The Phillies went 13-3 to end the regular season and now, after winning game four of the World Series in a blowout, have gone 10-3 on a memorable playoff run. If they can win one more game there isn’t going to be anyone left to beat. There are so many Phillies playing well it’s hard to keep track of all of them. I’ll give it a try.
Joe Blanton was outstanding last night. He held the Rays to a pair of runs on four hits over six innings and became the first pitcher since 1974 to hit a home run in the World Series. Ryan Howard looked a little lost coming into the World Series. He doesn’t anymore. Howard put the Phils up 5-1 with a three-run blast to the opposite field in the fourth inning and added a titanic shot out to right in the bottom of the eighth to put things out of reach at 10-2.
Lost in the heroics of Howard and Blanton will be the offensive production the Phillies are getting out of the top of the order. After coming into game three of the World Series without a hit, Rollins has gone 5-for-his-last-9. Over the last two days, Rollins and Werth have combined to go 8-for-15 with three walks. Last night they combined for three doubles and a home run.
Just about everything sets up perfectly for the Phillies in game five. The Rays are struggling in so many different areas and the Phils are coming in waves now. Cole Hamels, just about perfect in the playoffs, takes to the mound tonight with a chance to put an end to the season. The Tampa Bay bullpen had a long night in game four. But if there’s any team that should know it’s not over till it’s over, it’s the Phillies. The Rays didn’t win 97 games and the AL East because Carlos Pena and Evan Longoria never get a hit and their bullpen gives up five runs in four innings. In part because everything sets up so well for the Phils, the momentum shift for Tampa Bay if they can find a way to win game five and send the series back to Florida would be huge. So here’s hoping that Hamels and the bats can come up with one more big night. And then they can finally rest.
The Phillies beat the Tampa Bay Rays last night, winning 10-2 to take a three games to one lead in the World Series.
Joe Blanton got the start for the Phillies and went six innings, allowing two runs on four hits and two walks. Two of the hits went for extra-bases, both home runs. He struck out seven.
Blanton faced a Tampa Bay lineup that went (1) Akinori Iwamura (2B/L) (2) BJ Upton (CF/R) (3) Carlos Pena (1B/L) (4) Evan Longoria (3B/R) (5) Carl Crawford (LF/L) (6) Dioner Navarro (C/S) (7) Ben Zobrist (RF/S) (8) Jason Bartlett (SS/R). Zobrist plays right after Baldelli started in right in game two against Myers.
The Rays started the game with six players on their bench: Michael Hernandez (R), Fernando Perez (S), Willy Aybar (S), Gabe Gross (L), Eric Hinske (L) and Rocco Baldelli (R). Cliff Floyd was removed from the roster with a shoulder problem and the lefty Hinske added prior to the game.
Iwamura led off the game and blasted a 3-2 pitch to left, but Burrell took it at the wall for the first out. Not exactly inspiring, but it got better from there. Upton struck out looking at a 1-2 fastball on the outside corner. Pena swung at the first pitch and popped to Ruiz in foul territory to set the Rays down.
Blanton threw 13 pitches in the first inning.
He struck Longoria out swinging 1-2 to start the second with the Phillies up 1-0. Crawford was next and Blanton got him swinging 1-2 as well. Navarro bunted an 0-1 pitch foul before he singled into right with the count full. Zobrist swung at the first pitch and flew to Victorino in shallow center to end the frame. Blanton threw 15 pitches in the second to put him at 28 for the game.
Bartlett struck out swinging for the first out in the third. Sonnanstine was next and he lined a 2-1 pitch into left for a single. Iwamura chopped a ball to short, but hit it too slowly for the Phils to turn two. Rollins took it and threw to second to get Sonnanstine for the second out. Upton grounded to short for the third out. Blanton threw 14 pitches in the inning to put him at 42 for the game.
He started the fourth up 2-0. Pena led up and struck out swinging 2-2 for the first out. Longoria hit a 1-0 pitch in the hole between short and third. Rollins fielded and made a strong throw to nip him for the second out. Nice play by Rollins. Blanton got ahead of Crawford, but Crawford popped a 1-2 pitch just out to right to cut the Phillies lead to 2-1. Navarro swung at the first pitch of his at-bat and grounded to Rollins, who fielded behind second and threw to first for the third out. Twelve pitches in the inning had Blanton at 54.
Blanton had a 5-1 lead when he started the fifth. Zobrist got ahead 2-0, but Blanton pumped two strikes over before Zobrist flew to center on a 2-2 pitch for the second out. Bartlett was next and hit a 1-1 pitch back up the middle. The ball went off of Blanton’s leg and rolled toward third. Feliz made a fantastic play, barehanding the ball and throwing to first to get Bartlett. Great play by Feliz and it saved the Phillies a run, cause Hinske hit for the pitcher Andy Sonnanstine and blasted a 2-1 pitch way out to center. Hinske’s solo shot cut the lead to 5-2. Iwamura grounded back to the pitcher for the third out. After 15 pitches in the inning, Blanton was at 69 for the game.
He started the sixth up 6-2, thanks to his own fifth-inning home run off of Edwin Jackson. Upton got ahead 2-0, but flew to right on a 2-2 pitch for the first out. Blanton walked Pena on a 3-2 pitch, but struck Longoria out looking at a 1-2 pitch on the outside corner for the second out. Crawford was next and Blanton hit him in the foot with an 0-1 pitch, putting men on first and second for Navarro. Blanton got behind 1-0, but then got the call on a pitch that looked outside for strike one. With the count 2-1, Blanton got another call with Navarro again looking at a ball that may have been outside. Navarro swung out swinging at a high 2-2 pitch to leave both runners stranded.
Long inning for Blanton — 24 pitches had him at 93 for the game.
He came back to start the seventh still up 6-2 and walked Zobrist on a 3-2 pitch to start the inning. Durbin came in to pitch to Bartlett and got him to fly to center on a 1-1 pitch for the first out. Willy Aybar hit for the pitcher Edwin Jackson and singled to right, moving Zobrist to second. Eyre came in to pitch to the lefty Iwamura. He almost lost him, getting behind 3-1 before Iwamura lined to Bruntlett, now the left fielder, for the second out. Madson came in to pitch to the righty Upton. Upton got ahead 3-1, but fouled off the next pitch and swung and missed at a 3-2 changeup to end the frame with both runners stranded.
Huge out for Madson to get Upton — otherwise he likely would have been facing the lefty Pena as the tying run. Romero was the other choice, but I don’t think Manuel would take Madson out of the game still needing to get seven outs to win. Eyre getting Iwamura was a big out as well.
Madson came back to start the eighth. Pena went down swinging hard at a 2-2 fastball for the first out. Longoria blasted the first pitch he saw from Madson way out but foul. Madson struck him out swinging two pitches later. Crawford grounded an 0-1 pitch softly to second for the third out.
Nice job by Madson against the 3-4-5 hitters of the Rays, which looked more important before the Phils blew the game open in the bottom of the eighth.
Romero started the ninth with the Phils up 10-2. Navarro led off and grounded a ball back to the mound. Romero fielded, but his throw to first was in the dirt and Howard couldn’t handle it. Navarro was safe and Romero was charged with an error. Zobrist was next and he hit a ground ball to Utley. Utley threw to Rollins to force Navarro for the first out without a relay to first to try to get Zobrist. Bartlett was next and struck out looking at a 2-2 fastball on the inside corner. Baldelli hit for the pitcher Trever Miller with two outs and a man on first. Romero struck him out with a high 2-2 fastball to end the game.
The Phillies pen went three scoreless innings in the game, allowing one hit, the single by Aybar off of Durbin in the seventh. They struck out five and didn’t walk a batter. They have been charged with one run in 8 2/3 innings in the series. Romero threw 19 pitches, Madson 16. All four of the relievers that the Phillies used in game four were also used in game three, so all four of them would be pitching for the third straight game if they pitch tonight. Romero and Madson both threw 15 pitches in game three while Eyre and Durbin both threw six.
The Tampa Bay pen went four innings in the game and allowed five runs. In the set they have now allowed eight runs in 12 1/3 innings. Jackson threw 32 pitches, Wheeler 22 and Miller 10.
After combining to go 0-for-7 in game four, Longoria and Pena have now combined to go 0-for-29 with 15 strikeouts in the series.
The Phillies lineup against righty Andy Sonnanstine went (1) Rollins (2) Werth (3) Utley (4) Howard (5) Burrell (6) Victorino (7) Feliz (8) Ruiz.
The Phillies started the game with six players on their bench: Bruntlett (R), Taguchi (R), Coste (R), Dobbs (L), Stairs (L) and Jenkins (L).
Rollins led off the first and pulled a 3-1 pitch past a diving Pena and into right field for a double. Werth followed and hit a 3-1 pitch to right deep enough for Rollins to tag and go to third. Utley walked on four pitches, putting men on first and third for Howard. Howard hit a ground ball back to the mound. Sonnanstine probably would have had an inning-ending double-play if he had gone to second, but he had Rollins caught off third and ran at him. Sonnanstine chased Rollins back to third but threw late and Rollins was called safe sliding into the bag. Replays showed that Longoria tagged him and he should have been out, but the Phils had the bases loaded with one out. Burrell was next and drew a walk on a 3-1 pitch outside, forcing in Rollins to put the Phils up 1-0. Victorino dribbled an 0-1 pitch out in front of the mound. Sonnanstine made a nice play, charging, fielding and making a glove-hand flip home to force Utley for the second out. Feliz flew softly to center to leave the bases loaded.
Just one run for the Phils after loading the bases with one out.
Ruiz flew to right for the first out in the second. Blanton struck out swinging 1-2 for the second out. Rollins lined a 2-2 pitch into right center for another hit, this one a single. Rollins was 4-for-his-last-6. Werth popped a 1-1 pitch into shallow right for the third out.
Utley led off the third with a ground ball that Iwamura booted, having the ball go off the heel of his glove, for an error. Howard was next and ripped an 0-1 pitch into right for a single, sending Utley to third. Burrell got ahead 3-1 and watched a hugely hittable breaking pitch over the heart of the plate for strike two. He popped the 3-2 pitch to Bartlett in shallow left-center for the first out. Victorino popped a 1-2 pitch up to Bartlett as well, this time closer to third base, for the second out. Victorino had left five men on base through 2 2/3 innings. Feliz picked both of them up, though, lining a 1-1 pitch into left for a single. Utley scored to put the Phils up 2-0. Ruiz chopped a ball back through the middle, but Iwamura moved to his right and fielded it behind second base. Iwamura didn’t make a throw, but kept the ball in the infield and kept Utley from scoring. With the bases loaded and two outs, Blanton fouled out to Pena to end the inning.
Burrell still hitless as he fails to bring Utley in from third with nobody out. Victorino can’t bring the runner in from third with less than two outs for the second time in the game.
Sonnanstine had thrown 69 pitches through three innings and had just one strikeout — Blanton in the second.
Rollins led off the fourth with a ground ball under the glove of Iwamura and into right. Rollins was given a hit initially, but the call was changed and Iwamura given an error (either way, Iwamura should have made the play). Werth followed and walked on four pitches, putting men on first and second for Utley. Utley struck out on three pitches, swinging at an 0-2 slider inside for the first out. Howard got ahead 2-1 and blasted a pitch out to left for a three-run homer that put the Phils up 5-1. Howard finally hits the ball to the opposite field and he knew it was gone, watching the ball for a little longer than he usually does. Burrell fouled out to the catcher for the second out. Victorino popped to third to end the inning.
Righty Edwin Jackson started the fifth with the Phillies leading 5-2. Feliz swung at the first pitch of his at-bat and fouled out to Navarro. Ruiz grounded to third for the second out. Blanton was next and laced a 2-1 fastball out to left to make it 6-2. Rollins grounded to second for the third out.
First career extra-base hit for Blanton. First time since 1974 that a pitcher has homered in the World Series. In game four of the 1974 World Series, Oakland’s Ken Holtzman homered off of the Dodgers’ Andy Messersmith to put the A’s up 1-0 in the third. Oakland won the game 5-2 and won the series four games to one.
Blanton was 2-for-26 with two singles in his career coming into the game. 0-for-5 in the post-season and 0-for-2 in this game. That’s 2-for-33 (.061).
Werth led off the sixth with Jackson still on the mound and doubled off the wall in left. Jackson struck Utley out looking at an inside fastball 2-2 for the first out. Howard was walked intentionally, putting men on first and second for Burrell. Burrell hit a slow ground ball to short. Bartlett charged, fielded and threw back to second. The relay got Burrell to complete the inning-ending double-play.
No run for the Phils after the leadoff double.
Righty Dan Wheeler started the seventh for Tampa Bay. Victorino led off and blooped a ball into right. Zobrist charged and made a sliding catch for the first out. Feliz hit a ground ball to third that was stopped by a diving Longoria, but the ball came out of his glove and Feliz had an infield single. Ruiz was next and lined to second on a nice catch by Iwamura, picking the ball near the ground. Iwamura threw to first and Pena made a fantastic catch as his body tangled up with Feliz as Feliz scurried back to the bag.
With Wheeler still on the mound, Stairs hit for Madson to start the eighth and struck out swinging at a 2-2 fastball. Rollins jumped on Wheeler’s first pitch and blasted it high off the wall in right, missing a home run by less than a foot. He settled for a double. Werth was next, and with the count full he lined a ball out to left field for a two-run homer, putting the Phils up 8-2. Trever Miller came in to pitch to Utley and walked him. Howard was next and crushed a 1-0 pitch way out to right. 10-2. Bruntlett grounded to short for the second out. Miller got Victorino to fly to left-center for the third out.
Rollins was 3-for-5 with two doubles. He’s 5-for-19 (.263) in the series.
Werth 2-for-4 with a double, a walk and a home. 6-for-15 (.400) with three doubles, a home run and four walks.
Utley was 0-for-2 with two walks. 3-for-15 (.200) with two home runs in the series.
Howard was 3-for-5 with two home runs, a walk and five RBI. 6-for-17 (.353) in the series. Three home runs in the last two games.
Burrell 0-for-3 with a walk and an RBI. 0-for-12 with five strikeouts in the series. Phils could use him tonight against Kazmir.
Victorino 0-for-5 and left five men on base. 4-for-16 ( .250) with four singles in the series.
Feliz was 2-for-4 with an RBI. Big two-out hit in the third inning after it looked like the Phils were going to fail to bring a runner in from third yet again. Big defensive play ahead of the Hinske homer saved the Phils a run. 4-for-14 (.286) in the series.
Ruiz 1-for-4 in the game and 5-for-12 (.417) in the series.
Cole Hamels (14-10, 3.09) faces lefty Scott Kazmir (12-8, 3.49) tonight in game five. These pitches met in game one of the series in Tampa Bay and the Phillies won the game 3-2. Hamels was fantastic, holding the Rays to two runs over seven innings while improving to a perfect 4-0 in the post-season. Kazmir struggled badly early, but kept the Phillies from breaking the game open.
Utley hit a two-run shot off of Kazmir in the first inning of game one. Crawford homered off of Hamels in the fourth to cut the Philadelphia lead to 3-1.
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