Major League Baseball's World Series opened Wednesday night in Florida, between the host Tampa Bay Rays - the American League champions - and the National League champion Philadelphia Phillies. VOA Sports Editor Parke Brewer was at Game One of the best-of-seven series and reports on Philadelphia's 3-2 victory.
In a game that did not end until shortly after midnight Wednesday, it was Philadelphia's bullpen star Brad Lidge who pitched the ninth inning to get the save in a tightly played contest.
In the previous two rounds of the playoffs, Lidge saved five of the Phillies' seven wins.
The game got off to a bad start for the host Tampa Bay Rays, playing in their first ever World Series. In the first inning, after a one-out walk (to Jayson Werth), Phillies' second baseman Chase Utley blasted a two-run home run over the right field wall.
"Obviously it feels pretty good," Utley said. "Our goal today was to try to score some runs early and try to take the crowd out of it, because they are intense. They are loud. And, I thought we did a good job of that, and I think Cole did a wonderful job again."
Utley is referring to Phillies' starting and winning pitcher Cole Hamels, who threw seven innings, allowing only five hits and the two Tampa runs. He now has four wins, without a loss, in this post-season.
"You know, with being able to score runs early, you know it helps out my game a little bit; makes it easier just because it, I guess, lessens the pressure and puts me at a point where I can't really do much else, but just allow myself to go out there and keep pitching," Hamels said. "And, you know these guys [my teammates] will keep scoring runs."
But, in this game, the Phillies only got one run after the first inning and it was enough. It came in the fourth and was driven in by Carl Ruiz on a ground out, to make the score 3-0.
Tampa left fielder Carl Crawford cut the deficit to 3-1 with a solo home run in the bottom of the fourth inning. The Rays added one more in the fifth, thanks to a run-batted-in double by Tampa's Japanese second baseman Akimori Iwamura. That made it 3-2, and that's the way it ended.
Tampa will also host Game Two in the best-of-seven series Thursday night (8:30 p.m. ET) and will hope to get a win before the World Series switches to Philadelphia for Game Three, Saturday.