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World Series: Play at home a key for Tampa Bay Rays

PHILADELPHIA — Throughout their remarkable season, the Rays played an aggressive style of baseball, both on the bases and in the field.

Often, their gambles paid off.

But in the Rays' season-ending, 4-3 loss Wednesday night to the Phillies in Game 5 of the World Series, a few key risks by Tampa Bay weren't rewarded.

Both Phillies runs Wednesday came on hits past a drawn-in infield.

And Jason Bartlett was thrown out at home trying to score from second base on an infield single, ending the Rays' seventh inning.

Manager Joe Maddon wouldn't second-guess the decisions; he just hoped for a different results.

Bartlett said he was just making "a hard baseball play," after getting waved home by third-base coach Tom Foley.

Bartlett hit a single with one out in the seventh, just after Rocco Baldelli delivered a tying solo homer off unflappable Phillies reliever Ryan Madson.

Rays reliever J.P. Howell, batting in the ninth spot, moved Bartlett to second with a sacrifice bunt, setting up Akinori Iwa­mura for a potential go-ahead RBI opportunity with two outs.

Iwamura hit a sharp grounder up the middle, which second baseman Chase Utley made a nice play on to field. When Utley looked up, Bartlett was rounding third, and Utley craftily faked a throw to first before — while on the run — throwing home.

The throw was to the left of catcher Carlos Ruiz, but it beat Bartlett home, and Ruiz had time to reach over and tag out Bartlett, who tried to avoid Ruiz with a headfirst slide to the infield side of the plate.

"I was just running hard —Foley sent me and I tried to score," Bartlett said. "It's a hard baseball play. If I'm not hustling, maybe he stops me.

"But that's the way you should play, you should hustle all the time."

The score remained tied only until the bottom half of the seventh, when Pat Burrell doubled and Pedro Feliz hit an RBI single.

Bartlett said he didn't see or notice if Iwamura's hit went through the infield.

"It's just something where I'm going hard and if Aki beats it out or if Utley bobbles it, something," Bartlett said. "To tell you the truth, I'll do that every time."

Joe Smith can be reached at joesmith@sptimes.com

>>FAST FACTS

First time around

How expansion teams fared in their first playoff appearance:

TeamBeganFirst
Result

Rays19982008
Lost Series

D'backs19981999
Lost NLDS

Rockies19931995
Lost NLDS

Marlins19931997|
Won Series

Blue Jays19771985
Lost ALCS

Mariners19771995
Lost ALCS

Brewers19691981
Lost ALDS

Nationals19691981
Lost NLCS

Padres19691984
Lost Series

Royals19691976
Lost ALCS

Astros19621980
Lost NLCS

Mets19621969
Won Series

Angels19611979Lost ALCS

Rangers19611996Lost ALDS

World Series: Play at home a key for Tampa Bay Rays 10/29/08 [Last modified: Sunday, November 2, 2008 7:28pm]
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