RENEE MONTAGNE, Host:
We're going to talk about baseball now and a big win for the Philadelphia Phillies last night. They took game two of the National League Championship series in impressive fashion, beating the San Francisco Giants six to one. That evened the series at one game a piece. The American League Championship series is also tied one to one. The Yankees and Texas Rangers face each other at Yankee Stadium tonight in game three of their series.
NPR's Tom Goldman is with us.
Good morning, Tom.
TOM GOLDMAN: Good morning.
MONTAGNE: So the Phillies won big last night, behind good pitching by Roy Oswalt. Tell us more about that.
GOLDMAN: Yeah. Well, I'd make that a little stronger, very good, even great pitching from Oswalt. He pitched eight innings, gave up just one run and three hits. He struck out nine batters. He also hit a single, scored a run. He slid into home plate - which pitchers don't often do - after ignoring the third-base coach's signal to stop at third. So, Oswalt did a bit of everything. Philadelphia shortstop Jimmy Rollins broke out of a playoff slump and provided the big hit, a double that drove in three runs. So a total effort, pitching and hitting from the defending National League champions.
MONTAGNE: And a big game tonight in the American League. The ace of the Texas Rangers pitching staff is on the mound. That would be Cliff Lee. Can he stop the Yankees at Yankee Stadium?
GOLDMAN: He sure can. In fact, the last five games, he started at Yankee Stadium for various teams. Lee has won them all. He is the man of the moment in the baseball playoffs. He, so far, is unbeatable - never lost in the post season. He's a left-hander with amazing control, which is especially effective against savvy batters like the Yankees have, who are known for their patience. They like to let some pitches go by. They kind of wear down the pitcher by forcing him to throw a lot. But against Cliff Lee, that doesn't work because he's so accurate. And if the Yankees let pitches go by, they'll be called out on strike.
So, with good reason, many are already penciling tonight in as a win for the Rangers. Obviously, that's a dangerous thing to do. No one is invincible forever, and the Yanks have a great veteran playoff themselves starting tonight, left-hander Andy Pettitte. So it should be a fascinating game.
MONTAGNE: So it sounds like it's also too early to pencil the Yankees and Phillies into the World Series.
GOLDMAN: Yeah. And that's what's making these league championships series fun so far. You know, many thought the Yankees in the Phillies were a lock. But San Francisco shocked Philadelphia in game one Saturday night. They beat the seemingly unbeatable Roy Halladay. And the way the Rangers have pounded New York's starting pitchers in the first two games, they could have easily been up two games to none going into tonight.
But, of course, Friday night, the Texas bullpen imploded. They allowed the Yankees to claw back and win that game. But from here on out, these should be close series and entertaining, and what once seemed unthinkable - a Texas versus San Francisco World Series - isn't unthinkable anymore.
MONTAGNE: Tom, let's talk football for just a minute before we go, or at least some things that are happening in football. Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger returned from his suspension yesterday. At the same time, Vikings quarterback Brett Favre is meeting with the league this week over some apparently inappropriate behavior. What's going on?
GOLDMAN: Well, what's going on in the NFL, it just seems like one thing after another. You know, whether it's controversy over cruelty to animals - the dog fighting story with Michael Vick - the head injury issue, which continued yesterday with a couple of brutal head-to-head hits leading to concussions, and now, Renee, it's issues relating to women.
Roethlisberger was suspended because of sexual assault allegations. He was never criminally charged. He came back yesterday, led the Steelers to a win. Now Favre may face a suspension in a case is investigating as possible harassment of female employees at the New York Jets. That's where he played a couple of years ago. He will meet tomorrow with NFL security officials to discuss those allegations.
MONTAGNE: Tom, thanks very much. NPR's Tom Goldman.
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