On this day 10 years ago, the Phillies celebrated their second World Series title in franchise history after an unconventional Game Five.
Despite being around for well over 100 years, the Phillies had just one World Series title to their name heading into 2008. They reached the series five times but only won once in 1980, led by franchise legends Steve Carlton and Mike Schmidt. On this day ten years ago, the Phillies were just three innings away from their second World Series title.
The series-clinching Game Five started two days prior, on Oct. 27, but rain forced it to be suspended. Commissioner Bud Selig ruled before the game that the World Series would not be clinched in a rain-shortened game, so Tampa Bay and Philadelphia picked up where they left off in the bottom of the sixth. Click here to read about what happened before the suspension.
Manager Charlie Manuel was put in an interesting position to start off the second part of the game. Starting pitcher Cole Hamels, who tossed six innings of two-run ball, was set to lead off. Manuel opted to have Geoff Jenkins, who joined the team that year, to pinch-hit for Hamels.
Jenkins took advantage of just his fourth at-bat in the postseason, recording his only hit of the playoffs, a double to deep center field. Jimmy Rollins sacrifice bunted Jenkins over to third base, and Jayson Werth hit an RBI single to score Jenkins.
This lead didn’t last long as Ryan Madson, a stout reliever all year long, allowed his second run of the series on a solo home run by Rocco Baldelli.
J.C. Romero entered the game with two outs when Jason Bartlett reached second base. The ensuing play was arguably the series-winner.
Rays leadoff hitter Akinori Iwamura grounded a ball up the middle, which Chase Utley fielded. Utley knew he had no chance of getting Iwamura out at first but saw Bartlett rounding third, trying to score the go-ahead run. Utley pump-faked to first to keep Bartlett running then fired home to Carlos Ruiz, who tagged out the diving Bartlett to end the inning.
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Pat Burrell, not to be outdone by Jenkins the inning prior, led off the bottom of the seventh with his own double. It was his only hit of the World Series, but it couldn’t have come at a better time. Manuel subbed in the much quicker Eric Bruntlett, who scored the game-winning run in Game Three, to pinch-run for Burrell. Bruntlett advanced to third on a groundout and came around to score on a single by Pedro Feliz.
J.C. Romero kept the Rays at bay in the eighth thanks to a trademark Rollins-to-Utley-to-Howard double play. This completed the “Bridge to Lidge” as Brad Lidge entered for the ninth. Lidge had been perfect in save situations all season long, going 47-for-47 to that point.
Lidge got into some trouble into the ninth, allowing a one-out single to Dioner Navarro. Pinch-runner Fernando Perez stole second to put a runner in scoring position. Lidge escaped without any trouble, getting Ben Zobrist to line out to right field before striking out Eric Hinske to end the game. Lidge dropped to his knees in celebration and the party was on in Philadelphia.
The championship was the first in Philadelphia in 25 years since the 76ers won the NBA title in 1983. The Eagles celebrated their first Super Bowl and first NFL championship since 1960 earlier this year. Now we look back and celebrate the 2008 Phillies ten years later as we wait for another World Series title.