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Howard And Blanton Lead The Charge As Phillies Blast Rays 10-2

The Philadelphia Phillies exploded for ten runs Sunday night as they defeated the Tampa Bay Rays 10-2 in game four of the 2008 World Series. The victory gives Philadelphia a 3-1 lead in the series, and could close it out in front of their home fans Monday night. The Phillies blasted four home runs two by first baseman Ryan Howard, and one by starting and winning pitcher Joe Blanton. He is the the first pitcher since 1974 to hit a home run in the Fall Classic and only the 15th pitcher in MLB history to accomplish it.

Philadelphia got on the board in the bottom of the first as Rays starter Andy Sonnanstine gave up a leadoff double to Jimmy Rollins. He went to third on a Jayson Werth fly out to right. Chase Utley walked, and then Ryan Howard hit the ball back to Sonnanstine. Rollins broke for home on the play and was caught in a run down. Although he appeared to be out the umpires ruled him safe at third, leaving bases loaded with one down. Sonnanstine then committed the cardinal sin of walking Pat Burrell forcing home the run. No further damage was done and it was 1-0 Phillies.

Philadelphia scored again in the third as Utley led off the frame by reaching first on an error by second baseman Akinori Iwamura. Howard singled to right as Utley sprinted to third. Utley scored as Pedro Feliz drove him home with a single to left, making it a a 2-0 contest at the end of three innings. Tampa Bay got on the board in the top of the fourth as Carl Crawford hit a solo home run, making it a 2-1 game.

Sonnanstine put himself in the hole in the bottom of the inning, as he gave up a three run blast to Howard putting the Phillies ahead at the end of four innings 5-1. Blanton gave up a dinger to Eric Hinske who pinch hit for Sonnanstine in the top of the fifth bringing Tampa Bay closer at 5-2. But Blanton got the run back in the bottom of the inning as he hit his historic shot Rays reliever Edwin Jackson (write this name down; it will win you a lot of bar bets in about five years!) putting Philadelphia ahead 6-2.

The Phillies broke the game wide open in the bottom of the eighth as both Jayson Werth and Howard hit two run home runs, putting them up 10-2. Blanton got the victory for Philadelphia as he pitched 6 innings giving up 2 runs, on 4 hits, striking out 7 and walking 2. Sonnanstine pitched just 4 innings, allowing 5 runs, on 6 hits, walking 3, and striking out 2. Game five will be Monday night with a rematch of the game one pitchers. Scott Kazmir will look to keep things alive for Tampa Bay and Cole Hamels will be on the hill for the Phillies.

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