The Yankees waited six long years for this.
NEW YORK — The Yankees waited six long years for this.
They had not won a World Series game since that rainy night in Miami when Mike Mussina beat Florida's Josh Beckett for a 2-1 lead in 2003.
Since then, they had lost four in a row in the Series — the only games that really matter for a franchise that counts championships by the dozen. They had churned through starters such as Kevin Brown, Javier Vazquez, Randy Johnson and Carl Pavano in a futile flurry that failed to regain the team's lofty level.
Even CC Sabathia fell short in the opener when New York returned to the Series this year.
A.J. Burnett finally broke through, pitching the type of game the Yankees expect — if not demand.
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 shook the Yankees from their lumber slumber with solo homers off familiar foe Pedro Martinez, and Burnett's biting curveball frustrated Philadelphia in a 3-1 victory Thursday night.
"I fed off the crowd tonight," Burnett said. "They were cheering all the time, but when I struck guys out, they really got loud, so I was just trying to keep that going for them."
After Philadelphia won Wednesday's opener 6-1, 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.
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. Cole Hamels starts for the Phillies against Andy Pettitte in an all-lefty matchup.
"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 — the first viewed live by owner George Steinbrenner.
"They're the best team we've played all year," New York's Derek Jeter said.
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.
"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," 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. Burnett struck out nine and started his first 11 hitters with strikes, nine of them looking.
"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.
Rivera got six outs for his 38th postseason save, his 10th in World Series play.
Several moves by Yankees manager Joe Girardi paid off.
Molina made his fourth straight postseason start catching Burnett. 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. Hairston 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. He's 0 for 8 with six Ks in his first Series appearance.
"The fact that I'm 0-fer in this Series and we're 1-1 makes me feel good," he said.
Martinez allowed three runs and six hits in six-plus innings, striking out eight.
There were a few muted chants of "Who's Your Daddy?" but nothing like the booming taunts that serenaded Martinez in 2004 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," 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."