National Pastime Archive: October 2008


  • Phillies claim first title since 1980

    In one of the strangest endings to a baseball season in history, the Philadelphia Phillies won the World Series tonight by outlasting the upstart Tampa Bay Rays 4-3 in the completion of a Game 5 that started more than 72 hours earlier. The rain that had kept the teams off the field since Sunday night was gone along with the majority of the wind, but the chill remained as Philly stepped to the plate in the bottom of the sixth with the game tied at two and the franchise's first title since 1980 in sight. The teams traded runs before Pedro Feliz' one-out RBI single in the bottom of the seventh gave the Phillies a 4-3 lead they'd never relinquish. Appropriately it was Brad Lidge - who didn't blow a single save all season - that struck out Rays pinch-hitter Eric Hinske to put an exclamation point on Philadelphia's long-awaited championship season. By Jay LeBlanc. Published October 29 2008

  • Rain forces suspension of Game 5

    The Phillies took a 2-0 lead in the first inning but the visiting Rays battled back and tied the game in the top of the sixth, just before the start of a rain delay that would eventually result in World Series Game 5 being suspended until tonight. Major League Baseball is undoubtedly happy that the Rays were able to knot the game before it was halted, as none but the most ardent Philly fans would have liked to see the Phillies clinch the World Series title in a game that didn't go the full nine. The game will resume at 8 p.m. EST tonight with the Phillies coming to bat in the bottom of the sixth. By Jay LeBlanc. Published October 28 2008

  • Phillies just one win away

    Ryan Howard busted out of his postseason power slump with two homers and five RBI and Joe Blanton tossed six strong innings and added a solo shot of his own as the Phillies ravaged the visiting Rays 10-2 in Game 4 of the World Series. Jimmy Rollins stroked three hits and scored three times for the Phils, who took a commanding 3-1 lead in the best-of-seven series. They'll send ace Cole Hamels to the mound tonight as they try to capture the franchise's first championship since 1980. By Jay LeBlanc. Published October 27 2008

  • KILL - Phillies just one win away

    Ryan Howard busted out of his postseason power slump with two homers and five RBI and Joe Blanton tossed six strong innings and added a solo shot of his own as the Phillies ravaged the visiting Rays 10-2 in Game 4 of the World Series. Jimmy Rollins stroked three hits and scored three times for the Phils, who took a commanding 3-1 lead in the best-of-seven series. They'll send ace Cole Hamels to the mound tonight as they try to capture the franchise's first championship since 1980. By Jay LeBlanc. Published October 26 2008

  • Phils win in 9th, take series lead

    Eric Bruntlett raced home with the winning run on a Carlos Ruiz dribbler to third in the bottom of the ninth to lift the Phillies to a 5-4 win over the visiting Rays in Game 3 of the World Series. 45-year-old lefty Jamie Moyer bounced back from a pair of ugly postseason outings to earn the victory with 6 1/3 innings of three-run ball and Ruiz, Chase Utley and Ryan Howard slugged solo shots as the Phillies took a 2-1 series lead. ALCS MVP Matt Garza allowed four runs on six hits - including all three Philly homers - in six innings to take the loss. By Jay LeBlanc. Published October 26 2008

  • KILL - Phils win in 9th, take 2-1 series lead

    Eric Bruntlett raced home with the winning run on a Carlos Ruiz dribbler to third in the bottom of the ninth to lift the Phillies to a 5-4 win over the visiting Rays in Game 3 of the World Series. 45-year-old lefty Jamie Moyer bounced back from a pair of ugly postseason performances to earn the victory with 6 1/3 innings of three-run ball and Ruiz, Chase Utley and Ryan Howard slugged solo shots as the Phillies took a 2-1 lead in the best-of-seven series. ALCS MVP Matt Garza allowed four runs on six hits - including all three Philly homers - in six innings of work to take the loss. By Jay LeBlanc. Published October 25 2008

  • Rays bounce back in Game 2

    Rays starter James Shields repeatedly pitched his way in and out of trouble during his 5 2/3 scoreless innings and Carlos Pena, Evan Longoria, B.J. Upton and Jason Bartlett each knocked in a run as Tampa Bay beat the visiting Phillies 4-2 Thursday night to even the World Series at a game apiece. Starter Brett Myers pitched relatively well for the Phillies after a shaky start, but his offense squandered numerous scoring opportunities throughout the course of the game. The series now shifts to Citizens Bank Park, where the Phillies posted a 48-33 mark during the regular season. By Jay LeBlanc. Published October 24 2008

  • Hamels, Utley lift Phils in Game 1

    Chase Utley slugged a two-run shot in the top of the first and Cole Hamels tossed seven innings of one-run ball to improve to 4-0 with a 1.55 ERA this postseason as the Phillies topped the Rays 3-2 at Tropicana Field to take a 1-0 lead in the World Series. Philadelphia's dynamic bullpen duo came through once again, as Ryan Madson protected a one-run lead with a scoreless eighth before giving way to Brad Lidge, who slammed the door in the ninth for his sixth postseason save. By Jay LeBlanc. Published October 23 2008

  • World Series predictions

    If the National Pastime staff's League Championship Series predictions showed one thing, it's that fans make lousy fortune tellers. All five of us picked the Red Sox to defeat the Rays and advance to the World Series, but don't misinterpret that as a collective lack of faith in Joe Maddon's ballclub. The truth is that all of us either used to live in Massachusetts or still do, and none of us could bring ourselves to root against our beloved Sox. Now that Tampa has shocked the world and taken the A.L. title, we're unencumbered by fan loyalties and the crystal ball is much clearer. Published October 22 2008

  • KILL - World Series predictions

    If the National Pastime staff's League Championship Series predictions showed one thing, it's that fans make lousy fortune tellers. All five of us picked the Red Sox to defeat the Rays and advance to the World Series, but don't misinterpret that as a collective lack of faith in Joe Maddon's ballclub. The truth is that all of us either live in Massachusetts or used to, and none of us could bring ourselves to root against our beloved Sox. Now that Tampa has shocked the world and taken the A.L. title, we're unencumbered by fan loyalties and the crystal ball is much clearer. Published October 21 2008

  • Rays vs. Phillies: The tale of the tape

    This year's Fall Classic promises to be just that. With apologies to the Red Sox and Dodgers, there's no question that baseball's two best teams will take the field in Game 1 of the 2008 World Series tomorrow night in St. Petersburg, Fla. With championship-caliber offense, defense and pitching, the Phillies are a team without a glaring weakness; of course, the same can be said of the upstart Rays. One of these squads will hoist the World Series trophy before the first Halloween candy is distributed - but which one? As we ponder that question and anxiously await first pitch from Tropicana Field, let's see how they match up. By Jay LeBlanc. Published October 21 2008

  • KILL - Rays vs. Phillies: The tale of the tape

    This year's Fall Classic promises to be just that. With apologies to the Red Sox and Dodgers, there's no question that baseball's two best teams will take the field in Game 1 of the 2008 World Series tomorrow night in St. Petersburg, Fla. With championship-caliber offense, defense and pitching, the Phillies are a team without a glaring weakness; of course, the same can be said of the upstart Rays. One of these squads will hoist the World Series trophy before Halloween - but which one? As we ponder that question and anxiously await first pitch from Tropicana Field, let's see how they match up. By Jay LeBlanc. Published October 20 2008

  • Garza, Price pitch Rays into Series

    Rookie phenom David Price preserved a 4-2 Rays lead by fanning the red hot J.D. Drew with the bases loaded in the top of the eighth and slammed the door shut on the Red Sox' season in the ninth as Tampa Bay edged the defending World Champs last night in Game 7 of the American League Championship Series. ALCS MVP Matt Garza earned the win by allowing one earned run on just two hits while fanning nine in seven stellar innings of work for the Rays, who will host the Philadelphia Phillies Wednesday night in Game 1 of the 2008 World Series just a year after finishing with the worst record in all of baseball. By Jay LeBlanc. Published October 20 2008

  • Sox win sets up Game 7 showdown

    Jason Varitek's two-out solo shot in the top of the sixth broke a 2-2 tie and gave the visiting Red Sox a lead they would never relinquish as they went on to beat Tampa Bay 4-2 to tie the American League Championship Series at three games apiece. Red Sox starter Josh Beckett allowed two runs on four hits in five innings of work and the Boston bullpen took over from there, with Hideki Okajima, Justin Masterson and Jonathan Papelbon holding the Rays hitless the rest of the way to force a Game 7 showdown for the A.L. crown tonight at Tropicana Field. By Jay LeBlanc. Published October 19 2008

  • Historic Red Sox rally extends ALCS

    J.D. Drew laced a J.P. Howell offering over the head of Rays right fielder Gabe Gross with two outs in the bottom of the ninth to drive home Kevin Youkilis with the winning run and complete one of the most remarkable comebacks in postseason history as the Red Sox staved off elimination with an 8-7 victory in Game 5 of the American League Championship Series. The Red Sox came to bat trailing 7-0 in the bottom of the seventh but tallied four in that frame and three in the eighth before pushing the winning run across in dramatic fashion in the ninth. Boston's win sends the series back to Tropicana Field, where Josh Beckett will face off against Tampa Bay's James Shields Saturday night in Game 6. By Jay LeBlanc. Published October 17 2008

  • Phillies advance to Fall Classic

    Cole Hamels tossed seven innings of one-run ball to pick up his second win of the National League Championship Series - as well as series MVP honors - as the visiting Phillies topped the Dodgers 5-1 in Game 4 to advance to the World Series for the first time since 1993. Jimmy Rollins led off the game with a solo shot off L.A.'s Chad Billingsley, who lasted just 2 2/3 innings and surrendered the first three Phillies runs. The Phillies tacked on two more runs in the third on RBI singles by Ryan Howard and Pat Burrell and pulled away with a two-run fifth that was fueled by three errors by Dodgers shortstop Rafael Furcal. By Jay LeBlanc. Published October 16 2008

  • Rays a win away from World Series

    Tampa Bay embarrassed the defending World Champion Red Sox on their home turf for the second straight night, blasting their way to a 13-4 win to take a 3-1 lead in the ALCS. Willy Aybar homered and knocked in five runs, Evan Longoria and Carlos Pena slugged two-run shots and Carl Crawford went 5-for-5 with three runs scored and a pair of RBI in the rout. Right-hander Andy Sonnanstine was the beneficiary, allowing three runs in 7 1/3 innings of work to earn the victory. By Jay LeBlanc. Published October 15 2008

  • Phils rally late, take 3-1 NLCS lead

    The Dodgers led by two entering the eighth inning of Game 4 of the NLCS last night, but Shane Victorino tied the score with a two-run blast and Matt Stairs slugged a two-run shot of his own three batters later to lift the visiting Phillies to a 7-5 win and a 3-1 series lead. Brad Lidge got the final four outs to seal the win for the Phillies, who will send ace Cole Hamels to the mound Wednesday night as they look to make their first trip to the World Series since 1993. Earlier in the day, the Rays trounced the Red Sox 9-1 at Fenway to take a 2-1 ALCS lead behind four homers and a solid pitching performance by Matt Garza. By Jay LeBlanc. Published October 14 2008

  • Dodger bats come alive in Game 3

    Back home and facing a 2-0 deficit in the NLCS, the Dodgers put up five runs in the first and rode another strong postseason outing by Hiroki Kuroda to a 7-2 Game 3 victory. The 33-year-old Japanese import, who tossed 6 1/3 shutout innings to earn the win in the decisive Game 3 of the NLDS against the Cubs, improved to 2-0 this October by allowing two runs on five hits in six-plus innings of work. Blake DeWitt provided the big hit with a three-run triple during L.A.'s first-inning outburst. Tempers flared in the third when Kuroda nearly hit Philly's Shane Victorino in the head. The benches emptied, but no punches were thrown. By Jay LeBlanc. Published October 13 2008

  • Shallow sac fly ends epic slugfest

    Game 1 of the ALCS featured a thrilling pitchers' duel between Boston's Daisuke Matsuzaka and Tampa Bay's James Shields, and more of the same was expected in Game 2 with Josh Beckett taking the hill for the Red Sox and Scott Kazmir for the Rays. Instead, the A.L. East rivals treated fans to a five-plus hour slugfest that featured seven homers and 17 runs. The Rays edged the Sox 9-8 when Fernando Perez raced home on B.J. Upton's shallow sac fly in the bottom of the 11th, tying the series at a game apiece as the teams head to Boston. By Jay LeBlanc. Published October 12 2008

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