ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. – The Philadelphia Phillies shook off a week's worth of waiting and turned it into a World Series win by edging the Tampa Bay Rays 3-2 in the opener on Wednesday.
Cole Hamels escaped trouble to win his fourth postseason start, and Chase Utley hit a two-run homer in the first inning for the Phillies, who showed little evidence of rust.
They'll try to make it two in a row at Tropicana Field when Brett Myers pitches against James Shields in Game 2 on Thursday.
The team that won the opener has won the Series 63 of 103 times, including 10 of the last 11. But the team with home-field advantage has won 18 of the last 22 titles.
The Rays flopped in their first game in Major League Baseball's ultimate event, managing just five hits.
Hamels, MVP of the National League Championship Series, improved to 4-0 with a 1.55 ERA this postseason. The composed left-hander allowed two runs and five hits in seven innings.
Ryan Madson pitched a perfect eighth. Brad Lidge worked the ninth for his 47th save in 47 chances this year, silencing the Rays and their cowbell-clanging fans.
Carl Crawford homered for Tampa Bay, but playoff stars B.J. Upton and Evan Longoria went a combined 0-for-8. The Rays didn't get a hit over the final four innings.
Tampa Bay starter Scott Kazmir, selected two picks ahead of Hamels in the first round of the 2002 amateur draft, struggled with his control and gave up three runs, six hits and four walks in six innings.
The Phillies could have romped but went 0-for-13 with runners in scoring position. Their other run even scored on an out, an RBI grounder by Carlos Ruiz.
Philadelphia had six days off after beating the Los Angeles Dodgers for the NL pennant, while the Rays didn't finish off the defending champion Boston Red Sox until Sunday.
The Phillies also won the World Series opener in 1980 against Kansas City, starting them to their only title since starting play in 1883.