Phillies beat Dodgers 3-2 in NLCS opener
PHILADELPHIA ” Pat Burrell, Chase Utley and the Philadelphia Phillies had more than enough power to offset Manny Ramirez in the NL championship series opener.
Utley and Burrell homered off tiring Derek Lowe in the sixth inning to back a strong performance by Cole Hamels, and the Phillies were a winner in their return to the NLCS, beating the Los Angeles Dodgers 3-2 Thursday night.
“It feels great but you can’t get too caught up in this,” Burrell said. “We’ve got a lot of work to do.”
Ramirez put the Dodgers ahead with a long RBI double in the first, just missing a two-run homer. But the Phillies’ big bats answered in the sixth, when Burrell hit a go-ahead solo homer after Utley’s two-run shot tied it. Game 2 is Friday in Philadelphia, with Phillies right-hander Brett Myers facing Dodgers righty Chad Billingsley.
A lower back injury nearly sidelined Burrell in the first round against Milwaukee, and he almost got benched after going 0-for-8 in the first three games. But manager Charlie Manuel kept Burrell in the lineup, and Burrell responded with two homers and four RBIs in the clinching win over the Brewers.
Hamels settled down after the first and wound up allowing two runs and six hits, striking out eight.
“I think the guy just geared it up a notch,” Burrell said.
Ryan Madson pitched a scoreless eighth, and Brad Lidge finished with a perfect ninth for his third save of the postseason. Lidge is 44-for-44 in save chances this year.
Lowe cruised through the first five innings, allowing just four singles. But the right-hander with the hard sinker couldn’t make it out of the sixth.
The speedy Shane Victorino reached second base leading off on shortstop Rafael Furcal’s throwing error. Utley ripped the next pitch into the seats in right-center for his first postseason homer in 29 at-bats, tying it at 2.
One out later, Burrell lined a 3-1 pitch into the left-field stands for a 3-2 lead, sending the sellout crowd into frenzy. While Burrell circled the bases, Lowe looked up at the fireworks going off beyond the swinging replica Liberty Bell that hangs beyond the outfield stands and waited for manager Joe Torre to walk to the mound.
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