9:58: There is joy in mudville -- the Philadelphia Phillies are world champions!!!!!
9:50: Lights out Lidge has two outs to go. Prepare for lift off!!
9:38: Oh my God! Three more outs. Daily News work heating up, sadly, as we try to get Phillies' stories into our early edition, so you may need to discuss this incredible moment by yourself.
9:20: Feliz Navidad! Pete Happy hit a hard grounder up the middle past an in-drawn infield, and the Phillies have regained the lead, 4-3!! Nice job by Victorino to move the runner over. And now Ruiz almost gets a hit but a remarkable stop by Iwamura. The Phillies let Romero bat -- good move in my opinion as the Phillies want Romero (who just grounded out) to close this game.
It's up to J.C. and Brad to get six outs.
9:07: Wow! Amazing play as Ray's Bartlett tries to score all the way from second on an infield single by Iwamura, and gets nailed at the plate on throw by Utley and great tag by Ruiz. The Phillies are lucky to go into the bottom of the 7th tied at 3.
And Burrell nails a hanging curve ball for what looked like a home run but clangs a foot off the wall in the deepest part of center. Boy, is Burrell slow as the ball bounds away and yet he only gets a double...even Howard would have been going for an inside the parker -- OK, a triple at least -- on that one. Pinch runner as underarmer Bradford comes in to face red hot Shane Victorino.
This really is like watching a shootout in the NHL.
9:00: Cole Hamels will not get the win. Rocco Baldelli, the second batter, took Madson into the flower bed in left, and now a basehit and the Phillies are in trouble in a 3-3 tie. Ugh. This looks a little like Madson as a starter, and now Maddon makes an unusual decision to let his pitcher Howell bat and stay in the game, as he bunts successfully. Iwamura up with the go-ahead run in scoring position and Romero coming in to replace Madson.
8:57: And Utley and Howard go meekly into the night against tough lefty Howell, turning this smallest of leads over to Madson and the rest of the bullpen. Lost in all the excitement over the Phillies' run is that Cole Hamels is now in position to get the win.
And it's a quick strikeout for Madson -- eight outs to go/
8:46: Phillies lead, 3-2!! Seconds after McCarver said that Rays' pitcher Balfour induce a lot of pop-ups, Werth popped one up into shallow center that was dropped for a bloop single, scoring the run. The Bank is going crazy, and her comes lefty Howell to pitch to Utley and Howard with one on and one out.
8:42: It's a double to the wall in right for Jenkins!!! Great start. I've always said Jenkins is my favorite Phillie. Unbelieveable, amd a perfect bunt from J-Roll to put the go-ahead run at third!
8:38: No lefty in the Rays bullpen -- that's weird. Nevetheless, it's Jenkins anyway. Both things are a little surprising. Despite my conviction that the Phillies will win -- I'm getting nervous just watching Balfour warm up -- imagine how the players feel!
8:36: Joe Buck makes a good point -- the crowd looks and sounds a lot more pumped tonight, because it's not dealing with keeping warm and dry at the same time. Madson is treating this like a regular relief appearance -- smart move.
8:15: Report from Attytood's man at the ballpark, Dan Gehringer:
He says a big difference between today and Monday is now they have eliminated a lot of things from outside the stadium. There was a huge tent selling World Series merchandise, it’s gone. In front of the main, 3rd-base entrance, the street was closed off and there was a festival/ Oktoberfest set-up where they were selling beer, no more. The streets are still closed off, but now are completely empty, except for a huge police presence.
8:10: Barack Obama spends $5 million to buy pre-game show on Fox -- tells America that Manuel should pinch-hit with Matt Stairs to start the bottom of the 6th.
7:45: The Phillies will win this game. They four at-bats to the Rays' three, and -- hard as it is to believe after so many years of misery -- the best bullpen in Major League Baseball to finish this off. The only question is when the Phillies score, and how. I know many fans felt the cruel pelting of some kind of curse on Monday night, but there are 26 people in Philadelphia who thankfully do not believe in curses, and every blessed one of them will be sitting in the Phillies' dugout tonight.
Same drill as before -- live blogging that can and may be interrupted by Daily News editing, re-writing, etc. But we'll get this game blog done if it takes until Thanksgiving.
The other thing that's clear is that this game, no matter how it turns out, is already the stuff of legend. You'll be talking about this one in 2047 or whenever. If he'd been smart enough, Selig would have engineered this scenario on purpose to gin up interest.