The Phillies have now taken a two games to one lead in the 2008 World Series on a bases loaded, no one out, walk-off single down the third base line by Carlos Ruiz, as the Phillies would defeat the Rays, 5-4.
After a long rain delay, the game would start around 10 pm Eastern time. The Phillies would take a quick 1-0 lead in the first, as, with runners on second and third, and no one out, Chase Utley would hit a RBI ground out to first, knocking in Jimmy Rollins, who has earlier singled, moved up to second on Jayson Werth’s walk, and would both move up to third and second on Rays’ starter Matt Garza’s wild pitch, and send Werth on to third. The Rays would tie the game up in the second when, with a runner on third and one out, Gabe Gross would hit a sacrifice fly to center, scoring Carl Crawford, who has earlier doubled and would then steal third. The Phillies would retake the lead in their half of the second when, with two outs and no one on, Carlos Ruiz would hit a home run to left, giving the Phillies a 2-1 lead. The game would then become a pitchers’ duel between Garza and Phillies’ starter Jamie Moyer, who would both refuse to give up another run for the next three innings. The Rays, in the top of the sixth, would come close to taking the lead, as, with a runner on second (B.J. Upton (single and stolen base)), and two men out, Evan Longoria would hit a deep fly ball to left that would be caught by Pat Burrell in front of the left field wall for the inning’s final out, as the winds would help keep the ball in the field of play. Then, in the Phillies’ half of the sixth, they would increase their lead as Utley would hit a lead-off home run, his second home run of the series, to give the Phils a 3-1 lead. Ryan Howard would then follow with a solo home run of his own, his first of the post-season, to make it 4-1 Phillies. But the Rays would come back in the seventh. The inning would start with a bunt single by Crawford, who was actually out, as shown in various instant replays, as Moyer, after catching the ball in the air, would throw it over to Howard, who would catch the ball barehanded before Crawford would actually touch the base, but an out of position first base umpire Tom Hallion would instead call him safe. Dioner Navarro would then follow with a double to left, sending Crawford over to third. Gross would follow with a sharp grounder to first that Howard would make a spectacular catch on and would then beat Gross to first base for the inning’s first out, as Crawford would score, cutting the Phillies’ lead down to 4-2, while Navarro would move on over to third. That would be the ballgame for Moyer as Charlie Manuel would come out of the dugout and take him out to the cheers of the crowd, and then replace him with Chad Durbin. Durbin would then give up a RBI ground out to Jason Bartlett, 4-3, which would knock in Navarro, making it a 4-3 Phils’ lead. After pinch hitter Willy Aybar walks, Manuel would come back out and take out Durbin and replace him with Scott Eyre to face Akinori Iwamura. Eyre would proceed to strike out Iwamura swinging on a 3-2 fastball. The Rays would then tie the game in the eighth, as, with a runner on second and one man out, Upton, who has earlier singled and then stole second, would try to steal third. He would reach third with the stolen base, and then head for home with the tying run, as Ruiz’s throw would hit him and bounce towards the Phils’s third base dug out for an error. Ryan Madson, who was on the mound at the time, would then get Longoria to ground out, 4-3, for the inning’s second out. Manuel would then replace him with J.C. Romero, who would end the inning by getting Crawford to fly out to right on one pitch. The Phillies would attempt to retake the lead in their half of the eighth, as Werth would start the inning off with a walk, and would then steal second. After Utley would strike out swinging, Werth would be picked off second by Rays’ reliever J.P. Howell. Howell would then end the inning by striking out Howard looking. Madson would then proceed to pitch a 1-2-3 ninth, as he woukd first strike out Navarro, get Gross to ground out, 4-3, and then get Bartlett to also ground out, 6-3. In the Phillies’ ninth, Eric Bruntlett, a late inning replacement for Burrell, would bd hit by a pitch from Howell, taking first base. The Rays would then proceed to replace Howell with Grant Balfour. Balfour would then throw a wild pitch, which would quickly come back to Rays’ catcher Navarro. But, Navarro, as he tried to throw out Bruntlett at second, would instead throw the ball into right center field for an error, allowing Bruntlett to reach third base with nobody out. The Rays would then intentionally walk both Shane Victornio and pitch hitter Greg Dobbs to load the bases, while the Rays would bring in right fielder Gross to set up a five men infield, while leaving only two men in the outfield, with both of them playing shallow, to face Ruiz. On a 2-2 fastball, Ruiz would hit a slow roller down the third base line. The Rays’ third baseman Longoria, after grabbing the ball, would try to flip to Navarro to force out Bruntlett at home plate. But Longoria’s throw would fly past Novarro, allowing Bruntlett to score the winning run for the Phillies’ 5-4 walk-off win.
Jamie Moyer would get a no-decision as he would pitch six and one-third strong innings, giving up only three earned runs on five hits and a walk, while striking out five. Chad Durbin would pitch a third of an inning, giving up no runs and no hits and a walk. Scott Eyre would also pitch a third of an inning, striking out the only man he would face. Ryan Madson would get a blown save as he pitched two-thirds of an inning, giving up an earned run on one hit, while striking out one. J.C. Romero would get the win as he would pitch an inning and a third, giving up no runs or hits, while striking out one. His series record is now 1-0 with an 0.00 ERA. Matt Garza would also get a no-decision as he would pitch six innings, giving up four earned runs on six hits and two walks, while striking out seven. Chad Bradford would pitch an inning plus one batter, giving up no runs and no hits and a walk. J.P. Howell would get the lost as he would also pitch an inning plus one batter, giving up an earned run on no hits and a hit batsman, while striking out two. His series record is now 0-1 with a 5.40 ERA. Grant Balfour would face three batters, getting none of them out, as he would give up no runs on one hit and two intentional walks.
Jamie Moyer would pitch a strong game, returning to his second half form, as he constantly outpitched the Rays’ batters, before finally being taken out of the game in the seventh, thanks in part to first base umpire Tom Hallion’s blown call at first base that would help lead to two runs scoring later in the inning. Meanwhile, the Phillies’ bat, while they would still do very little scoring, would produce three solo shots by Carlos Ruiz, Chase Utley and Ryan Howard off of the Rays’ starter Matt Garza, who would get very upset after Howard’s solo shot, while they would also score a run via a ground out in the first, before Ruiz’s slow single down the third base line would bring in the final run. Meanwhile, Jimmy Rollin would finally get on base with two singles, scoring a run shortly after getting his first hit of the series, while Howard would finally do some post-season damage with the long ball.
The 2008 World Series will continued later tonight with the fourth game of the series from Philadelphia. The game will be played at Citizens Bank Park and will start at 8:29 pm Eastern. The Phillies’ starter will be Joe Blanton (0-0, -.–), who is coming off a no-decision against the Dodgers in the NLCS on October 13, as he would go just five innings, giving up three earned runs on seven hits and four walks, while striking out four, in the Phillies’ 7-5 win. In the post-season, his record is 1-0 with an ERA of 3.27, as he would pitch eleven innings, giving up four earned runs on twelve hits and four walks, while striking out eleven. His regular season record is 9-12 (4-0) with a 4.69 (4.20) ERA in thirty-three starts, where he would give up 110 runs, 103 of which were earned, on 211 hits and 66 walks, while striking out 111 batters in 197 and two-thirds innings. He will be trying for his second post-season win and to put the Phillies in position for clinching the crown at home. The Rays’ starter will be Andy Sonnanstine (0-0, -.–), who is coming off a win against the Red Sox in the ALCS on October 14, as he would pitch seven and one-third innings, giving up four runs, three of which were earned, on six hits and a walk, while striking out two, in the Rays’ 13-4 win. His post-season record is 2-0 with a 3.46 ERA, as he would pitch thirteen innings, giving up six runs, five of which were earned, on nine hits and two walks, while striking out six. His regular season record is 13-9 with a 4.28 ERA in thirty-two starts, where he would give up 105 runs, 94 of which would be earned, on 212 hits and 37 walks, while striking out 124 in 193 and one-third innings. He will be trying for his third post-season win while trying to even the series up at two games apiece.
The keys in this game will be for the Phillies to find some way to get to Sonnanstine with their bats, especially since he seems to give up very few walks. At the same time, Joe Blanton will need to use whatever knowledge he will have from pitching against the Rays’ batters in the past to his best advantage. The Phillies have a chance to take a commanding three games to one lead and giving the ball back to Cole Hamels to possibily clinch the crown on Monday with a win in game four.