Following a 48 hour rain suspension, the Phiillies and the Tampa Bay Rays, tied 2-2 after the top of the sixth inning, renewed play by trading single runs in the bottom of the sixth and top of the seventh before 3rd baseman Pedro Feliz singled in the winning run. J.C. Romero and closer Brad Lidge were lights-out in the eighth and ninth innings as the Phillies bested the Rays for the World Series Title by 4 games to 1 and a 4-3 score.
Ace lefthander Cole Hamels, who didn’t get his 4th post-season win, was awarded the Series MVP award for having pitched a solid 7 innings in series game 1 as well as another excellent outing going 6 innings in game 5 under treacherous weather conditions.
Reliever Grant Balfour stayed in the game to begin the Phillies’ sixth inning and gave up an inning opening double to Geoff Jenkins who pinch-hit for Hamels. Shortstop Jimmy Rollins’ sacrifice bunted Balfour’s 1st pitch to 3rd base moving Jenkins to 3rd with 1 out. Rightfielder Jayson Werth followed by lining Balfour’s 2-2 pitch to centerfield scoring Jenkins to put the Phils up 3-2. J.P. Howell took over from Balfour struck 2nd baseman Chase Utley out on 3 pitches and got 1st baseman Ryan Howard to pop out to 3rd base to end the inning. But the Phils had taken a 3-2 lead and it looked like Hamels would actually get his 5th post-season win.
Ryan Madson took over pitching duties in the seventh inning and struck out catcher Dioner Navarro for out 1. But then Rocco Baldelli nailed Madson’s first offering for a solo homer to left and the game was again tied. Two pitches later, shortstop Jason Bartlett singled to left and advanced to 2nd base on a Howell’s sacrifice bunt to the pitcher. Manager Manuel then went to J.C. Romero who was greeted with lead-off hitter 2nd baseman Akinori Iwamura’s infield grounder over 2nd base. Bartlett went to 3rd and tried to score on the play when he was fooled on Utley’s alert bluff throw to first. Bartlett was a sitting duck being tagged out at home on the play as the Rays side was retired and Romero and the Phillies escaped a Rays go-ahead threat.
In the bottom of the seventh, leftfielder Pat Burrell led off by lining
Howell’s 1-1 pitch off the centerfield wall for a double. Eric Bruntlett ran for Burrell and stayed in the game to play leftfield in the late innings.
Pedro Feliz then lined Howell’s 1 strike pitch to centerfield to drive in what turned out to be the winning run. Catcher Carlos Ruiz and Romero both grounded out to end the inning but the Phils had the lead by 4-3.
After leftfielder Carl Crawford singled to open the eighth inning, centerfielder B.J. Upton grounded into a shortstop-to-2nd-to-1st doubleplay and 1st baseman Carlos Pena lined out to leftfield to retire the side. Romero, who threw 14 pitches was credited with his 2nd win of the World Series.
The Phillies went down in the eighth as only Chase Utley reached on a David Price walk.
Closer Brad Lidge, who went perfect for the season with 48 save in 48 opportunities through the World Series, rang up the Rays in the ninth inning. Lidge only gave up a 1 out single to catcher Navarro and wound up the series in true Tug McGraw style — a swinging third strike on pinch hitter Eric Hinske for the final out. Then it was fireworks, horn-honking auto caravans and party-time in Philly with Harry Kalas giving another rendition of the Ole’ Blue Eyes tune — “High Hopes.”
Rays reliever J.P. Howell, who gave up the winning run in the seventh, was charged with his 2nd loss of the World Series and his 3rd of the post-season.
For the Phillies, 45 year old Jamie Moyer and all, it was their 2nd World Series title in the franchise’s 126-year history. AP Sports Writer Rob Maaddi noted for Yahoo sports;
The bullpen led the NL in ERA (3.22) and winning percentage (.589) during the regular season, and was even better in the playoffs. They were the biggest reason the Phillies were 89-0 this year when leading after eight innings— including 10 postseason wins.
MVP winner Hamels received both the MVP trophy and keys to a new sports car.