By Joe Juliano
INQUIRER STAFF WRITER
Source Link: http://www.philly.com


After 28 years, and two days of waiting for the rain to stop so that Game 5 of the World Series could resume, the wait is over.

The Phillies are the champions.

Pedro Feliz singled in pinch-runner Eric Bruntlett with the tiebreaking run in the seventh inning, and Brad Lidge finished up a perfect year out of the bullpen by closing in the ninth to lift the Phillies to a 4-3 victory over the Tampa Bay Rays tonight at Citizens Bank Park.

The Phillies won all three games at the Bank to clinch the best-of-seven series, four games to one, and win their first World Series title since 1980. The fourth victory was the most difficult since the game had been suspended Monday night because of a cold, windblown rain after 51/2 innings with the score tied at 2.

J.C. Romero worked 11/3 innings to pick up the win. Lidge gave up a broken-bat single in the ninth to Dioner Navarro but struck out pinch-hitter Eric Hinske on three pitches amid a barrage of camera flashes to pick up the save, his 48th in 48 opportunities this season.

Lidge fell to his knees after the final out, and he was mobbed a split second later by his teammates.

Judging from the way the game progressed after it resumed at 8:40 p.m., the thought was that perhaps baseball should try more of these three-inning minigames.

Leading off the sixth, pinch-hitter Geoff Jenkins turned the revved-up crowd into a frenzied, howling throng by blasting a 3-2 pitch off the wall in right-center for a double. Jimmy Rollins sacrificed Jenkins to third.

Jayson Werth got Jenkins home when his bloop to center field against a drawn-in infield went off the glove of second baseman Akinori Iwamura, who went a long way and tried to make an over-the-shoulder catch but could not hold on.

The Rays got the run back in the seventh without too much trouble when, with one out, Rocco Baldelli lined the first pitch he saw off Ryan Madson over the left-field wall. Jason Bartlett followed with a single and was sacrificed to second by pitcher J.P. Howell.

Iwamura then shot a grounder up the middle that was gloved by Chase Utley, who faked a throw to first. However, Bartlett never stopped running as he rounded third and was thrown out at the plate by Utley, who made an off-line throw that was handled in fine fashion for the tag by catcher Carlos Ruiz.

The Phillies regained the lead in their half of the seventh. Pat Burrell, who was 0 for 13 in the World Series to that point, hit a drive off the wall in left-center that missed going out by about a foot. Burrell wound up with a double, and Shane Victorino’s groundout moved pinch-runner Eric Bruntlett to third.

Pedro Feliz then cracked a solid single up the middle to score Bruntlett, putting the Phillies back up, 4-3.

In a surprise decision, Tampa Bay manager Joe Maddon elected to have righthander Grant Balfour, his pitcher at the time of the suspension, remain in the game to face the lefthanded-hitting Jenkins. He appeared reluctant to put lefthanded phenom David Price in the game, in particular because Price would have been the fourth batter in the top of the seventh.

Phillies manager Charlie Manuel decided to start with Madson in the seventh, perhaps thinking he could be the bridge to Lidge if Manuel chose to have Lidge work for more than one inning. But Madson was lifted after Bartlett’s single, and J.C. Romero got the next four outs.