PHILADELPHIA — Carlos Ruiz finished off a madcap ninth inning with an infield single with the bases loaded, and the Phillies outlasted the Tampa Bay Rays 5-4 early Sunday in Game 3 of the World Series for a 2-1 lead.
This was midnight madness and then some on a rainy night that pushed the start to 9:06 p.m. and it wrapped up at 12:47 a.m. Ruiz, Chase Utley and Ryan Howard homered for the Phils, but it took three kooky plays to win it on a bases-loaded trickler with no outs.
It all came down to this: Rays reliever J.P. Howell hit Eric Bruntlett with a pitch to start the ninth. Enter Grant Balfour, who threw a wild pitch that caromed off the backstop to catcher Dioner Navarro, whose throw trying to get Bruntlett skipped into center field.
With Bruntlett on third, the Rays issued two intentional walks. Ruiz followed with a nubber down the line and third baseman Evan Longoria charged. He dived for the ball, and rushed an underhanded flip home that sailed over Navarro's head.