Phillies win opener of Series rematch

June 23, 2009 7:34:28 PM PDT
Chase Utley homered and drove in four runs Tuesday night, helping the Philadelphia Phillies rout the Tampa Bay Rays 10-1 in the first regular season meeting between the teams since last year's World Series. 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.

Jamie 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 - one shy of the franchise record.

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.

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 this 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," Tampa Bay manager Joe 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 - more than 17,000 below capacity, and down from the nearly 23,000 the Rays have averaged this season.

The Phillies, coming off a 1-8 interleague homestand, improved to a baseball-best 24-9 on the road compared to 13-22 at home.

Philadelphia's Ryan Howard was in the starting lineup as the designated hitter after being hospitalized twice over the weekend with acute sinusitis. He missed Sunday's 2-1 loss to Baltimore, ending his consecutive games streak at 343.

"Am I 100 percent? No," Howard said. "But I'm a lot better. 75-80 percent. Right now it's mostly congestion."

The slugger followed Utley's two-run double with a RBI double of his own make it 3-0. Mayberry finished Philadelphia's six-run first with his third homer since making his big league debut on May 23.

The Phillies added four unearned runs in the fourth, three of them on Utley's homer off Price, who allowed 10 runs - five earned - and seven hits in 4 1-3 innings. Shane Victorino and Carlos Ruiz drove in the other runs.

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