Yankees: 7 clutch playoff moments that deserve more praise

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Andy Pettitte #46 of the New York Yankees (Photo by Chris McGrath/Getty Images) /

4. Andy Pettitte Ties Up WS Game 3 All By Himself

Down 3-0 to Cole Hamels early in Game 3 of the 2009 World Series (on the road), Andy Pettitte knew there was only one man who could get his team back in it: himself.

Following Alex Rodriguez’s aforementioned camera well home run that ushered in the Instant Replay era, Pettitte found himself at the plate with Nick Swisher on second and a one-run deficit. Against all odds, his little league (and Astros) instincts kicked in, and he stayed on the ball, looped it into center, and scored Swisher, who used a hideous slide to touch the plate safely.

For some reason, there isn’t a massive framed photograph of this moment hanging on the exterior door of every Yankee fans’ garage. Yes, this happened.

The Yankees went on to run away and hide in this one, no doubt buoyed by Pettitte’s smack and weird, puffy jacket (pitcher chic!).

New York took the pivotal third game 8-5, running the lead to 5-3 in that fifth inning when a Johnny Damon double scored a chugging Pettitte and Derek Jeter at the same time, ushering in one of the strangest images of the Core Four era. Did Jeter ever think he’d meet his favorite crafty lefty at home plate in the World Series?

Doubtful. Let’s give Pettitte the props he deserves for making it happen. Like many pivotal moments, this one was entirely unanticipated.