Rays forced to play from behind
Kazmir has allowed first-inning run in four of five playoff starts
PHILADELPHIA -- It was after Game 4 of the World Series that Evan Longoria spoke of early deficits, saying that it is especially difficult to play from behind early on the road. After one inning in Monday's Game 5, Scott Kazmir and the Tampa Bay Rays had no choice.
Kazmir needed 29 pitches (14 strikes) to get through the bottom of the first inning, allowing a two-run single to Shane Victorino as the Philadelphia Phillies -- leading the World Series 3-1 and eyeing their first championship since 1980 -- took the early lead.
For Kazmir, it continued a troubling trend of early struggles: Kazmir has allowed a first-inning run in four of his five postseason starts for Tampa Bay, and seven of his past nine starts dating to the regular season.
By contrast, the Phillies shrugged off their earlier problem areas of the Fall Classic, going 2-for-4 with runners in scoring position and logging two-out RBIs. Jayson Werth worked a one-out walk, Chase Utley was hit by a pitch and Ryan Howard struck out before Victorino laced a two-run single to left. Pedro Feliz kept the inning alive with a single to load the bases before Carlos Ruiz, the eighth batter of the inning, flew out to left.
Meanwhile, Phillies starter Cole Hamels dispatched the Rays in the first inning on just seven pitches (six strikes) before working around a two-out walk to Dioner Navarro in the second inning, finishing the second inning having thrown 17 pitches (11 strikes).
Bryan Hoch is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.