Philadelphia phreedom

BOB ELLIOTT, SUN MEDIA

, Last Updated: 10:31 AM ET

PHILADELPHIA -- The Philadelphia Phillies still can't hit with men in scoring position.

They had one hit - a 40-foot squibber - in four attempts last night and are now 2-for-32. However, they seemed to have found their home run swing. And the home run trot, as well.

The Phillies hit three solo home runs to edge the Tampa Bay Rays 5-4 before 45,900 fans, some of them sober, at Citizens Bank Park last night after a 91-minute rain delay.

The Phils now lead the best-of-seven, 104th World Series 2-1 with Game 4 tonight.

Bench player Eric Bruntlett was hit by a pitch by J.P. Howell to open the bottom of the ninth. Reliever Grant Balfour threw the second pitch to the screen and catcher Dioner Navarro threw the ball into centre field, allowing Bruntlett to make third with none out.

Tampa manager Joe Maddon then went with a five-man infield, bringing right fielder Ben Zobrist to play shallow short and issued intentional walks to Shane Victorino and pinch-hitter Greg Dobbs.

Carlos Ruiz dribbled a 2-2 pitch up the third line for the Phils' only hit on the night with men in scoring position - but it was all they needed.

Ruiz homered in the second, then Chase Utley and Ryan Howard went back-to-back in a six-pitch span in the sixth against Rays' Matt Garza for a 4-1 lead.

Ruiz put the Phillies back in the lead by hammering a 1-0 pitch deep to left.

Utley swung and the crowd gasped. Then it roared as Utley's rocket on a 2-1 Garza fastball sailed deep into the right field bleachers. Six pitches later, Howard homered to a similar spot.

Lefty Jamie Moyer, who turns 46 next month, started for the Phillies.

Moyer had allowed 10 hits and eight runs in five innings in two starts this month- losses to the Milwaukee Brewers and the Los Angeles Dodgers.

"To pitch your first Series game in the city you grew up in, more or less is very special," said Moyer, a Sellersville, Pa. native before his start.

"Fans embraced us the last couple of years. I haven't been here since the inception of this park, to me it's still a new park.

"Starting is something I've been dreaming about for my whole life."

Moyer dove to field Carl Crawford's bunt to open the seventh, crawled on his belly like and managed a back-handed flip to Howard.

Howard caught the ball soft toss bare-handed and appeared to tag Crawford on the hip, but umpire Tom Hallion ruled Crawford safe.

Dioner Navarro hit a soft double down the line and Gabe Gross bounced out knocking in a run, cutting the Rays deficit to 4-2.


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