bit of a crack in their armor."
Matsui put New York ahead with two outs in the sixth, reaching down for a curveball below his knees and sending it a few rows into the seats in right.
"I was able to make a good adjustment and put a good swing on it and fortunately it led to the result," he said through a translator.
Jorge Posada, on the bench because Molina has become Burnett's personal catcher, pinch hit in the seventh and added an RBI single off Chan Ho Park.
Burnett got his first win following three postseason no-decisions for the Yankees, allowing four hits in seven innings and retiring his last eight batters.
"He went to his bread-and-butter, that backdoor curveball. It's impossible to hit," Stairs said.
Burnett struck out nine and started his first 11 hitters with strikes, nine of them looking. Burnett kept his control, walking two, one intentional.
"A.J.'s breaking ball, it starts in the other batter's box," said Ryan Howard, who struck out three times against Burnett and four times in all. "That's a nasty pitch, nasty today."
Rivera got six outs for his 38th postseason save, his 10th in World Series play. After the Phillies put two on with one out in the eighth, Game 1 star Chase Utley grounded into an inning-ending double play.
When Rivera struck out Stairs with a runner on to end it, the Yankees sounded relieved.
"If we went in there 0-2, it would have been a tough road for us," Teixeira said.
Yankees manager Joe Girardi made several moves that paid off.
Molina made his fourth straight postseason start catching Burnett. He had eyed Werth taking a big lead.
"I saw the ball in the dirt," Molina said. "He's still far from the bag, so I just threw it, just whipped it there, see what happens. Maybe he shortens his lead up for the next time. We might get a ground-ball double play or something. But I got lucky."
Jerry Hairston Jr. made his first postseason start for the Yankees as the replacement for right fielder Nick Swisher, batting just .114 (4 for 35) in the postseason. He singled off Martinez in the seventh, and pinch-runner Brett Gardner went to third on Melky Cabrera's hit-and-run single before scoring on Posada's hit.
That helped make up for another off night by Alex Rodriguez. After carrying the Yankees in the playoffs against the Twins and Angels, he is 0 for 8 in his first Series appearance and struck out three times for the second straight night.
"The fact that I'm 0-fer in this Series and we're 1-1 makes me feel good," he said.
Pitching four days past his 38th birthday, Martinez fooled the Yankees with breaking pitches of 70-75 mph. He allowed three runs and six hits in six-plus innings, striking out eight and walking two.
There were a few muted chants of "Who's Your Daddy?" but nothing like the booming taunts that serenaded Martinez when he came to New York in his final weeks with Boston in 2004. That was after he famously said, "I just tip my hat and call the Yankees my daddy" following a loss at Fenway Park.
"I know they really want to root for me. It's just that I don't play for the Yankees, that's all," said Martinez, who hasn't been feeling well and was winded. "They love the fact that I compete. I'm a New Yorker, as well. If I was on the Yankees, I'd probably be like a king over here."
When the Series resumes, Cole Hamels starts Game 3 for the Phillies against Andy Pettitte in an all-lefty matchup. Both teams will be making the trip through New Jersey by train.
Twenty-eight of the 53 teams that won Game 2 to tie the Series went on to win the title — but just one of the last six, the 2002 Angels.
"Our club has been resilient all year," Girardi said. "The one thing that we've been able to do is we've went through some tough losses and we've seemed to bounce back. It was just business as usual for us today."
NOTES: There was another umpiring controversy. With two on and one out in the seventh, first base ump Brian Gorman ruled Howard reached down, caught Johnny Damon's liner and threw to second for a double play. A slow-motion replay appeared to show the first baseman trapped the ball. ... Utley walked in the second and has reached in a record 27 consecutive postseason games since going 0 for 4 in his debut in 2007. ... Phillies LF Raul Ibanez made a diving catch on Robinson Cano with a runner at first in the second to prevent a possible RBI double. ... Howard had not struck out four times since July 21.