© 2009 MLB Advanced Media, L.P. All rights reserved.

11/03/09 3:35 AM EST

Phils believe they can be 'really special'

Defending champs force Game 6 in hopes of rare rally

PHILADELPHIA -- Charlie Manuel said before Game 5 that he was going to speak to all of his players, one by one, to give the kind of pep talk that only he could give.

The Phillies had heard a talk might be coming, too, so their senses piqued when Manuel walked into the clubhouse about an hour before Monday's first pitch.

But when the manager looked around the Citizens Bank Park clubhouse, he saw a bunch of men just messing around, having fun. The music was different -- Jay-Z's presence on the old mix gave it too much of a New York vibe, Jimmy Rollins said -- but the demeanors were the same.

So Manuel shrugged, turned around and left.

"It was like, 'Well, guess I don't need to say anything,'" Ryan Howard said.

And this was all before they scored three runs in the first inning, before they chased A.J. Burnett in the third, before Chase Utley hit two home runs, before the Phillies won, 8-6, to force a Game 6 in New York on Wednesday.

If they weren't tense after a crushing ninth inning Sunday, then they were certainly upbeat after stalling the Yankees' momentum. This will be the longest World Series since 2003, and while it will end in the Bronx, the Phillies are plenty comfortable away from Citizens Bank Park: They had the best road record in the National League this season.

"We could talk about it all day the type of team we have, the camaraderie and all that -- that only scratches the surface of what we have here," Jayson Werth said. "It's a special group, and we still have a chance to do something really special."

Only five teams have ever won a seven-game World Series after trailing three games to one.

The Phillies believe they can become the sixth, and they have a rested and always energetic Pedro Martinez starting Game 6 to get them one step closer. New York is countering with Andy Pettitte in Game 6, with CC Sabathia in the wings for a potential Game 7. Both pitchers would be starting on three days' rest.

Five off the floor
The Phillies will try to become the sixth team in seven-game World Series history to come back from a 3-1 deficit. The first five:
Year Winner Loser
1985 Royals Cardinals
1979 Pirates Orioles
1968 Tigers Cardinals
1958 Yankees Braves
1925 Pirates Senators

At some point, too, the pressure may to shift back to the Yankees -- perhaps still scarred by 2004 and certainly expected to win their 27th title with two games on their home turf.

Several Phillies sidestepped that question, saying they didn't want to speak for New York.

They were more than happy to speak for themselves, though. And they still have their sights on another ticker-tape-filled trip down Broad Street.

"I feel good about the club," said Raul Ibanez, who homered in the Game 5 win. "I always do. Guys will battle and grind it out and fight."

"We're every excited for what we were able to do today," added Cole Hamels, the leading candidate to start a potential Game 7 for Philadelphia.

"We had our backs against the wall, and we went out there and showed why we're the Fightin' Phils. And I think that's what we have to do for Game 6. Guys are going to go out there and give it everything they possibly can."

David Gurian-Peck is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.