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Early Hitting, Strong Pitching Leads Rays Past Phillies 4-2; Series Tied 1-1


Tampa Bay Rays starter James Shields pitched five and two thirds of scoreless baseball, and Rays hitters roughed Phillies starter Brett Myers for two runs in the bottom of the first as Tampa Bay defeated the Philadelphia Phillies 4-2 Thursday night. The victory ties the 2008 World Series at 1-1.

One of the most deflating experiences for a pitcher is to walk the first batter he faces. Unfortunately for Brett Myers, that is how he started the bottom of the first by walking leadoff batter Akinori Iwamura. Things got worse quickly for Myers as the next batter Rays center fielder B.J. Upton hit a single to right. Phillies right fielder Jayson Werth committed an error on the play, putting runners on second and third with nobody out. Myers got Carlos Pena and Evan Longoria to both groundout, but a runner scored on each play, putting the Phillies in the hole 2-0.

Myers got back into trouble in the second, as Catcher Dioner Navarro hit a one out single and would score later in the inning as Upton drove him in with a single to right. At the end of two Tampa Bay led 3-0. The Rays would increase their advantage in the fourth, as Cliff Floyd opened the inning with a single up the middle. Navarro hit a bloop single into center putting runners at first and second with nobody out. Rocco Baldelli grounded into a fielders choice putting runners at the corners with one away. Floyd scored on a Jason Bartlett sacrifice to Myers, making it a 4-0 contest.

The Rays were done scoring for the evening, but it was enough as Tampa Bay starter James Shields was able to pitch himself out of jams throughout his performance. The Phillies finally got on the board in the top of the eighth as Eric Bruntlett hit a pinch hit dinger off Rays reliever David Price making it a 4-1 game. Price would give up his second run in the top of the ninth, as Carlos Ruiz opened the inning with a double. He scored as Jayson Werth got to first on an Evan Longoria error at third. But Price was able to get out of the inning without further damage, giving the Rays the win.

Shields had karma on his side as he pitched five and two thirds of an inning allowing nine base runners with seven hits and two walks. However he did not allow a run. Myers threw seven innings allowing four runs on seven hits and three walks as he took the loss. The series resumes Saturday night with polar opposites on the mounds for the opponents. The Rays will give the start to flame throwing youngster Matt Garza, while the Phillies counter with wily veteran Jamie Moyer.

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