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Maddon's lineup shuffle results in hits

PHILADELPHIA -- Before the rains turned Game Five of the World Series into an oddity for the history books, the biggest story was that Carlos Pena and Evan Longoria actually got hits.

It was desperation time for the Tampa Bay Rays and manager Joe Maddon needed to get something from his Nos. 3-4 hitters, who were a combined 0 for 29 in the first four games. So he shuffled his deck and got some results.

Maddon dropped them to the 4-5 slots in the order and the move paid off as Pena went 2 for 3 and Longoria got his first hit of the series. Pena doubled in the fourth and scored on a Longoria single. Pena's RBI single in the sixth scored B.J. Upton and forged the 2-2 tie that led to the game's suspension.

Maddon moved Carl Crawford from the No. 5 spot to No. 2 and slid Upton from second to third to make way for the new spots for Pena and Longoria.

"It's bumping Carl up as much as anything," Maddon insisted before the game. "He's been a successful two-place hitter for us in the past. He looks like he's swinging the bat very well right now and I just want to try to unfreeze those other two guys a little bit. Giving them a different look, a little different perspective might help."

Tampa Bay has scored 14 runs in the series and most of the trouble rests with Pena and Longoria. In the first two rounds of the playoffs, they combined to bat .295 with nine homers and 21 RBIs. In this series, they had two measly RBIs and 15 strikeouts in the first four games.

Maddon said he wanted to see Longoria and Pena go back to swinging only at strikes and regaining proper recognition of the strike zone. They had 15 walks in the first two rounds and only three in this series.

"When you're getting outs on strikes, that's one thing," Maddon said. "When you're making outs on their pitches, that speaks to organizing your strike zone. We have to accept our walks and turn it over to the next guy. That's how our offense works."

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Carlos Ruiz and former Buffalo Bisons standout Chris Coste shared the catching duties for the Phillies much of the season but Ruiz took hold of the No. 1 slot in early September and has held it through the postseason.

Ruiz credits Coste for much of his success.

"He's my best friend on the team," Ruiz said Monday. "I played with him in the minor leagues [at Scranton/Wilkes-Barre] so I know he's a cool guy. He always tried to speak Spanish and that helped me. We always talk about the game."

Prior to the series, Coste said he understood his situation. He finished the regular season in a 3-for-29 slide and hit just .187 in September.

"I still like Coste and I always will," said manager Charlie Manuel. "When [Ruiz] got in the lineup, we started taking off and started winning. I've left him there. He's been playing real good."

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Everyone connected with the Series was scrambling Monday night to find new hotel accommodations as conventions have Philadelphia rooms jammed all week.

That included the Rays, who had checked out of the downtown Westin and are now in Wilmington, Del., about 30 miles away.

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The bat Phillies pitcher Joe Blanton used to homer in Game Four was donated to the Hall of Fame on Monday as part of its annual World Series exhibit.

e-mail: mharrington@buffnews.com

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