Final

Playoff Series: Game 5 of 5

Philadelphia won 4-1

Game 1: Wednesday, October 22
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Tampa Bay2
Game 2: Thursday, October 23
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Tampa Bay4
Game 3: Saturday, October 25
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Game 4: Sunday, October 26
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Game 5: Monday, October 27
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Rays 3

 

8:00 PM ET, October 27, 2008

Citizens Bank Park, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania 

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PHI 20000110 - 4 8 1

W: J. Romero (2-0)

L: J. Howell (0-2)

S: B. Lidge (2)

Lidge and the Phillies close out Rays, earn World Series title 

ESPN.com news services

PHILADELPHIA -- Save the jokes, the taunts and all those insults about the losingest team in sports.

The Philadelphia Phillies just won themselves a World Series.

If that sounds strange, it was strange.

More Coverage

• Philadelphia had spent the past 25 years watching different cities celebrate titles, until the Phillies dismissed the Rays in five games to win the franchise's second World Series title. Jayson Stark

• On Oct. 9, the day before she died, Charlie Manuel's mother said the Phillies would win the World Series. On Wednesday, the manager's mother proved yet again that Mom is always right.
Gene Wojciechowski

• Based on how Game 5 turned out, maybe MLB should consider playing each World Series game one half-game at a time. Jim Caple

•  It won't take them long to get over their World Series loss to the Phillies. The Rays know they accomplished something very special this season. Jerry Crasnick

• If free-agent-to-be Pat Burrell does indeed leave Philadelphia after nine seasons, he'll leave as a champion.
Amy K. Nelson



• Ryan Howard talks about winning the World Series. Listen

• Jamie Moyer reflects skipping school in 1980 to go to the Phillies World Series parade. Listen

• ESPN MLB analysis features a wrap-up of all the postgame interviews. Listen

Nearly 50 hours after Game 5 started but was stopped by rain, Brad Lidge and the Phillies finished off the Tampa Bay Rays 4-3 in a three-inning sprint Wednesday night.

"It was a crazy way to win it with a suspended game, but we did and it's over," 45-year-old Phillies pitcher Jamie Moyer said. "It has been a long wait, but it's worth it."

Left in limbo by a two-day storm, the Phillies seesawed to their first championship since 1980. Pedro Feliz singled home the go-ahead run in the seventh and Lidge closed out his perfect season to deliver the title Philly craved for so long.

Cheesesteaks, on the house.

"Who's the world champion?" manager Charlie Manuel asked the gleeful crowd during a 90-minute postgame ceremony that lasted longer than Wednesday night's action.

White House spokeswoman Dana Perino said that President Bush talked to David Montgomery, the Phillies' president, on Thursday morning. She said he "offered his congratulations and said how exciting it must be for him, the team, and for all of the fans."

Perino said that Bush also noted that Manuel had brought some of the players by the White House last year, and said he was "really impressed" by them. She said Bush asked Montgomery "to give Charlie and the entire organization his best."

Bundled in parkas and blankets, fans returned in force to Citizens Bank Park and saw the city claim its first major sports championship in 25 years. No more references needed to those sad-sack Phillies teams in the past and their 10,000-plus losses.

"They could taste it just as much as we could," Series MVP Cole Hamels said.

It was among the wackiest endings in baseball history, a best-of-seven series turned into a best-of-3 1/2 showdown when play resumed in the bottom of the sixth inning tied at 2.

Home Sweet Home

The Phillies became the fifth team to come home tied 1-1 and go on to win the World Series by taking three straight in their own park. The Cardinals were the last to do it, in 2006 against the Tigers. Here's a look:

Year Team
2008 Phillies
2006 Cardinals
1984 Tigers
1974 Athletics
1969 Mets
How bizarre? Hamels was a star in Game 5 -- and the ace never stepped on the mound Wednesday night; Two Rays relievers warmed up to start, and there was a pinch-hitter before a single pitch; "God Bless America" was sung rather than the national anthem, and it was quickly followed by the seventh-inning stretch.

All because the game was suspended Monday night after rain made the field into a quagmire, washing out the foul lines, creating a puddle at home plate and turning every ball an adventure. Commissioner Bud Selig eventually called it -- fans booed loudly when he presented the MVP trophy to Hamels.

For Philly, it was more than a World Series win. Got the whole city off the hook, actually.

Finally, long after Julius Erving led the Sixers to the 1983 NBA title, something to celebrate.

How much did Philly fans want a champion to call their own?

Well, the sports hero they point to with the most pride isn't even a real person -- Rocky Balboa.

Yo, Adrian ... the Phillies did it!

"It's over," shortstop Jimmy Rollins said. "It's over, man."

Fast Facts

• The Phillies scored two runs in the resumed portion of Game 5 to clinch their first World Series title since 1980 and second in team history.

• The win gives the city of Philadelphia its first major sports championship since 1983, when the 76ers won the NBA title.

• The Phillies go 7-0 at home in the postseason. Since 1995, only the Phillies and 1999 Yankees have gone unbeaten at home in postseason and won the World Series.

• The Phillies closed the season hot. Including the postseason, they won 24 of 30 to end the year.

-- ESPN research

Lidge went 48-for-48 on save chances this year, including two this week. He retired two batters with a runner on second, striking out pinch-hitter Eric Hinske to end it.

Lidge jumped in front of the mound, landing on his knees with arms outstretched. Catcher Carlos Ruiz ran out to grab him, and teammates sprinted to the mound to join them as towel-waving fans let loose.

"At first, I couldn't believe it. And then the gravity of what happened hit me," Lidge said.

A generation ago, it was Tug McGraw who went wild when the Phillies won their first title. A few days after country singer Tim McGraw scattered his dad's ashes on the mound, it was Lidge's turn to throw the final pitch.

Popular broadcaster Harry Kalas, in his fourth decade of doing Phillies games, serenaded the festive fans with a chorus of "High Hopes."

Despite low TV ratings and minus the majors' most glamorous teams, fans will always remember how this one wrapped up. And for the first time in a long while, kids saw a World Series champion crowned before bedtime.

"I believe this firmly, our guys are not going to be satisfied without playing in October from now on," Rays manager Joe Maddon said. "And that's a good thing. And that's all because of this group of people this year."

Reliever J.C. Romero got the win, his second of the Series.

Hamels went 4-0 in five postseason starts, beating the Rays in Game 1 and pitching six sharp innings in the rain during Game 5. He was set to be the first batter when the game resumed, and was immediately pulled for a pinch-hitter.

While former NL MVPs Ryan Howard and Rollins drive the Phillies, it was their less-heralded teammates who helped win it on this chilly night.

Closing It Out

Phillies closer Brad Lidge was 41-for-41 on save opportunities in the regular season. He stayed perfect in the postseason and equaled the NL record for saves. Here's a look:

Most Saves by NL Pitcher
Single Postseason
Year, Player Team Saves
2008, Brad Lidge* Phillies 7
2002, Robb Nen Giants 7
2007, Manny Corpas Rockies 5
1996, Mark Wohlers Braves 5
*Won the World Series
Tied at 3, Pat Burrell led off the seventh with a drive off the center-field wall against J.P. Howell. Chad Bradford relieved and one out later Feliz singled home pinch-runner Eric Bruntlett.

Rocco Baldelli's solo home run off Ryan Madson made it 3-all in the top of the seventh. The Rays almost got more, but All-Star second baseman Chase Utley alertly bluffed a throw to first on a grounder over the bag and instead threw out Jason Bartlett at the plate.

Pinch-hitter Geoff Jenkins, the first batter Wednesday night, doubled and later scored on Jayson Werth's bloop single.

In all, there were six new pitchers, three pinch-hitters and two pinch-runners when play restarted.

Manuel, whose NL East champions clinched a playoff spot in the final week, guided the Phillies' second overall championship in six World Series tries. The Phils helped themselves by going 7-0 at home this postseason, beating Milwaukee and the Dodgers in the NL playoffs and then defeating the Rays.

"I always thought we'd win the World Series. I knew we could beat anyone in the league," Manuel said.

Once known as a city of champions, Philadelphia saw its sports teams fall on hard times after Erving and Moses Malone led the Sixers to that 1983 title.

Since then, the Phillies, Eagles, Sixers and Flyers made it to the championship game or round -- seven times, in total -- and lost all of them.

The city became so starved for a crown that it was ready to throw a parade down Broad Street for a horse. But local colt Smarty Jones lost, too, in his bid for the Triple Crown.

Now, all those people can gather for the celebration Friday -- it's Halloween, and fans can dress up as champions for Halloween.

"People enjoy being associated with winning and a world championship is the ultimate," Mike Schmidt, MVP of the Phillies' other championship, wrote in an e-mail to The Associated Press this week. "It unites a town behind one team."

Tampa Bay did itself proud, too, until this final week. Baseball's best success story this season, the worst-to-first Rays played like the downtrodden Devil Rays from the past decade.

Even so, the gap between the Phils and Rays wasn't enormous. Had Evan Longoria's late, long drive off Moyer in Game 3 not been blown back by the wind, the teams might still be playing.

Game notes


The World Series failed to make it to a Game 6 for the fifth straight year, the first time that's happened. ... Burrell went 1-for-14 in the five games. ... Howell put down the first sacrifice bunt of his career.

Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.

Copyright by STATS LLC and The Associated Press

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