Carlos Ruiz's bases loaded swinging bunt drove in Eric Bruntlett in a thrilling 5-4 Phillies win in Game 3 of the Small Ball World Series.
Nearing 2 a.m., and in the final moments of a 3-hour, 41-minute marathon, a swinging bunt in the bottom of the ninth goes down in history as one of the biggest hits in Philadelphia sports history. Call it "The Little Squib that Did" (Courtesy of our own RSB). In a game that featured solo homers by Ruiz, Chase Utley and Ryan Howard, his first of the postseason, the game was decided with small ball once again. Six of the nine total runs came via small ball tactics: ground outs, infield hits, stolen bases, hitting behind the runner, a sac fly ... that's been the story throughout much of this World Series.
The dramatic finish erased a multitude of little sins, blunders and a blown call that could have proved disastrous for the team's championship hopes. Instead, fans can forget all about them and focus on the many positives from Game 3, including a razor-sharp outing by Jamie Moyer, who hit the bullseye all night and pitched Tampa's power threats perfectly. The Rays continue to struggle against left-handed pitching. Cole Hamels, Moyer, Scott Eyre, J.C. Romero: success, success, success, success.
Offensively, Chooch continued his October transformation into a legitimate threat and possible series MVP, while Utley picked a key time to launch his second home run of this series.
Here's how it happened in the ninth: With the game even, Eric Bruntlett, into the game as Pat Burrell's defensive caddy, was hit by a pitch to lead off the ninth, then reached third on a wild pitch and misfire to second by Rays catcher Dioner Navarro. With Bruntlett on third and nobody out, Rays manager Joe Maddon ordered intentional walks to Shane Victorino and Greg Dobbs to set up the double play using a five-man infield. Ruiz would then fight off Grant Balfour's high heat for the winning nubber, representing the one and only time when the Bruntlett/Burrell speed swap truly paid off.