MLB: Phils win opener of Series rematch
Associated PressST. PETERSBURG, Fla. ó Forget a change of scenery, plus an added incentive to play well in a rematch of the teams from last year’s World Series.
Six runs in the first inning helped the Philadelphia Phillies relax and get back on track Tuesday night.
“We got some big hits early. We got some runs and we got a lead and was able to hold it,” manager Charlie Manuel said after the world champions got seven RBIs from Chase Utley and John Mayberry to rout the Tampa Bay Rays 10-1.
Utley and Mayberry both homered in support of Jamie Moyer (5-6) to help the Phillies shrug off a 1-8 interleague homestand that dropped the NL East leaders nine games below .500 (13-22) at Citizens Bank Park.
Philadelphia is a baseball-best 24-9 on the road.
“For us to just be able to go out there and get that kind of a start, it was good,” the Phillies’ Ryan Howard said. “It gives your pitcher a good cushion.”
Utley had a two-run double in the first inning. He added his 16th homer, a two-run shot in the fourth, off David Price (1-2) for a 10-0 lead against the Rays’ highly-regarded rookie left-hander.
Moyer (5-6) pitched six strong innings and John Mayberry, filling in for the injured Raul Ibanez, hit a three-run homer for the Phillies, who defeated the Rays in the World Series in five games.
Tampa Bay, which managed five hits off Moyer and eight overall, scored on Jason Bartlett’s fourth-inning single that extended the shortstop’s career-best hitting streak to 17 games ó one shy of the franchise record.
“They’re a good offensive ballclub. They can beat you in a lot of ways,” said Moyer, who walked three, struck out four and escaped a bases-loaded jam to stay in control after giving up Bartlett’s RBI hit. “All of baseball saw it last year.”
For the 46-year-old Moyer, who made his pro debut 15 months before the 23-year-old Price was born, it was career win No. 251, moving him into a tie with Hall of Famer Bob Gibson for 43rd on the all-time list.
He’s worked six innings or more in each of his last seven starts, improved to 9-4 lifetime against Tampa Bay and is 19-14 with a 3.23 ERA in interleague play.
“He knows what he’s doing. … He was on top of his game tonight,” Rays manager Joe Maddon said.
This is the seventh time since interleague play began in 1997 that World Series participants have met the following regular season, although the Rays insist there’s nothing special about the rematch.
The teams played several times during spring training, including twice in Philadelphia, where the Phillies won Games 3, 4 and 5 to close out the World Series.
“Once you did that, it was sort of the proverbial closure situation, and you’re able to move on,” Maddon said before the game.
“It really seems like such a long time ago right now, which is a good thing,. Again, we’re still attempting to make his year better than last year. … I’m really pretty much over it. I know everybody wants to rehash it, and I apologize, but it’s about right now.”
The rematch hasn’t created a buzz among fans, either. The announced crowd at Tropicana Field was 19,608.
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