Two Phillie Homers Sink Dodgers 3-2

Philadelphia demonstrated their muscle and overcame a 2-0 Los Angeles lead in the first game of the 2008 National League Championship Series. A three-run sixth inning, sparked by an error and finished off by a pair of home runs, was all the Phillies needed to top the Dodgers 3-2 and take the first game of the series.

The Phillies came into the game having lead all of baseball in home runs. The Dodgers hung an 0-for-4 on Ryan Howard, who had hit 48 of them during the year and who led MLB in runs batted in.

But Chase Utley and Pat Burrell smacked home runs off Dodgers starter Derek Lowe in the sixth and the first game between two very evenly matched teams went to the home club. The teams split eight regular-season meetings, each sweeping a four-game series at home in August.

Derek Lowe allowed only four singles and protected his 2-0 lead until the power display in the sixth turned the game around and handed him his first loss to the Phillies since 2001.

His mound opponent Cole Hammels allowed two runs, six hits, struck out six and walked two through seven innings.

Manny Ramirez made a two-run difference in the first two innings. He doubled in Andre Ethier in the first, then in the second inning, he turned a certain double by Pat Burrell into a single by hustling over to the left field line and holding him at first base. A double play followed and the Phillies came up empty in the inning.

On the mound, Lowe was his vintage self, retiring 12 Phillies on ground balls until an easy fly to Ramirez ended the fifth inning.

But in the sixth, everything unraveled for Lowe. Furcal hurried his throw on a ground ball by former Dodgers minor leaguer Shane Victorino and James Loney couldn't flag it down at first, Victorino scampering into second.

Then Chase Utley homered, Ryan Howard bounced out and Pat Burrell homered and with shocking suddenness, the Phillies were in front 3-2 and they stayed that way.

Manager Joe Torre downplayed the error. "Utley is a pretty good hitter," he said. "I don't think the error had anything to do with what happened after that."

Things were backward in the top of the first inning. Hammels, lefthander, retired three right-handed batters in the first inning but two lefthanders reached base.

Lefthanded hitter Andre Ethier doubled to the wall in left center with one out and scored when Ramirez hit a long drive to center field that hit just below the top of the wall at the 409 mark, missing a home run by a couple feet. The double drove Ethier in. Righthander Russell Martin struck out, lefthander James Loney walked and righthander Matt Kemp flew to right.

After Chase Utley singled with two out in the first inning and the Dodgers' infield in their exaggerated shift to the right, Blake DeWitt ended the inning by capturing a shot by Ryan Howard on a diving stop on the grass in right field and throwing him out.

The Dodgers added their second run in the fourth when Matt Kemp blooped a fly ball down the right field line that hit fair and then jumped at a right angle into the stands. Casey Blake moved him to third with a ground ball and Blake DeWitts' fly to center drove him in.

The Dodgers could manage only three singles after Kemp's double.

DeWitt closed out the bottom of the fourth, again retiring Howard by racing in to make a bare-handed pickup and throw him out on a close play at first.

Lowe ran into his first trouble in the fifth. Catcher Carlos Ruiz, who was 1-for-30 previously, singled to right and Hammels lined another hit into right center. Lowe fidgeted around on the mound for some time but finally retired Jimmy Rollins on a fly to left -- the first outfield out of the game.

Then in the sixth, former Dodger Shane Victorino ended up at second on a two base error by Rafael Furcal and Chase Utley made the Dodgers pay for the mistake when he banged a drive into the right field seats to tie the game.

One out later Lowe threw his 90th pitch and Pat Burrell hit the 3-1 fastball into the first row of the left field bleachers to give Philadelphia their first lead and that was it for Derek.

Chan Ho Park took over and retired the last two Phillies in the sixth.

Greg Maddux worked the seventh and gave up an infield hit to Ruiz. A bunt attempt was popped up in front of the plate and Loney made a remarkable diving catch as Martin leaped over him to avoid a collision.

Then DeWitt made his third, and most spectacular, fielding play of the game. Former Dodger Jayson Werth hit a shot past Maddux that was was flagged down by DeWitt, who tagged second base and turned an unbelievable double play to end the inning. It was only the third double play Werth had hit into in 786 plate appearances since joining the Phillies.

The Dodgers had no luck in the eighth. Ethier struck out, Ramirez lined to third, Martin ripped a ball down the third base line that was deflected by the third baseman, holding him to a double and Loney bounced out to first.

After Hong-Chic Kuo worked a 1-2-3 eighth, his first action in nearly a month, the Dodgers faced Philadelphia closer Brad Lidge, who was a perfect 44-44 in saves this year.

The Phillies are 79-0 when leading into the ninth, and Lidge made it 80-0 when he dispatched Kemp, Casey Blake and DeWitt without trouble in the ninth to seal the win.

The Dodgers turn to Chad Billingsley to get them a win in the second game this afternoon or return to Dodger Stadium down 0-2. He will face righthander Brett Myers. Myers is 4-2 with a 2.61 ERA in 12 career games against the Dodgers, including 1-1 with a 1.93 ERA this season. Billingsley is 1-1 with a 4.00 ERA in three games against Philadelphia, losing his only start this year.

  Score by innings
Los Angeles	100 100 000-2	
Philadelphia	000 003 00x-3

 Los Angeles	ab r  h  bi  ave
Furcal ss	4  0  0  0  .000
Ethier rf	4  1  2  0  .500
Ramirez lf	4  0  2  1  .500
Martin c	3  0  1  0  .333
Loney 1b	3  0  1  0  .333
Kemp cf	        4  0  1  0  .250
Blake 3b	4  0  0  0  .000
DeWitt 2b	3  0  0  1  .000
Lowe p	        2  0  0  0  .000
 Kent ph	1  0  0  0  .000
 Park p	        0  0  0  0  .000
 Maddux p	0  0  0  0  .000
 Kuo p	        0  0  0  0  .000
  Totals	32 2 7 2
  Philadelphia	30 2 7 3

 Error- Furcal (1). 2b hits- Ethier (1), Ramirez 
(1), Kemp (1). RBI- Ramirez (1), DeWitt (1). 
SF- DeWitt. LOB- Los Angeles 6, Philadelphia 4. 
DP- DeWitt and Loney (2).

 Los Angeles	ab  h  r-er bb so  era
Lowe (0-1)	5.1  6  3-2  1  2  3.38
Park	        0.2  0  0-0  0  0  0.00
Maddux	        1.0  1  0-0  0  0  0.00
Kuo	        1.0  0  0-0  0  0  0.00
 T- 2:35. Att- 45,839.
Dodger Blue Notes-- Ramirez was 2-for-4 and his 68 postseason RBIs are second only to Bernie Williams, who had 80 in 121 playoff games with the Yankees. Dodgers third-base coach Larry Bowa, who managed the Phillies and played shortstop for the 1980 championship team, received a nice ovation in pre-game introductions. … Philadelphia's 92 wins in the regular season were eight more than the Dodgers had.

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