Loveable losers wrap up World Series after rain delay

NO LONGER the loveable losers that last year became the first US sports franchise to lose 10,000 games, the Philadelphia Phillies can put away their symbols of futility.

The Phillies captured their first World Series title in 28 years by beating the Tampa Bay Rays 4-3 on Wednesday night, in the completion of the first suspended game in World Series history.

“We bounced back and we overcame the problem the other night and we won the World Series,” Philadelphia manager Charlie Manuel said.

The Phillies’ bizarre clinching game included a two-day rain delay and gave the city its first sports championship since the 76ers beat the Los Angeles Lakers in the 1983 National Basketball Association finals.

“There is nothing better than having a good year on the best team in all of baseball,” Phillies closing pitcher Brad Lidge said. “It feels like a dream right now.”

Wednesday’s resumption of game five took just over an hour to play but the Philadelphia sports fans celebrated long into the night up and down Broad Street which connects the downtown to the city’s Citizens Bank Park field.

World Series MVP Cole Hamels said the passion of the Phillies fans gives the players added perspective on what winning the championship means.

“Seeing the city and the excitement throughout the first game of the season and through the multiple sellouts and of course the playoff excitement was really huge,” Hamels said.

“They could taste it as much as we could. They added to our confidence to go out there and win.”

The team played with heavy hearts as manager Manuel lost his mother and outfielder Shane Victorino lost his grandmother during the post-season.

“I am sure my grandmother had something to do with it,” said Victorino, who had a key two out, two run single in the first inning of Monday’s portion of game five. “She was carrying me along just like Charlie’s mother.

“It is so amazing to enjoy a World Championship with guys who never got the opportunity before. The joy of sharing a world championship with this group of guys is the thing I will remember most.”

Chase Utley made a number of dazzling defensive plays. On Wednesday, Utley combined with catcher Carlos Ruiz to throw out Jason Bartlett at home and end the top of the seventh and prevent the Rays from tacking on any more runs.

Utley fielded an infield hit then faked a throw to first to get the runner before one-hopping a throw to Ruiz to get Bartlett out in plenty of time.

“That was an unbelievable play,” said teammate Jayson Werth. “Chase is such an inspirational player. That epitomises his game.”

The Phillies have scheduled a parade along Broad Street today.

“We might be feeling a little (tired) but we will be there,” Utley said.

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