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Rays-Phillies: Game Three Worth The Wait

Brian McCardleContributor INovember 5, 2016

There's no place like home. There's no place like home.

An hour and a half rain delay couldn't stop Game Three of the World Series from being played. Better late than never.

Phillies shortstop Jimmy Rollins started off the bottom of the first inning with his first hit in the World Series. Rays starting pitcher Matt Garza then walked Jayson Werth.

A wild pitch advanced both Rollins and Werth, and an infield groundout by Chase Utley made the game 1-0.

The Rays tied the game in the top of the second when Carl Crawford doubled, stole third, and reached home on a Gabe Gross sacrifice fly.

The scoring continued in the bottom of the second when catcher Carlos Ruiz put Philadelphia back on top, 2-1.

The game was quiet until the bottom of the sixth when Utley and first baseman Ryan Howard hit back-to-back homers, making it a 4-1 game.  

Garza, the ALCS MVP, started the game with cotton in his ears to help block out the noise from Phillies fans. The Rays pitcher fidgeted at the mound and never seemed to settle in.

In the top of the seventh inning, left fielder Crawford reached on a bunt single that he was actually thrown out on. Rays catcher Dioner Navarro followed by doubling to center, sending Crawford to third.

Another sacrifice by Gross scored Crawford and put Navarro on third.

Chad Durbin came in to relieve Phillies starter Jamie Moyer, who had five strikeouts and gave up five hits and three runs in 6 1/3 innings. 

Rays shortstop Jason Bartlett grounded out to score Navarro, making it a 4-3 game.

Ryan Madson was on the mound in the top of the eighth when center fielder B.J. Upton reached first on an infield hit. Upton then stole second and third, reaching home after a low throw by catcher Ruiz went into foul territory.

With the game tied going into the bottom of the ninth, Phillies left fielder Eric Bruntlett reached first after being hit by a pitch. A wild pitch and a throwing error would get Bruntlett to third base with no outs. 

Shane Victorino and pinch-hitter Greg Dobbs were both intentionally walked, bringing Ruiz to the plate.

Rays manager Joe Maddon moved right fielder Ben Zobrist in between the shortstop and second baseman, making a five-man infield.

"It looked like they were about to blitz," Howard said about the Rays' infield. 

Despite five Rays infielders, Bruntlett scored when Ruiz reached first on a wacky infield single. 

"It's better to be lucky sometimes than to be good," Manuel said. "It's a funny game."

Ruiz hit a dribbler down the third base line. Evan Longoria charged the ball and sent an underhanded flip over Navarro's head allowing Bruntlett to score, giving the Phillies a 5-4 win.

"You couldn't place a ball better than that. Lucky swing, perfect bounce," Zobrist said.

With Ruiz's game-winning hit, the Phils improved to 2-33 with runners in scoring position in the Series.

"You know what, it's crazy," Howard said. "It's a little nerve-racking but to come out with a victory like that, it's great."

Bruntlett crossed the plate at 1:47 AM. Three hours and 41 minutes after the game started.

"I was excited," said Ruiz, who is hitting .500 (4-for-8) in the World Series, "no matter what kind of hit it was. I said when I hit it, 'I'll take it. I'll take a win.'"

Coverage for Game Four of the World Series begins Sunday at 8 PM. The weather forecast is clear for the match between Phillies starter Joe Blanton and Rays starter Andy Sonnanstine. 

The Phillies lead the Series 2-1.

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