Rays Out-Slug World Champion Phillies for Series Win

JC De La TorreAnalyst IIIJune 26, 2009

ST PETERSBURG, FL - OCTOBER 23:  Carlos Ruiz #51 of the Philadelphia Phillies tags out Rocco Baldelli #5 of the Tampa Bay Rays at home plate for the third out in the bottom of the second inning on a ball hit by B.J. Upton #2 of the Rays during game two of the 2008 MLB World Series on October 23, 2008 at Tropicana Field in St. Petersburg, Florida.  (Photo by Doug Pensinger/Getty Images)

I've never been one for moral victories. You either win or you lose.

A rematch of teams that met in a championship setting the previous season does not constitute a "revenge game" nor series.

The Philadelphia Phillies defeated the Tampa Bay Rays in the 2008 World Series—they have the rings. No series win in June the following season will avenge that.

Perhaps that's what Tampa Bay fans were telling their team when they decided to keep Tropicana Field half-full the majority of the series.

The Rays took two out of three games of the set to improve to four games over .500, pull within six of the first place Boston Red Sox and within two of the current wild card holder, the Evil Empire (the New York Yankees for those just now being introduced to my blog posts).

Game one was a disaster from the outset, with super youngin' David Price getting waxed for six runs in just the first inning.

Before he'd leave after four and a thrid innings pitched, he would be on the hook for 10 runs (five earned).

The Rays offense, meanwhile, offered little resistance to 90-year-old Jamie Moyer, who pitched six innings and gave up only one run.

By the end, Philadelphia blasted the Rays 10-1, sparking some grumpy complaining by Rays management about attendance.

Tampa Bay rebounded for game two, taking an early 2-0 lead on a rare (at least this season) Pat Burrell home run.

Tampa Bay got a superb outing from Matt Garza, who went eight innings and gave up only one run while striking out 11. A five-run eighth inning would put the game away for the Rays as they went on to win 7-1.

In the rubber match, Andy Sonnanstine was blitzed in the first inning, giving up four runs, but the Rays picked up the young pitcher, scoring three in their half of the first.

They followed it up with another three the next inning to build a 6-4 advantage off Philadelphia starter Antonio Bastardo. Bastardo would leave the game after straining his shoulder (possibly while watching the Rays blitz him for seven hits and six runs).

Willy Aybar led the charge on offense, hitting a three-run blast that helped Tampa Bay go on to a 10-4 win.

In the game, Jason Bartlett set a franchise record, extending his hit streak to 19 games.

The Rays now open up a three-game series at the Trop against their crossstate rivals, the Florida Marlins, to wrap up interleague play.

Evan Longoria missed the last two games as a precaution after aggravating his hamstring injury.

Scott Kazmir appears to be poise to return to the starting rotation as he pitched well during his rehab stint in Triple A Durham. 

Reliever Chad Bradford may also be close to returning to the bullpen for Tampa Bay.

The team received great news on Akinori Iwamura. It was believed Aki was lost for the season with a torn ACL, but when the surgeon entered the knee the damage was not as severe as originally believed.

Aki should be back in a couple months, forcing the Rays into a tough decision with current second baseman Ben Zobrist. Zo-Zilla, as he is called by his teammates, is having an All-Star caliber season at the plate this year.

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