First things first, I didn’t stay up to watch the game. As a matter of fact, I thought it was rained out and didn’t even realize there was a game until this morning. But there was a game three. And I like the way it ended – with Joe Maddon out-managing himself in the ninth inning and letting the Phillies walk off with a bases-loaded single.
The game started at a west-coast-like 10:06 with Jamie Moyer, the ageless one, taking on Matt Garza, the human saliva machine. Both were gone before this one would end. In the end, it was the Phillies’ bullpen and a lot of over-thinking by Maddon that won and lost the game. Sportsline gives you the play-by-play:
Then it all came down to this: Rays reliever J.P. Howell hit Bruntlett with a pitch to start the inning. Enter Grant Balfour, who threw a wild pitch that caromed off the backstop to catcher Dioner Navarro, whose throw trying to get Bruntlett skipped into center field.
With Bruntlett on third, the Rays issued two intentional walks and brought in right fielder Ben Zobrist for a five-man infield.
“It looked like they were about to blitz,” Howard said.
Ruiz followed with a nubber down the line and third baseman Evan Longoria charged. He dived for the ball, and rushed an underhanded flip home that sailed over Navarro’s head.
Back-to-back intentional walks with Balfour on the mound and nobody out? Wheeler and Price still fresh in the pen? Not sure Maddon would make that call again if he had the chance.
Game four tonight for anyone that cares.