Tampa Bay Rays

RAYS NOTES: Hamels impresses

Cole Hamels joined an exclusive group of pitchers to win four starts in the same postseason when he pitched the Phillies past the Rays 3-2 on Wednesday in Game 1 of the World Series.

Hamels allowed two runs on five hits in seven innings to improve to 4-0 this month, joining Josh Beckett (2007), David Wells (1998) and Dave Stewart (1989) as the only starters to go 4-for-4 in the postseason.

“We do feel confident when Cole is on the mound,” said second baseman Chase Utley, whose two-run homer in the first inning jump-started the Philly win.

Hamels has pitched at least seven innings in his four postseason starts, allowing no more than two runs in any of them.

“He was on top of his game,” Rays manager Joe Maddon said. “He’s a very impressive young man. The thing was he didn’t make any mistakes. He didn’t have any hanging changeups. They were where he wanted to throw them. More power to him.”

Save the day

Philly closer Brad Lidge recorded his sixth save of the postseason. He has now converted 47 straight saves since the start of the regular season.

Rays World Series Firsts

First World Series game for the Rays produced a number of first. So, here goes:

First hit: A leadoff single by Akinori Iwamura in the first inning.

First run: Carl Crawford, who scored on his home run to right field in the fourth inning.

First base-on-balls: Jason Bartlett in the third inning.

First pitch: Thrown by Scott Kazmir for a strike.

First double: Iwamura’s RBI double in the fifth that scored Bartlett.

Aki on fire

Iwamura had hits in his first three at-bats, singling in the first and third innings and doubling home a run in the fifth.

Eat up

Jason Bartlett stole second base in the fifth inning Wednesday, and because of that, Taco Bell will give away free tacos across America from 2 p.m. and 6 p.m. on Tuesday.

Hello Florida

Game 1 was the eighth World Series game played in Florida. The first seven where playing in Miami. The last was the Marlins 6-4 win against the Yankees in game 5 of the 2003 World Series.

CC goes deep

Crawford’s home run was his first of the postseason. It was also his first since June 27 against the Pirates in Pittsburgh. Crawford, who missed the final six weeks of the regular season after having surgery to repair a partially dislocated tendon in his right middle finger, hit only eight home runs this season.

B.J. up and down

B.J. Upton grounded into double plays during his first two at-bats, including a 4-6-3 double play with the bases-loaded and one-out in the third inning.

Upton became the first player to hit into a pair of double plays in a World Series game since Derek Jeter did it in Game 4 of the 2003 World Series.

Upton atoned for those by throwing out Shane Victorino at the plate to end the second inning. Upton had caught a fly ball by Jimmy Rollins in center fielder and uncorked a laser to Dioner Navarro to end the inning.

Cooperstown bound

Maybe this is why Upton is hitting into double plays. He donated the bat he used in the two rounds of the American League playoffs to the Baseball Hall of Fame in Cooperstown. Upton used that bat to hit .304 with seven home runs and 15 RBIs.

A long time ago

Game 1 was the first World Series game played on artificial turf since Game 6 of the 1993 World Series, a game forever remembered for Joe Carter’s ninth inning home run that beat the Phillies and clinched the Blue Jays second World Series title in as many years.

Gee, thanks

Rays manager Joe Maddon was dining with his fiancé, Jay, at Burns Steakhouse in Tampa, when a Rays fan at the next table bought them a bottle of Dominus wine, vintage 1995.

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