Baseball Daily News: Oct. 26
Rain, homers, infield hit mark memorable Game 3
The Phillies found their power stroke, but in the end, it was a dribbler that proved to be the game-winner -- Carlos Ruiz's ground ball to produce a 5-4 victory. Earlier, the Phillies took a page out of Reggie Jackson's playbook: When you're in the batter's box, you're all runners in scoring position. Through the first three games of this World Series, the Phillies have struggled with runners in scoring position, but Saturday, they hit three solo homers and took a 2-1 Series lead on a cool, rain-delayed evening of baseball. Game 4 will be played Sunday evening with the forecast calling for clear skies.
Ruiz handed his Phillies a pair of leads Saturday night. He drilled a go-ahead solo homer in the second and the game-winner on a bases-loaded ground ball against a five-man infield in the bottom of the ninth. Jamie Moyer allowed three runs over 6 1/3 innings and J.C. Romero picked up the win with 1 1/3 scoreless innings of relief.
Phillies win thriller
The Rays got some breaks -- Carl Crawford was awarded first base on a close call -- and they used their speed with four stolen bases, including three by B.J. Upton. Manager Joe Maddon reached into his bag of tricks by intentionally walking two batters to load the bases with none out in the ninth and used a five-man infield. But Evan Longoria couldn't make a clean throw home on a ground ball by Ruiz in the bottom of the ninth, and the Rays dropped Game 3.
Rays lose in ninth
When 91 minutes of rain delay finally gave way to some real ball, there were plenty of plot points on which the story turned, but critical to its outcome was the effort put forth by Moyer. The 45-year-old did not pick up the victory despite leaving the game with the lead, but his outing and the resiliency of the Phillies has them halfway home to the World Series crown.
Plenty of fight in Phils
Moyer was sailing along with a three-run lead when Crawford led off the seventh with a bunt down the first-base line. Moyer raced to cover, dove for the ball and gloved it, and in the same motion as he fell to the ground, he flipped it to Ryan Howard at first base. Howard barehanded the ball a footfall ahead of Crawford at the bag, but first-base umpire Tom Hallion called him safe. Crawford scored in the inning.
Five men, one ball, bases loaded. Ruiz hit a slow ground ball that couldn't have been better. Longoria dove and flipped the ball high over the head of catcher Dioner Navarro as Eric Bruntlett scored the game-winner.
His stamp was just about everywhere in Game 3. He hit a solo homer to give his team a lead. He committed a critical error to allow the Rays to rally. But in the end, Ruiz delivered the smallest hit with the biggest results to propel the Phillies to victory.
Hero, goat, hero
In 22 years of big league baseball, Moyer had not pitched in a World Series game. His moment came Saturday, when he took the ball in his Game 3 start and allowed three runs over 6 1/3 innings. The 45-year-old did not pick up the win but notched the biggest moment of his career.
Worth the wait
The Phillies improved to 2-for-32 with runners in scoring position due to Ruiz's ninth-inning ground ball being ruled a hit. But the Phillies opted for the long ball Saturday as Howard homered for the first time since Sept. 26, following Chase Utley's solo homer. It was the first time since Game 2 of the 2002 World Series that teammates had hit back-to-back homers in the Fall Classic.
RISP? No, RBIs
While the Phillies used the big stick, the Rays have been using their feet. With four stolen bases Saturday night, the Rays established a new mark for thefts in a postseason with 22. That eclipsed the old record of 20 set by the 1975 Reds and matched by the 1992 Braves. Upton tied a World Series record with three stolen bases.
Need for speed
The winning run was thrilling, a bases-loaded dribbler against a drawn-in, five-man infield. But don't be confused. The Phillies won Game 3 by doing what they do best, hitting the ball out of the park.
By the time the rain let up, the hour had stretched from evening to night in Philadelphia, and before the Phillies had secured a 5-4 victory, play had extended into the wee hours of Sunday morning. Moyer became the oldest pitcher to make his World Series debut while Upton raced into the record books with three stolen bases.
A game for the books
Tug McGraw was one of the heroes of the 1980 Phillies, the lone team in the long history of the franchise to win a World Series title. On Saturday, his son and country music star Tim McGraw sprinkled his dad's ashes at Citizens Bank Park. Tug McGraw died of brain cancer in 2004.
A final tribute
Lineup introductions usually start at the top, but for Game 3 in Philadelphia, Jimmy Rollins was called upon last. Rollins is the Phillies' leadoff hitter and recognized leader in a clubhouse that is filled with homegrown products.
First goes last
Neither rain, nor wind, nor delay of game stayed the Phillies fans from their appointed round of sticking it out for Game 3. Fifteen years had elapsed since the last World Series game in Philadelphia and it would take more than a storm to keep the diehards from Citizens Bank Park.
Rain? So what?
Joe Blanton opened the regular season seven months ago in Tokyo as a starter for the A's against the Red Sox. The right-hander draws the biggest assignment of his career Sunday, though, when he takes the ball for the Phillies in Game 4 of the World Series. The Rays will turn to Andy Sonnanstine, who will look to neutralize the Phillies by soft-serving some ground balls to even the series.
Taylor Swift is a multiplatinum country music star, but getting in front of a large audience can still quicken the pulse. Swift, who grew up a Phillies fan, sang the national anthem before Game 3 of the World Series on Saturday.
Singing with passion
Nine-year-old Amir White homered off Kyle Kendrick on Saturday. It was a mighty blow indeed and occurred as the two played on a Wii system at Children's Hospital of Philadelphia earlier in the day. The Phillies paid a visit to the facility and donated the entertainment system in concert with Starlight Children's Foundation.
Phillies lift spirits
Mike Scarr is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.