The Philadelphia Phillies have taken a two games to one lead in Major League Baseball's best-of-seven World Series. The host Phillies beat the Tampa Bay Rays, 5-4, in a dramatic Game 3 contest that ended well past midnight Saturday. VOA Sports Editor Parke Brewer was there and has a report.
The Phillies scored on a short infield hit by catcher Carlos Ruiz with the bases-loaded and no one out in the last of the ninth inning to gain the 5-4 victory in Game 3.
With strong, gusting winds and hard rain, it looked for awhile like the first outdoor game of this World Series might have to be postponed.
The first two games had been played at the Rays' indoor stadium in Florida.
But the storm system finally moved through Philadelphia, and after a 91-minute delay from the scheduled start time, the game got underway at 10:06pm. It was the latest start to a game on record in World Series history.
The Phillies had their patient fans in sold-out Citizens Bank Park on their feet in the very first inning.
Shortstop Jimmy Rollins led off with a single, took second on a walk to the next batter, advanced on a wild pitch and scored on a ground ball out to first by second baseman Chase Utley.
The Rays tied the game in their next at-bat, but the Phllies went right back ahead in their half of the second inning on a solo home run by Ruiz.
Utley and Phillies' slugger Ryan Howard made it 4-1 in the sixth inning on back-to-back solo home runs. The Rays cut the lead to 4-3 in the seventh inning and tied the game at 4-all in the eighth.
For the nearly 46,000 Philadelphia fans who stuck around until the Phillies scored the winning run in the ninth inning at almost 2 am, the wait was worth it.
All three games in this series have been close, and Phillies' manager Charlie Manual said they could have gone either way.
"We're 2-1, and actually we could have been 3-0, or basically Tampa could have been 3-0. I mean games have been real close, and there's been chances for both teams to win all the games," said manual. "And, so far, it's been an outstanding series."
Ryan Howard, who broke out of his hitting slump with his home run, put this win in perspective.
"It was definitely huge, you know, to come out here and win the first game here in Philly [Philadelphia]. You know, you definitely want to come out and try to set the tone and put you in a good position to try to come out tomorrow [Sunday] and try to get another game," said Howard.
This was the first World Series game in this East coast city in 15 years, and the Phillies will try to take a commanding three games to one lead at home in Game 4 Sunday night.