Carlos Ruiz singled home the winning run in the ninth inning to lift the Philadelphia Phillies to a 5-4 win over the Tampa Bay Rays in the rain-hit third game of the World Series.
|Veteran Moyer finally gets his call-up for the World Series [GALLO/GETTY]
Chase Utley and Ryan Howard hit back-to-back home runs in the sixth for the Phillies as both teams had to wait an extra 91 minutes before taking the field on Saturday in the Major League Baseball best-of-seven championship series.
Veteran lefthander Jamie Moyer pitched 6 1/3 innings and struck out five for the Phillies, who are making their sixth trip to the Fall Classic.
"It exceeded every thought or dream I have had," Moyer said.
"I did a good job of what I set out to do."
Ruiz's RBI single, to go with a solo homer in the second, allowed Philadelphia to take a 2-1 series lead after they split the first two games at Tampa Bay.
With the bases loaded and the Tampa infield playing in tight, Ruiz hit a chopper down the third-base line that scored teammate Eric Bruntlett from third in front of a sold-out crowd of 45,900 at Citizens Bank Park.
The game ended at 1:30 in the morning meaning the players will have a quick turnaround as game four is less than 24 hours away on Sunday night.
The Phillies seem to be benefiting more from the long delay with a couple of early runs followed by three unanswered solo homers, including the first back-to-back homers in the World Series in six years.
Tampa starter Matt Garza looked uneasy in the early going but then settled in nicely for the Rays, who are trying to orchestrate one of the biggest turnarounds in American sports history by going from worst to World Series champions in one year.
Heavy rains and strong winds forced the players and Phillies' fans to seek shelter a couple of hours before the scheduled 8:30 pm start.
Officials covered the infield of Citizen Bank Park with a tarp late Friday in anticipation of the storm.
The start was pushed back to 10:06 pm and the game got underway as a light drizzle fell on the field.
It was the second latest start in World Series history behind a 1993 contest between Toronto and Philadelphia.
The rain stopped about 30 minutes after the opening pitch but it remained breezy and cool throughout the three hour, 41 minutes game as the temperature hovered around 55 F.
|Jayson Werth slides in [GALLO/GETTY]
So far so good for Moyer who at age 45 started his first World Series game in a more than 20-year Major League Baseball career.
Some questioned the wisdom of Phillies manager Charlie Manuel for starting Moyer who was 0-2 in the playoffs heading into game three but the former long-time Seattle Mariner has been a pleasant surprise for Philadelphia all year.
"You are going to have good and bad outings," Moyer said.
"My biggest goal over past two weeks was to put my previous outings behind me and focus on the now."
Moyer not only performed well on the mound but appeared to make the defensive play of the game in the seventh by diving down the first base line to snag a Carl Crawford hit and then flip the ball to first baseman Howard.
First base umpire Tom Hallion called Crawford safe but the Phillies protested and television replays backed up their claim.
The Rays scored two runs in the seventh after the blunder by Hallion.
"I couldn't see it. I didn't know if he was out or safe but I do now because I saw the replay," Moyer said.
Hallion admitted he made a mistake.
"Kudos to them, they made a great play," Hallion said. "I didn't get a sound to be able to judge."
Into a groove
|Carlos Ruiz hits a dribbler [GALLO/GETTY]
Both teams scored early and it looked like game three was going to be high scoring affair until starters Garza and Moyer got into a flow.
Utley hit a sacrifice to the infield giving the Phillies a 1-0 lead in the first inning.
Utley has been the Phillies most consistent hitter in the World Series, hitting a homer in his first World Series at-bat in game one at Tampa.
Gabe Gross tied it for Tampa Bay with a sacrifice fly to the outfield that scored Carl Crawford in the Rays' half of the second.
Catcher Ruiz hit a two-out home run in the second to make it 2-1 for the Phillies.
Ruiz, who hit four homers in the regular season, blasted this one to left field.
Utley crushed a solo home run to the right field bleachers off Garza to make it 3-1 in the sixth.
The next batter was Howard who belted a homer to the same bleachers to give Philadelphia a 4-1 lead.
It was the first home run of the World Series for Howard.
Tampa's Gross and Jason Bartlett each sacrificed a run in with infield hits as the Rays got two runs in the seventh to cut Philadelphia's lead to 4-3.
The Rays tied it on a throwing error by Ruiz who was trying to prevent Upton from stealing a base.
Ruiz's throw to third ricocheted off a sliding Upton into the warning track allowing Upton to waltz home.
Upton stole three bases Saturday, to tie a World Series record.