National League Championship Series: Game 4: Two eighth inning home runs by Shane Victorino and Matt Stairs lead the Phillies to a 7-5 win over the Dodgers, giving them a three games to one lead in the NLCS.
Two two-run home runs by Shane Victorino and pinch hitter Matt Stairs in the eighth inning would help lead the Phillies to a 7-5 win over the Dodgers as the Phillies take a commanding three games to one lead over the Bums in the National League Championship Series. The Phillies jumped quickly on Dodgers’ starter Derek Lowe in the first inning, as, with runners on first and second and no one out, Chase Utley would hit a RBI double, scoring Jimmy Rollins, who has earlier singled and has moved up to second on Jayson Werth’s single, giving the Phillies a quick 1-0 lead, while sending Werth on to third. Ryan Howard, as he would make the inning’s first out, would make it 2-0 Phillies, as he would hit a RBI ground out to the right side, 4-3, scoring Werth, while sending Utley over to third. Pat Burrell would then follow with a walk, putting runners on the corners. Lowe would finally get out of the inning as he would get Shane Victorino to hit into a 4-6-3 double play, wiping out Burrell at second. The Dodgers would get a run back in their half of the first, as, with runners on first and second and two men out, James Loney would hit a RBI double, scoring Rafael Furcal, who has earlier singled, and has moved on to second on Andre Ethier’s ground out, 4-3, to make it 2-1 Phils, while sending Manny Ramirez, who has earlier been intentionally walked by Phillies’ starter Joe Blanton, to third. Blanton would then get out of the inning as Blake DeWitt would line out to Howard. That would remain the score until the bottom of the fifth as Lowe would calm down, while Blanton would constantly pitch himself out of jams. In the Dodgers’ fifth, the Dodgers would tie the game as, with two men on and no one out, Ramirez would hit a RBI single, scoring Furcal, who has earlier walked and has gone on to second on an Ethier’s single, while Ethier’s would reach third on Burrell’s late throw to the plate as Furcal is able to push his way through catcher’s Carlos Ruiz’s right leg. Ramirez would meanwhile move up to second on the throw, putting two men in scoring position. Blanton would then get Russell Martin to ground out, 6-3, for the inning’s first out, scoring Ethier on the play, to give the Dodgers a 3-2 lead, while Ramirez would go back to second base. Blanton would then intentionally walk Loney to put runners on first and second with still one out. The strategy behind the move would work for the Phils, as the next batter, DeWitt, would hit into a 4-6-3 double play, ending the inning. After Lowe is taken out of the game by the Dodgers, the Phillies would then tie up the game in the sixth, as, with men on second and third, and with two men out, Howard, who has earlier walked, moved on to second on Burrell’s single and would move over to third on Victorino’s sacrifice bunt, would score on a Chan Ho Park’s wild pitch, while Burrell would move up to third. Park would then walk Ruiz to put runners on the corners. Dodgers’ manager Joe Torre would then come out of the Dodgers’ dugout and replace Park with Joe Beimel, after Geoff Jenkins is sent out as a pitch hitter. Jenkins is then replaced by So Taguchi, who would promptly end the inning by flying out to right. The Dodgers would retake the lead in their half of the sixth as Casey Blake would hit a lead-off home run off of Phillies’ reliever Chad Durbin, making it 4-3 Dodgers. Juan Pierre would then follow with a double. Durbin would then walk pinch hitter Matt Kemp, putting two men on base, still with no one out. Phillies’ manager Charlie Manuel would then replace Durbin with Scott Eyre. Furcal would then attempt a sacrifice bunt. Howard would get the ball but would then commit a throwing error, throwing it past Utley, allowing Pierre to score, giving the Dodgers a 5-3 lead, while allowing Kent to go to third and Furcal to move up to second, with still no body out. Ethier would then line out to first for the inning’s first out. Then, on the key turning point of the game, Ramirez is then intentionally walked to load up the bases. After Eyre is replaced on the mound by Ryan Madson, he would help get the Phils out of the inning with no more damage as Martin would hit a line drive that is caught by Utley, who would then quickly tag second base with his glove, beating Furcal back to the bag, for an unassisted double play, leaving the score still 5-3 Dodgers. After turning back the Dodgers in the seventh, the Phillies would go to work on the Dodgers’ bullpen in the eighth, finally scoring some runs. Howard would start the inning off with a single. After Burrell pops up to second for the inning’s first out, Victorino would follow with a two-run bomb to right, scoring Howard, and tying the game up at five all. After Pedro Feliz would line out to left for the inning’s second out, Ruiz would get on base with a single. Torre would then come out and replace Cory Wade, who had given up the two-run shot to Victorino, with Joe Broxton, to face pitch hitter Matt Stairs. Stairs would work the count to 3-1 before he would hit a monster two-run home run of his own to right field, scoring Ruiz, and giving the Phillies a 7-5 lead. Rollins would then walk and steal second with Werth batting, before Werth would end the inning by striking out. In the bottom of the eighth, the Phillies would send out J.C. Romero. After giving up a walk to Furcal, Romero would get Ethier to hit into a 6-4-3 double play, wiping out Furcal at second. Romero would then be replaced with Brad Lidge for a four-out save. It didn’t start out that way as Ramirez would get on base with a double. Martin would then follow with a strike out, which should’ve ended the inning, but didn’t, as it would get away from Ruiz, allowing Martin to reach first base while sending Ramirez over to third, putting runners on the corners. But Lidge would finally get out of the inning by getting Loney to fly out to left. In the ninth, Lidge would pitch an easy 1-2-3 inning, as he would first get pinch hitter Nomar Garciaparra to fly out to center for the first out, get Blake to strike out swinging for the second out and then end the game by getting Jeff Kent to fly out to Feliz for the final out, as he records his fifth save of the post-season.
Joe Blanton would get a no-decision as he would pitch five innings, giving up three earned runs on seven hits and four walks, while striking out four. Chad Durbin would face only three batters, giving up two runs, only one of which was earned, on two hits and a walk. Scott Eyre would pitch a third of an inning, giving up no runs on no hits and a walk. Ryan Madson would get the win as he would pitch an inning and two-thirds, giving up no runs on one hit and a walk, while striking out one. His record in the series is now 1-0 with an ERA of 0.00. J.C. Romero would pitch two-thirds of an inning, giving up no runs on no hits and a walk. Brad Lidge would pitch an inning and a third, giving up no runs on one hit, while striking out two, as he would records his forty-sixth straight save in forty-six tries. Derek Lowe would also get a no-decision as he also goes only five innings, giving up two earned runs on six hits and a walk, while striking out four. Clayton Kershaw would go a third of an inning, giving up an earned run on a hit and a walk. Chan Ho Park would get a blown save as he goes a third of an inning, giving up no runs on a walk and a wild pitch. Joe Beimel would also go a third of an inning, giving up no runs or hits. Hong-Chih Kuo would go an inning plus one batter, giving up an earned run on a hit, while striking out two. Cory Wade would get a blown save and the lost as he pitches two-thirds of an inning, giving up two earned runs on two hits. His record is now 0-1 with a 6.00 ERA. Jonathan Broxton would pitch an inning and a third, giving up an earned run on two hits and a walk, while striking out one.
The victory places the Phillies just one game away from getting into the World Series, as the offense is finally able to torch the Dodgers’ bullpen, getting five runs off of it thanks to a wild pitch and two two-run home runs. The bats would end up getting twelve hits over all, with all of the regulars getting at least one hit, with Chase Utley being the team leader, as he went three for five, knocking in a run on a double and two singles. Next was Carlos Ruiz, who went two for three, with two singles and a walk, scoring a run. Meanwhile, Joe Blanton would pitch five good innings, getting out of trouble constantly before finally being taken out for a pinch hitter. Although giving up two runs, the Phillies’ bullpen would hold firm for four innings, helped along by two double plays with Utley’s unassisted gem in the seventh being the more important of the two as it would get the Phillies out of a bases-loaded, one out jam. The Phillies now need just one more win to get into the World Series, with three chances within which to do it.
Game Five of the National League Championship Series will be played tomorrow night. It will be played in Dodgers Stadium and will begin at 8:22 pm Eastern (5:22 pm Pacific). The Phillies’ starter will be their ace Cole Hamels (1-0, 2.57), who is coming off a good start against the Dodgers in game one of the NLCS on October 9, where he would go six innings, giving up only two earned runs on six hits and two walks, while striking out eight, in the Phillies’ 3-2 win. He will be trying to pitch the Phillies into their first World Series appearance since 1993 with a victory. The Dodgers will counter with Chad Billingsley (0-1, 27.00), who is coming off a very awful start in game two of the NLCS against the Phillies on October 10, as he would last only two and one third innings, giving up eight runs, only seven of which were earned, on eight hits and three walks, while striking out five, in the Dodgers’ 8-5 lost. He will be trying to pitch a better game tomorrow night while trying to keep the Dodgers in the playoff.