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David Brown

Give Hamels a hug 'n' taco, he just won a World Series game!

David Brown
Big League Stew

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The Philadelphia Phillies shook off whatever rust built up in the week since the NLCS ended and bolted to a lead in the World Series thanks to a 3-2 victory in Game 1 against the Tampa Bay Rays on Wednesday.

Chase Utley hit a two-run homer in the first, Cole Hamels continued pitching like UltraMan and the back end of the Phillies bullpen continued to be lights-out.

So much for the suckers who picked the Rays to sweep.

(Rays in five?)

Here are a few more thoughts on Game 1, which includes ruminations on a free taco:

Human Ditto Machine: Cole's hair pitched amazingly again, going seven innings (doesn't he always go seven?), allowing two runs and five hits. Doesn't he always allow two runs and five hits? He's the most consistent pitcher in the history of consistency. You can set your Blackberry to him. Give him a hug 'cause he's the fourth pitcher in postseason history to win four games in four starts, joining Josh Beckett ('07), David Wells ('98) and Dave Stewart ('89).

Chase, you just made the list!: Utley continued his strong postseason with the rust-proofing, nerve-calming, fire-lighting, homer against Scott Kazmir. Utley came in batting .353/.522/.647 in these playoffs, not good enough for grumpy Philly columnist Bill Conlin to put him on the list of great Phillies second basemen of October. The homer, which came after a bunt attempt that tried to take advantage of a shift, might change things. "That was the whole goal," Utley, in a postgame interview, said in response to another question.

Not enough cowbell: The Rays had a few opportunities against Hamels, but B.J. Upton always seemed to hit into a double play (hey, nice job, D-Lee Jr.) or Carlos Pena was cut down trying to steal second (was THAT a balk?) or Carl Crawford hit a homer with the bases empty instead of, you know, un-empty.

I'm hungry, let's get a taco: St. Petersburg did not go without contributing SOMETHING to its first World Series. Jason Bartlett in the fifth stole second base and, thusly, qualified the U.S.A. to receive a free taco from Taco Bell on Oct. 28 between 2-6 p.m. local time, so says Greg Creed of Yum Brands, overlords of T-Bell. He's Australian for beer, mate. Chase would also steal a base later on, but unfortunately America does not get TWO free tacos.

Close the Lidge, this one's over: Brad Lidge, apparently satisfied that neither Albert Pujols or Scott Podsednik are anywhere to be found in this World Series, was ridiculous in the ninth inning, getting a pair of check-swing strikeouts and a weak pop out to end Game 1. Lidge came in 46-of-46 in save opportunities including the playoffs, and the Phillies are 87-0, including the playoffs, when leading after eight. Lidge has 50 straight saves without a blown one. Get HIM a taco, sheesh.

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