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Phillies Pound Rays to Take 3-1 World Series Lead

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The Philadelphia Phillies have taken a three-games-to-one lead in Major League Baseball's best-of-seven World Series.  The host Phillies trounced the Tampa Bay Rays, 10-2, Sunday night, in Game Four.  VOA Sports Editor Parke Brewer was there and has a report.

This was the first lopsided game of this World Series.  The Phillies ran up the score by blasting four home runs.

Phillies starting and winning pitcher Joe Blanton even hit a home run, something that had not been done by a pitcher in a World Series game in 34 years.  After the game, Blanton joked to reporters that he just closed his eyes and swung hard.  And, even though he received a huge ovation rounding the bases, he says it was the cheers when he came out of the game in the seventh inning that meant more.

"My job is not to go out and hit home runs or get hits.  My job is to go out and throw the ball well and give our team a chance to win," he said.  "And, when you get the applause coming off the mound from pitching, you know you kind of get that sense of, you know, I've kind of done my job for the day, and I've given our team a chance to win."

Half of Philadelphia's 10 runs came courtesy of two home runs from the player who is expected to hit them - star first baseman Ryan Howard.  He hit a three-run homer in the fourth inning that broke open a close game and made it 5-1.  He added a two-run shot in the eighth inning to provide the final scoring on the night.

"To be able to have two home runs in a World Series, I think that's the kind of stuff you dream of when you are a teenager," said Howard.  "Obviously you want to win also.  But being able to do something like that and to help my team win, it's a great feeling."

Philadelphia's other home run was a two-run blast by second baseman Jayson Werth in the eighth inning, two batters before Howard hit his second one.

With the 10-2 victory, the Phillies are on the verge of winning their first World Series title since 1980.  The Tampa Bay Rays, playing in their first Fall Classic since joining the Major Leagues in 1998, would have to win the next three games to take the championship.

It will not be an easy task, but Rays Manager Joe Madden says his players must first focus on winning Monday night's Game Five in Philadelphia, because that is the only way the Series can go back to Tampa for a Game Six.

"I don't even like to talk about three in a row.  The mantra has been one game at a time.  If we could have three one-game winning streaks I'd be very happy," said Madden.  "And, I really want us to approach it that way.  That's the way we've approached the entire season.  It's about tomorrow, beating the guy tomorrow and getting back home.  We're actually pretty good back home too."

But first the Tampa Bay Rays will need to be better than good in Game Five, as Tampa will be facing the Phillies ace pitcher, Cole Hamels, who beat them in Game One and has not lost yet in this post-season.

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