PHILADELPHIA -- When the postseason began, the Phillies had won just four postseason series in their 126-year history.
Now they're one win away from winning the World Series, after a 10-2 win over the Rays in Game 4 Sunday night. After beating the Brewers in four games and the Dodgers in five games, the Phillies could put away the Rays if their ace Cole Hamels can win Game 5 Monday at Citizens Bank Park.
Midseason acquisition Joe Blanton got the Game 4 win for the Phillies, and also became the first pitcher in 34 years to hit a World Series home run. Blanton's home run was the Phillies' second of the game, coming one inning after Ryan Howard's three-run shot had given the Phils a 5-1 lead. Howard homered again in the eighth, giving him five RBIs for the night. Jayson Werth also hit an eighth-inning home run for the Phillies.
Howard became the first player to homer twice in a World Series game since 2002, when three players did it. The only other Phillies with two-homer games in the postseason were Pat Burrell, who did it in the Division Series against the Brewers earlier this month, and Lenny Dykstra, who hit two in Game 4 of the 1993 World Series against the Blue Jays. Howard also became the second Phillie with a five-RBI game in the World Series, matching current Phils hitting coach Milt Thompson, who did it in that same Game 4 in 1993.
The Phillies are still just 6-for-47 (.128) for this series with runners in scoring position, but at least they finally got a couple of RISP hits that left the infield (including Howard's first and Werth's, which left the park). Meanwhile, the Rays are having trouble just getting runners into scoring position. In Game 4, they had solo home runs from Carl Crawford and Eric Hinske, but didn't advance another runner as far as third base for the first seven innings.
One more win, and the Phillies will celebrate just their second World Series title ever. The first came in 1980, when they beat the Royals in six games, with Steve Carlton winning the clinching game at old Veterans Stadium.
The Phillies are the 40th team to take a three games to one lead in a best-of-7 World Series. Of those, 35 have gone on to win the title, with 22 of them closing it out in the fifth game.
Scott Kazmir will start Game 5 for the Rays, trying to extend their season and take the World Series back to Tropicana Field, where Games 6 and 7 would be played. Hamels and Kazmir were the starters in Game 1, which the Phillies won, 3-2.