Dodgers Win 'Must Win' Game

Los Angeles had their back to the wall and the blindfold on but pushed themselves away, hit their would-be executioners early and escaped their firing squad, at least for the time being, scoring five times in the first to earn a 7-2 win and narrow the Philadelphia lead to 2-1 in the National League Championship Series.

A five-run first inning and the steady arm of Hiroki Kuroda made a huge difference in a game that saw a bench-clearing incident after catcher Russell Martin was hit by a pitch for the second time in the game.

The Dodgers sent nine to the plate in the bottom of the first, with a three-run triple by rookie Blake DeWitt driving in three runs to give them a 5-0 margin after one. It was the 10th Dodgers triple in NLCS play, with Davey Lopes the only player to hit more than one.

In this 'must win' contest for Los Angeles, Kuroda was in complete control through six innings and he was picked up by Cory Wade and Jonathan Broxton over the seventh, eighth and ninth.

Kuroda allowed two runs on five hits. He retired 13 straight after Pedro Feliez's RBI single in the second until Chase Utley's double in the seventh.

He has allowed just four earned runs in three starts against the Phillies this season, spanning 19 innings. Over those three games, he has held their hitters to a .141 average (9-for-64).

Jamie Moyer, 45-year-old lefthander, came into the game with sparkling record over his most recent starts, as had Chad Billingsley in Game 2. Like Billingsley, the batters didn't have the time or inclination to read the press clippings and knocked the Phillie starter out in the second inning.

Nomar Garciaparra, who had a .417 average against Moyer, started in place of left-handed hitting James Loney. Garciaparra had a pair of singles in three trips and knocked in the Dodgers seventh run.

Manny Ramirez and Casey Blake had an RBI each in the first inning to go along with DeWitt's big, three-run triple. Leadoff man Rafael Furcal broke out with a first inning single, a home run, two runs scored and a walk.

Derek Lowe attempts to come back on three days rest tonight in hopes of tying the series at two games each.

The Dodgers jumped ahead in the first two games of the series, but ultimately lost the lead and the game. This night they didn't settle for a 2-0 or 1-0, they piled up five runs on Moyer, who came into the game with a 9-1 record over his most recent starts.

Nine men came to the plate and five of them got hits and another was hit.

Rafael Furcal, Andre Ethier and Manny Ramirez singled for the first run. Russell Martin was hit on the side of his leg just below the knee to load the bases before Nomar Garciaparra took two straight 80-mph change-ups and was called out.

Case Blake singled to right for the second run, Matt Kemp duplicated Garciaparra's mistake and took a changeup for a third strike but Blake DeWitt rammed a triple into the right field corner to clear the bases. It was the first hit of the series for the second baseman.

Philadelphia got a run back in the top of the second when Ryan Howard doubled and scored on Pedro Feliz's two-out single.

Furcal banged a ball into the left-field seats leading off the second inning. Clay Condrey took over for Moyer and Ramirez walked. Martin was nearly nailed by a high-inside fast ball and drew a glare from the Dodgers' catcher just before he swung in anger and bounced into a double play.

Brett Myers threw behind Ramirez in the first inning of Game 2 on Friday, and Martin was brushed back as well. Both sides were waiting for the Dodgers response.

It came with one out in the third when Kuroda buzzed a fastball well over Shane Victorino's head.

The Phillie center fielder took a step toward Kuroda and motioned as if to say "throw at my ribs, not at my head." The home plate umpire then warned both benches that ejections would follow any more close pitches.

After Victorino bounced out to first base, someone, Victorino said something to Kuroda who had come over to cover first and that ignited things.

Both benches cleared, Ramirez had to be physically restrained and hustled to the dugout by bench coach Bob Shaefer and a number of teammates. Coaches Mariano Duncan and Larry Bowa were pointing and shouting at Phillie's coach Davey Lopes who was shouting back as the two teams milled about.

Bowa played and managed the Phillies, Lopes was a Dodger star for many seasons and now were on opposite sides of he field.

In an interview between innings, Torre was asked about the close pitches. "This game polices itself," he told the FOX announcers. "We are pleased that our guys came out aggressively and weren't back on their heels. I really don't see it as bad blood, I really don't. It's baseball."

Things were quiet until the last of the fourth when Ramirez and Martin walked and Garciaparra singled to center. It looked as if Ramirez would be out at the plate on the throw from the outfield and smartly Martin got himself caught up between second and third, effectively trading an out for a run.

Kuroda, in the meantime, was working quickly and efficiently, holding Philadelphia hitless after Feliz's RBI single in the second. He took a two-hitter into the seventh, gave up an opposite field double to Chase Utley and a pair of bloop singles to Ryan Howard and Pat Burrell to cut the lead to 6-2.

The Dodgers went to Cory Wade with two on and none out and he did a spectacular job to shut Philadelphia down. Jason Werth took a called third strike, Feliz flew to Kemp in center and Greg Dobbs, who led the National League with 22 pinch-hits, bounced out to Furcal at short

Wade also mowed the Phillies down in the eighth 1-2-3.

Jonathan Broxton came into the game in the ninth and using a sharp sider and a blazing fastball, pitched around an opposite field ground ball single to close out the win.

Although manager Joe Torre said he had little luck bringing a starter back on only three days rest, but he will send righthander Derek Lowe to the mound tonight to hopefully tie the series at two games each.

Lowe started the series in Philadelphia on seven days rest and was solid until the sixth inning when two home runs turned a 2-0 Dodger lead into a 3-2 Philadelphia win.

Often a pitcher that doesn't rely on a big fastball has better stuff when he is a little tired and the Dodgers hope that is the case tonight.

In addition, Lowe was hampered by the fact that the home plate umpire in the first game was not calling the low strike that a sinker baller so desperately needs.

A side benefit to this, Torre said, is that Chad Billingsley, who was knocked out early in Game 2, will be able to start in Game 5 on Wednesday night on regular rest after the off-day Tuesday.

Matchups for Games 4 & 5
Game 4 – tonight, RHP Joe Blanton (1-0, 1.50) vs. RHP Derek Lowe (1-1, 3.18)
Game 5 – Wednesday, LHP Cole Hamels (2-0, 1.20) vs. RHP Chad Billingsley (1-1, 8.00)   

 Score by innings
Philadelphia	010 000 100-2
Los Angeles	210 100 00x-7

 Los Angeles	ab r  h  bi  ave
Furcal ss	4  2  2  1  .231	
Ethier rf	5  1  1  0  .308
Ramirez lf	2  2  1  1  .400
Martin c	1  1  0  0  .250
Garciaparra 1b	3  0  2  1  .600
 Loney ph-1b	1  0  0  0  .375
Blake 3b	3  1  1  1  .200
Kemp cf	        4  0  2  0  .273
DeWitt 2b	3  0  1  3  .125
 Berroa 2b	1  0  0  0  .000
Kuroda p	3  0  0  0  .000
 Wade p	        0  0  0  0  .000
 Kent ph	1  0  0  0  .000
 Broxton p	0  0  0  0  .000
  Totals	31 7 10 7
  Philadelphia	33 2  7 2

 Three-base hit- DeWitt (1). HR- Furcal (1). 
RBI- Ramirez (5), Blake (1), DeWitt 3 (5), 
Furcal (1), Garciaparra (1). SB- Martin (1). 
CS- Kemp (1). LOB- Los Angeles 7, Philadelphia
5.

 Los Angeles	in  h  r-er bb so  era
Kuroda (1-0)	6.0  5  2-2  1  3  3.00	
Wade 	        2.0  1  0-0  0  2  0.00
Broxton	        1.0  1  0-0  0  1  0.00
 HBP- Martin 2. T- 2:57. Att- 56,800.
Proctor Undergoes Surgery
Reliever Scott Proctor, left off the playoff roster, will undergo surgery tomorrow to have a partial tear of his flexor tendon repaired and a bone spur shaved of the back of the elbow. He is expected to be ready for spring training.

He is four-plus arbitration-eligible who avoided a hearing last winter by agreeing at $1.115 million. He had a 6.05 ERA in 38.2 innings spanning 41 appearances during the regular season.

Dodger Blue Notes
In a tip of the cap to tradition, first pitches were thrown out by Steve Garvey, Davey Lopes, Bill Russell, and Ron Cey, who played together with the Dodgers for a Major League-record 8 1/2 seasons. The quartet appeared in four World Series, including the World Championship team of 1981. Lopes currently serves as the first base coach for the Phillies, Garvey and Cey work in the Dodgers' front office, and Russell works for Major League Baseball's umpiring division. In addition, the game was played on the anniversary of Orel Hershiser's 5-0 shutout of the Mets in the final game of the 1988 NLCS that sent them into the World Series against Oakland, and we all know how that turned out. ...Takashi Saito, still hoping to be able to pitch in the World Series, will not go to the Arizona Instructional League to pitch in a game. He will stay here throughout this series and pitch in a simulated game, at a date yet to be determined, so Rick Honeycutt can watch him closely.

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