The Washington Times - October 23, 2008, 09:11AM

By JAY LeBLANC
October 23, 2008

Phillies 3, Rays 2
Phillies lead World Series 1-0

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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 of Ryan Madson and Brad Lidge came through once again, as Madson protected a one-run lead with a scoreless eighth before giving way to Lidge, who slammed the door in the ninth for his sixth postseason save.

Philadelphia jumped out to a 2-0 lead in the top of the first. After Jayson Werth drew a one-out walk, Chase Utley homered to right off Rays starter Scott Kazmir. The lefty settled down after that and kept the Phillies off the board until the fourth. Shane Victorino led off with a single and advanced to second on a single by Pedro Feliz. Both runners moved up on a Chris Coste groundout, and Victorino came home with the third Phillies run on a groundout by Carlos Ruiz before Kazmir could escape.

Phillies starter Cole Hamels cruised right along until the bottom of the fourth, and got the first two outs of that frame before serving up a solo shot to Carl Crawford. Tampa Bay pulled within a run in the bottom of the sixth when Jason Bartlett walked, stole second and came home on Akinori Iwamura’s double to left-center.

That’s all Tampa Bay would get, as Hamels (seven innings, two runs on five hits, five K’s) got through one more inning and then gave way to the Phillies’ late-inning duo of Ryan Madson and Brad Lidge. Madson fanned one during a scoreless eighth, and Lidge K’d two Rays during a scoreless ninth to notch his sixth save of the postseason.

Kazmir took the loss for Tampa Bay, allowing three runs on six hits in six innings of work while fanning four and walking four.

Tampa will try to get back on track tonight when it sends righty James Shields to the mound. The 26-year-old went 14-8 with a 3.56 ERA this season and was especially dominant at home, where he posted a 9-2 mark and a stingy 2.59 ERA. Philly will counter with righty Brett Myers, who has won both of his postseason starts. First pitch is scheduled for 8:29 p.m. EST.

Jay LeBlanc is an assistant news editor at The Washington Times and mayor of the National Pastime web community. He can be reached at jleblanc@washingtontimes.com.