Dodgers Stun Cardinals With a Sweep

If you would have mortgaged the farm and bet it all on a three-game sweep by the Dodgers, you wouldn't have to work another day in your life. But, by the same token, your wife might have had you institutionalized before Vincente Padilla and his friends had even crafted the 5-1 victory. In the three wins, the Dodgers started three pitchers who had never made a post-season appearance.

Vincente Padilla, discarded by the Texas Rangers and picked up by Los Angeles on August 19, was dazzling. With his mother making the lengthy journey from Nicaragua in the stands he struggled momentarily in the first inning of his first post-season game, pitching around singles by Ryan Ludwick and Albert Pujols, then strung together seven scoreless innings before a Busch Stadium-record crowd of 47,296.

With his mother in the stands after traveling from Nicaragua to watch her son pitch for the first time, he allowed only two more hits the rest of the evening, giving up ground ball doubles down the left field line in the fourth and seventh innings. He struck out four and walked a pair, while retiring 19 of 21 hitters.

When he left the game he was leading 5-0 and George Sherrill and Jonathan Broxton finished up. Sherrill walked pinch-hitter Julio Lugo with two out in the eighth and Broxton gave up an RBI single to Pujols. He also allowed an infield hit to Yadier Molina in the ninth but struck out pinch-hitter Rick Ankiel to end the game and the series.

Vincente Padilla

"They have a big lineup," Padilla said through an interpreter. "I just tried to make the pitches that I knew I capable of throwing."

Pujols and Matt Holliday were a combined 2-for-8 with the Cardinals' only RBI. St. Louis was 1-9 after wrapping up the NL Central, and was swept for the first time in the division series or NLCS play and only for the third time overall in the postseason.

Andre Ethier and Manny Ramirez were the dynamic duo, although it was difficult to say which one was Batman and which was Robin.

Ethier homered, tripled and doubled, driving in two runs and scoring two. Ramirez doubled twice and singled and accounted for a pair of runs batted in. Furcal went 6-for-12 in the series, while Ethier was 6-for-12 and Ramirez 4-for-13.

Matt Kemp, hitless in eight trips since homering in the first inning of the first game of the series, beat out an infield single and scored on a two-out double by Ramirez.

Rafael Furcal singled and Ethier slammed a 402-foot drive into the right field seats for his second home run of the series in the third inning. Ramirez collected his second double and James Loney lived on an error but cardinal starter Joel Piñeiro held L.A. to a pair of runs.

Ron Belliard led off the fourth with a single and scored on Furcal's two-out single and Ethier tripled off St. Louis reliever John Smoltz and then scored on Ramirez's single in the seventh to end the scoring.

Dodgers pitching allowed six runs in the series and stranded 28 runners, holding the potent Cardinal attack to four hits in 30 at bats (.133) with runners in scoring position. The Dodgers relievers pitched 9.2 innings in the three games, allowing two runs while credited with two of the victories.

The National League West Division champions will host the first two games of the National League Championship Series starting Thursday. Colorado and Philadelphia were frozen out of their game after a goodly amount of snow and dangerously low temperatures. The two teams will meet today (Sunday) in the third game of their series and are tied with one win each.

The Dodger win was the first over the Cardinals in a post-season game, having lost in 1985 and in 2004. That is not counting the first National League playoff in 1946 when St. Louis won both games and became the N.L. champion.

This year's Division Series on TBS drew the largest average household audience over the first two days since 2005. This year's Division Series has averaged 4.53 million viewers, which is up 15% from last year's 3.93 million viewers after two days. When Tuesday's A.L. Central Tiebreaker game is included, Major League Baseball coverage has powered TBS to its three most-watched nights in primetime since the end of the 2008 American League Championship Series last October.

And perhaps the most disappointed player on the field was Cardinals 3B DeRosa played for the Cubs last year and has been on the wrong end of Dodgers first-round sweeps the last two years.

 Score by innings
Los Angeles	102 100 100-5
St. Louis	000 000 010-1

 Los Angeles	ab r  h  bi  ave
Furcal ss	3  0  0  0  .000
Kemp cf        	5  1  1  0  .143
Ethier rf	5  2  3  2  .500
Ramirez lf	5  0  3  2  .308
 Pierre lf	0  0  0  0  .000
Blake 3b	4  0  1  0  .273
Loney 1b 	4  0  1  0  .250
Belliard 2b	4  1  1  0  .273
 Hudson 2b	0  0  0  0  .000
Martin c	4  0  0  0  .111
Padilla p	3  0  0  0  .000
 Thome ph	1  0  0  0  .000
 Sherrill p	0  0  0  0  .000
 Broxton p	0  0  0  0  .000
 Totals	40 5 12 5	
 St. Louis	33 1  6 1

 Two-base hits- Ramirez 2 (3), Ethier (2).
Three-base hits- Ethier (1). HR- Ethier (2).
RBI- Ramirez 2 (2), Ethier 2 (3), Furcal
(2). LOB- Los Angeles 8, St. Louis 7.

 Los Angeles	in  h r-er bb so  era
Padilla (1-0)	7.0  4  0-0  1  4  0.00
Sherrill	0.2  0  1-1  1  0  3.86
Broxton	1.1  2  0-0  0  2  2.45
 T- 3:02. Att- 27,296. (record)