Sunday, October 26, 2008

Phillies take control of the World Series

By JC De La Torre

Despite 46-year old Jamie Moyer out pitching the young Tampa Bay lion Matt Garza in a long rain delayed Game 3 of the World Series, the Philadelphia Phillies had to rally to defeat the Rays in a thrilling 5-4 victory. Philadelphia takes a 2 games to 1 lead in the series.

Coming in with a double digit ERA in the post season, Moyer was impressive, pitching 6 and 1/3 innings, 3 earned runs on 5 hits, striking out 5.

He was staked to a lead in the 1st inning. Jimmy Robbins got his first hit of the World Series with a single to center field. Rays pitcher Matt Garza was shaky in the early going, and walked Jayson Werth to put two men on with nobody out, then set both men in scoring position on a wild pitch. Chase Utley grounded out to third, but scored Rollins and put Werth on third, Philadelphia led 1-0. Garza would get out trouble with a strike out of Ryan Howard and got Burrell to fly at center.

Tampa Bay would answer in the top of the 2nd inning, as Carl Crawford led off with a double. After Dioner Navarro flied out, Crawford stole third base. Gabe Gross would hit a sacrifice fly to center field to score Crawford and tie the game at 1. Unfortunately for the Rays, the Phillies would take the lead right back in the bottom of the second inning with a blast to left field by Carlos Ruiz to give Philadelphia a 2-1 lead.

It would stay 2-1 for three straight innings as Garza and Moyer entered a pitching war. It would be a battle eventually won by Moyer, as in the bottom half of the sixth inning, back-to-back bombs by Chase Utley and Ryan Howard put the Phillies up with a seemingly insurrmountable 4-1 lead. Tampa Bay would rally in the top of the 7th, as Crawford would reach on a controversial bunt hit. It appeared he was clearly out, but was ruled safe by the first base umpire. Navarro followed with a double to left, setting up men at 2nd and 3rd with no one out. Gabe Gross would get his 2nd sacrifice RBI, as he grounded to first, allowing Crawford to score to cut the lead to 4-2. Bartlett would follow with a grounder to shortstop, but with Navarro going on contact, he scored easily to make it 4-3.

In the 8th, Ryan Madson checked in to pitch to the struggling meat of the Tampa Bay line up. BJ Upton would lead off with an infield hit to short. Carlos Pena struck out. With Longoria approaching the plate, BJ stole second base easily. On the next pitch, BJ tried to steal third, Phillies catcher Carlos Ruiz fired it to third but the throw handcuffed the 3b Shane Victorino, who let it get away, Upton raced home and scored to tie the game at 4. Tampa Bay set a post-season Major League Baseball record for steals by a team, with their 22nd. Longoria would ground out on the next play. In the bottom of the 8th, Chad Bradford walked Jayson Werth to put the leading run on base and powerful Chase Utley and Ryan Howard awaitng their shot. JP Howell would check into the game for Tampa Bay. Werth stole second. Howell struck out Utley, then picked off Werth off of 2nd, and finally struck out Howard to get the Rays out of trouble.

On to the 9th - the Rays went in order. In the bottom half, Howell hit Bruntlett with a pitch to put the winning run on first. In came Balfour to face Victorino. Balfour threw a wild pitch, Navarro recovered but threw the ball into center field and put Bruntlett on third with no one out. Balfour was forced to intentionally walk Victorino and Greg Dobbs to put the bases loaded with nobody out, this was to set up the force play at the plate. In addition, Rays Manager Joe Maddon made the uncoventional play of putting 5 guys in the infield to plug all the holes, facing the hot hitting catcher Carlos Ruiz. Ruiz chopped it to third, Longoria fielded and desperately tossed it home, but it was over Navarro's head - Brunlett scores - Phillies win.

Philadelphia takes a 2 games to 1 lead in the World Series. Big win for Philly, hearbreaking loss for the Rays. Tampa Bay will try again tomorrow...correction TONIGHT. A Phillie victory tonight and this series may be over.

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