Make us your home page

Get the quickest, smartest news, analysis and photos from the Bucs game emailed to you shortly after the final whistle.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Tampa Bay Rays World Series: Blanton is Phils' unlikely hero

PHILADELPHIA — Joe Blanton. Joe Blanton?

A 27-year-old journeyman pitcher became a World Series hero in a town craving them Sunday, throwing a six-inning four-hitter, allowing two runs and striking out seven to push the Phillies to the brink of their first World Series title in 28 years.

Blanton didn't look like a consolation prize acquired when the Phillies failed to land CC Sabathia midsummer. And he didn't look like a guy whose postseason experience before this season was two relief innings in 2006.

Blanton, who had an NLDS win against Milwaukee and an average NLCS no-decision against the Dodgers, never allowed two runners aboard in the same inning until the sixth, when he walked Carlos Pena and hit Carl Crawford. But he struck out Dioner Navarro to end his night.

Oh, and he became the first pitcher in 34 years to hit a home run in the World Series. Blanton leaned into an Edwin Jackson pitch in the fifth and put it in the leftfield bleachers.

SS Jimmy Rollins was stunned.

"He dropped his head, and I was like, 'He knows he got that, doesn't he?,' " Rollins said. "Wow."

COCKED AND READY: Cole Hamels is cocky, manager Charlie Manuel said. Good cocky. And he likes it.

"I guess that's great that my manager thinks I'm cocky," Hamels said. "Really, I just have the confidence to go out there. I know I can do well. I have a team behind me that believes in me, and I will be able to do the job the right way if I focus and I guess really hit my locations."

Hamels has done that. He is 4-0 with a 1.55 ERA and 27 strikeouts in 29 postseason innings. He allowed two earned runs on five hits to win Game 1 and is scheduled to start Game 5 today with a chance to close out the Series.

Hamels, who grew up playing in a deep San Diego-area talent pool, learned as a teenager that a mid-90s fastball was not enough. He didn't have one anyway, didn't until he was almost 20 and playing for Clearwater in the Florida State League, so he developed a circle change that has become one of baseball's best.

"I call him Hollywood because he likes the bright lights," Rollins said. "And the lights are definitely going to be bright (today)."

POWER UP: The Phillies' key hitters have returned. Rollins went 3-for-5 and scored three runs and Ryan Howard 3-for-4 with five RBIs on two homers. The Phillies are 48-15 when Rollins scores.

Tampa Bay Rays World Series: Blanton is Phils' unlikely hero 10/26/08 [Last modified: Friday, October 31, 2008 7:14pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times


Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

  1. Video: Gordon Hayward's message to Celtics from hospital bed after gruesome injury


    BOSTON — Gordon Hayward's face was etched in pain and shock.

    Gordon Hayward of the Boston Celtics sits on the floor after being injured while playing the Cleveland Cavaliers at Quicken Loans Arena on October 17, 2017 in Cleveland, Ohio. [Gregory Shamus | Getty Images]
  2. Rick and Tom podcast: Where does Winston rank among top QBs?


    Where does Bucs QB Jameis Winston rank among current NFL QBs this year? The result might shock you. Rick Stroud and Tom Jones break down a new poll by Sports Illustrated in their latest podcast.

    Where does Jameis Winston rank among the NFL's top quarterbacks?
  3. Epilogue: USF's Mike Radomski made thank-yous a way of life


    TAMPA — He was a sucker for baseball and benevolence. Mike Radomski tracked every gesture, regardless of how noble or benign, as meticulously as pitch counts in his volumes of scorebooks.

    Assistant director of communications Mike Radomski, who primarily served as the media liaison for men's basketball but also worked with several other Bulls sports, died shortly after 1 a.m. Oct. 12, 2017 in a car accident on Interstate 75 near his Wildwood home. He was 29. PHOTO PROVIDED.
  4. Cubs down Dodgers 3-2; force NLCS Game 5 Thursday


    CHICAGO — Javier Baez snapped an 0-for-20 skid with two home runs, former Ray Wade Davis hung on for a six-out save and the Cubs avoided a sweep, holding off the Dodgers 3-2 Wednesday night in Game 4 of the NL Championship Series.

  5. Bucs' Vernon Hargreaves: 'I'm not making any plays'


    TAMPA — Eli Manning gathered his receivers together on the sideline during the Giants' Week 4 game against the Bucs and told them he planned to target the weakest link of the secondary all afternoon.

    Patriots receiver Chris Hogan gets position in front of Bucs cornerback Vernon Hargreaves for a 5-yard touchdown pass in New England’s win on Oct. 5.