That's Gross

October, 25, 2008
10/25/08
5:44
PM ET
12:40 p.m. ET
ESPN research guru Mark Simon reports that Gabe Gross is the first player to drive in two runs on zero hits in a World Series game since Manny Ramirez did it in Game 6 in 1997.

--Jayson Stark

Common ground (12:35 p.m. ET)
Is baseball a bizarre sport, or what? In Game 2, the Rays became the first team since the 1923 Giants to score two runs in one inning on ground-ball outs. In Game 3, the Rays became the first team to do that since two days ago.

--Jayson Stark

Garza hurt by the homer (12:30 p.m. ET)
Matt Garza faced 82 hitters in his three previous postseason starts against the White Sox and Red Sox -- and served up exactly one home run. He faced 25 hitters in his first World Series start -- and allowed three home runs.

And how many times did Garza give up three homers in a game this year? That would be none.

This was Garza's 58th big league start, counting the postseason. It was just the third time he'd allowed three gopherballs or more in any of them. The others: Aug. 20, 2007, against the Mariners (four) and Sept. 24, 2006, in Baltimore (three).

--Jayson Stark

Phillies homer notes (12:25 p.m. ET)
Carlos Ruiz is the first No. 8 hitter ever to hit a postseason homer for the Phillies and the second Phillies catcher with a World Series homer, joining Darren Daulton (1993, Game 4 vs. Blue Jays)

Chase Utley's sixth-inning homer was his second of the World Series, tying the team record for most by a second baseman (Joe Morgan had two in 1983).

Ryan Howard's sixth-inning shot to right ended his postseason homerless drought at 42 at-bats. It's the 14th time in Series history that teammates have hit back-to-back homers and the first since the 2002 Giants. It's the first time the Phillies have ever had back-to-back homers in a World Series game and the second time they've hit two in the same inning in a World Series game (1993, Game 4)

--Mark Simon, ESPN Research

Something had to give (11:15 p.m. ET)
Dioner Navarro threw out a higher percentage of base stealers (25-of-70, 35.7 percent) than any regular catcher in the American League this season. Jimmy Rollins got thrown out less (47-for-50, 94 percent) than any base stealer in either league.

Well, in their first showdown of the World Series, score one for Navarro, who made a sensational throw to nail Rollins stealing second in the third inning.

Amazingly, Rollins now has been thrown out almost as many times in the postseason (two, in five tries) as he was all season (three). Jason Kendall also got him during the NLDS.

--Jayson Stark

Talk about timely hitting (11:10 p.m. ET)
Carlos Ruiz isn't exactly Mike Piazza, but when he does hit a home run, his timing is impeccable.

Ruiz's home run off Matt Garza in the second inning was his first of the postseason, fifth of the year and just his third since June 7. But four of the five have given the Phillies the lead, and the fifth was a game-tying shot.

So what were the odds of Ruiz and Eric Bruntlett homering in this World Series before Ryan Howard, Pat Burrell, B.J. Upton, Evan Longoria or Carlos Pena?

Just asking.

--Jayson Stark

Another productive out for the Rays (10:43 p.m. ET)
Gabe Gross' sacrifice fly in the second inning made it five straight runs the Rays have scored in this World Series on plays in which they also made an out. Sounds like a World Series record to us. The Rays have now scored seven runs in the Series -- just two of them on plays in which they didn't make an out.

--Jayson Stark

Let's play ball (9:45 p.m. ET)
First pitch will be at 10 p.m. ET.

--Amy K. Nelson

Coffee, Moyer ready
Someone just brought a huge pot of coffee to the Phillies bullpen. Starter Jamie Moyer is heading out there to warm up, so it looks like we'll play soon.

--Amy K. Nelson

Action on the field (9:18 p.m.)
The biggest cheers of the night so far have been for the grounds crew. The tarp is coming off the field.

--Marty Bernoski, MLB editor

Introducing everybody (8:31 p.m. ET)
Phillies players were upset about the lack of introductions in Game 1 of the World Series at Tropicana Field.

Chad Durbin and Scott Eyre both said they've been informed that Major League Baseball will now introduce all players, coaches and staff before the crowd here at Citizens Bank Park on the public address system. Only the starting lineups will still be shown on television, but the players are happy that players like 40-year-old Matt Stairs will be introduced, and that the fans will have the opportunity to cheer for everyone, not just the starting lineups. The only hitch is that they may not do it tonight, because of the rain.

--Amy K. Nelson

Passing the time (6:40 p.m. ET)
I'm camped out here in the Rays' dugout because, quite frankly, there's nothing else to do. Edwin Jackson just came out to check the weather.

He told me players aren't doing much in the clubhouse except playing cards, watching college football and hitting in the batting cage. Jackson said the latest they heard was a possible start time between 9:15 and 10 p.m.

"I'd rather play at 10 [p.m.] than the off day," Jackson said. "Because you can sleep in [on Sunday]."

Meanwhile, the Phillies pitchers are playing catch in right field in the rain.

--Amy K. Nelson

Phils struggle in Game 3s (6:18 p.m. ET)
The Phillies will be attempting to win the first Game 3 in team history. In five previous Game 3s, the Phillies have lost each time, including four one-run losses.

--Mark Simon, ESPN Research

Notes on World Series rainouts (6:10 p.m. ET)
The last rainout of a World Series game was Game 4 of the 2006 Series.

That's the only one since 1997.

As far as rain delays involving Philly teams:

Game 3 of the 1931 World Series (Cardinals at Philadelphia Athletics) was rained out for one day and Game 4 of the 1911 World Series between the Giants and Philadelphia Athletics in Philadelphia was postponed six days due to rain.

--Mark Simon, ESPN Research

Starting for the Devil (oops) Rays (6:05 p.m. ET)
The Rays' PR staff just brought out Carl Crawford into the Rays' wet dugout to do a few media interviews. His last stop was for the Fox cameras, to do the rundown of starting lineups.

It's funny, even with the name change from Devil Rays to just Rays, some old habits are hard to break. Crawford began his introduction, "Hi, I'm Carl Crawford of the Tampa Bay Devil Rays …"

The TV crew stopped Crawford and he asked why.

"Oh I said Devil Rays?" Crawford asked, laughing. "I didn't even know I said it."

--Amy K. Nelson

Start the game now! (6 p.m. ET)
It's too bad the game can't start right now, because I'm standing on the field and it's fairly dry out here.

But baseball fans are likely in for a long night. Rays manager Joe Maddon said the latest update he heard was that they were hoping to start the game at 9:30 p.m. ET. Officials think there will be a window of dry weather big enough that they can get the game in.

I suppose we shall see.

--Amy K. Nelson

Game expected to be delayed (5:55 p.m. ET)
And now the night's first weather update. Major League Baseball's Pat Courtney says it's expected that the start of this game will be delayed by at least a half-hour. Heavy rain is expected just before game time, with rain then tapering off through the evening.

At this point, MLB officials expect this game to be played, but they also believe that if the front stalls to the point it can't be played, they should be able to make a determination on that by 9 to 9:30 p.m. ET.

--Jayson Stark

Starting lineups announced (5:50 p.m. ET)
Here come your Game 3 lineups. Now all we need are some clear skies so they can take the field:

Rays
Akinori Iwamura, 2B
B.J. Upton, CF
Carlos Pena, 1B
Evan Longoria, 3B
Carl Crawford, LF
Dioner Navarro, C
Gabe Gross, RF
Jason Bartlett, SS
Matt Garza, P

Phillies
Jimmy Rollins, SS
Jayson Werth, RF
Chase Utley, 2B
Ryan Howard, 1B
Pat Burrell, LF
Shane Victorino, CF
Pedro Feliz, 3B
Carlos Ruiz, C
Jamie Moyer, P

--Jayson Stark

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