Jenkins, Werth set Phillies toward title
Burrell, Feliz also come up big with Series-deciding run
PHILADELPHIA -- Jayson Werth could barely talk.It wasn't that the Phillies right fielder was overcome by emotion in the wake of experiencing his first World Series championship. It wasn't that the scene of him and his teammates celebrating on the field had stunned him into silence.
Werth's voice was reduced to a hoarse whisper because of a little cold that he had come down with during the first 5 1/2 innings of Game 5 on Monday night -- when he and his teammates had played through a torrential downpour.Werth, however, is one of the main reasons that Game 5 will be remembered for the Phillies' 4-3 dramatic victory against the Rays, not for a lengthy rain delay. The Phillies received crucial hits from Werth, Geoff Jenkins, Pedro Feliz and Pat Burrell that lifted them to victory. "It seems like a dream," Werth said. Jenkins started the party with a double off Rays reliever Grant Balfour to lead off the sixth, his first World Series hit. After a bunt by Jimmy Rollins moved Jenkins to third with Werth coming to bat, the Rays pulled the infield in to cut off the go-ahead run at the plate on a ground ball. Balfour attacked Werth with five straight fastballs up in the zone in an attempt to get him to pop up, and he did just that on the final pitch, a 96-mph heater. With the infield drawn in, Rays second baseman Akinori Iwamura was forced to frantically race after the ball and, with his back to the plate, he attempted a difficult over-the-shoulder catch that just grazed off his mitt, falling to the ground for a hit that scored Burrell for a 3-2 Phillies lead. But it wasn't enough. The Rays tied it in the top of the seventh with a solo home run by Rocco Baldelli. The Phillies were able to answer back in the bottom of the frame -- this time, it was Burrell who led off with a double and Feliz who drove pinch-runner Eric Bruntlett home, cementing the Phillies' win. "I'm just happy to do what I did today," Feliz said. "He could be sitting there, looking like he's having a terrible night, and then he'll get a big hit for you," manager Charlie Manuel said of Feliz. Werth comes from an athletic family of ballplayers who have enjoyed their fair share of success. Dick Schofield, his grandfather, was a member of the 1960 Pittsburgh Pirates that won the World Series. His uncle, Dick Schofield Jr., won a ring with the '93 Toronto Blue Jays. Now, Werth will be able to show them the ring he'll be getting for his crucial role in the Phillies' 2008 title run. He reached base in four of his five plate appearances in Game 5 and his eight hits in the Fall Classic were the most among Phillies hitters. "We played good baseball when it counted," Werth said, reflecting on the season from behind black swim goggles, with long strands of champagne-soaked hair clinging to his forehead. "We've got good players in here. We've got some superstars that are really good superstars. They come to play every day." It was fitting that Werth and Jenkins combined to get the Phillies' offense going in the sixth. The two had shared time in right field this season, until Jenkins went down in late August with an ankle injury. When asked what he would remember most about the 2008 season, Werth pointed to Jenkins' double. "He's such a gracious guy," Werth said of Jenkins. "For him to step up like that, not getting very many at-bats really the last six weeks or so, and then to get up there and have an at-bat against [Balfour] in the biggest game of our lives, it definitely got us going. I'll remember that the rest of my life." Jenkins struggled to find the words, looking around at the flying corks and flowing champagne. "I've had a lot of big hits in my career," Jenkins said. "But I can tell you right now -- it's the greatest feeling of my life to get a double right there. To score that run -- you can't put any words to it."
Kevin Horan is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.