Nobody out. Ninth inning. Bases loaded. Carlos Ruiz swings at a two-strike pitch, dribbling it down the third base line. Running on contact, Eric Bruntlett hustles to the plate. Evan Longoria scoops the ball and flips it high above the catcher, as Bruntlett scores the winning run for the 5-4 victory. With that one play, the Phillies now lead the World Series 2-1.
What a game. The Phils gained an early lead through an RBI groundout. Jamie Moyer pitched very well, mowing down the young Rays in six-plus innings. Ruiz — for my money the series MVP at this point — homered to hand the Phils a lead, then the big bats came alive. Chase Utley and Ryan Howard’s homers made it 4-1. Seemed all but finished.
But a horrible safe call on a gorgeous play by Moyer sparked a two-run inning for the Rays. If that call is correct, it’s still 4-1; instead, down a run, BJ Upton manufactured the tying score in the seventh. A whole new ballgame.
Ironically, the Phils used small ball to win it. Eric Bruntlett was hit by the wild JP Howell to lead off the ninth. Then Shane Victorino was almost hit by Grant Balfour; that had Bruntlett booking for second, and catcher Dioner Navarro’s errant throw put Bruntlett on third. After Joe Maddon tried to coach out of the ninth with two walks and a five-man infield, Ruiz made him pay with the squib.
So much to talk about — Ruiz’s fantastic play, Moyer’s great start, the bullpen doing their job, the bad umpiring, Jayson Werth’s continued follies, Howard hitting a big homer. This was an epic World Series game, even without the 1:30 rain delay before the first pitch. This was awesome.
Associated Press photo