Two three-run home runs by Carlos Ruiz and Raul Ibanez and a two-run double by Ryan Howard help lead the Phils to an 8-6 victory in the first game of the 2009 National League Championship Series. The Phils lead the seven-games series with the Dodgers, 1-0.
The Dodgers struck first in the bottom of the second as James Loney hits a solo home run, his first in the series, over the right field fence to give the Dodgers a 1-0 lead. The game then developed into a pitchers’ duel for the first four innings between Phils’ starter Cole Hamels and Dodgers’ starter Clayton Kershaw. During those four innings, Kershaw had the Phils’ bats quieted, giving up only one hit and two walks, while striking out two batters. Meanwhile, Hamels, besides Loney’s home run, gave up three hits and a walk, pitching himself out of a two on, two out jam in the first inning, while striking out three Dodgers. The Phils then struck in the fifth as, with two men on, via a single to Raul Ibanez, who then moved up to second on a wild pitch, and then a walk to Pedro Feliz, and with nobody out, Carlos Ruiz hits a three-run shot to left, his first home run of the series, scoring both Ibanez and Feliz, giving the Phils a 3-1 lead. Five batters later, with two men on, and with two men out, Ryan Howard hits a two-run double, scoring Jimmy Rollins, who got on base on a force out, wiping out Hamels at second, who had earlier walked, then moved up to second on a wild pitch as Shane Victorino struck out, swinging, and then moved to third on the third wild pitch in the inning, and Chase Utley, who had just walked, to give the Phils a 5-1 lead. The Dodgers then came back in their half of the inning as, with runners on the corners, and with one out, Andre Ethier hits into a force out, 6-4, knocking in Russell Martin, who had earlier hit a ground-rule double, and then went to third on Rafael Furcal’s single, making it a 5-2 Phils’ lead, as Furcal, who had just singled, was forced out at second base, before Ethier would move up to second as Utley’s throw to first went into the Phils’ dugout. The next batter, Manny Ramirez, then made it a 5-4 Phils’ lead, as he hits a two-run home run into left center field, his first home run of the series, scoring Ethier. The Dodgers would threathen to score in the sixth, as they loaded up the bases on singles by Loney and Ronnie Belliard and a walk to pinch hitter Jim Thome, who was then pinch run for by Randy Wolf, with two men out. But, J.A. Happ, who was pitching in relief of Chad Durbin, who had earlier come in in relief of Hamels, ended the inning by getting Furcal to ground out, 4-3. The Dodgers then threathen again in the seventh as Ethier lead off the inning with a double. But, Chan Ho Park, pitching in relief of Antonio Bastardo, turned back the Dodgers by getting Ramirez to ground out, 5-3, then struck out Matt Kemp, swinging, before ending the inning by getting Casey Blake to also ground out, 4-3. The Phils then increased their lead in the eighth as, with two men on, and with nobody out, Ibanez hits a three-run bomb to right, knocking in Howard and Jayson Werth, who had both walked, giving the Phils an 8-4 lead. The Dodgers then tried to come back in their half of the eighth as, with two men on, and with nobody out, Martin hits an RBI single, knocking in Loney, who had earlier singled, and then moved up to second on Belliard’s single, cutting the Phils’ lead to 8-5, while sending Belliard, who had just singled, over to second. Two batters later, after pinch hitter Juan Pierre hits into a force out, 1-4, as a low throw to second from reliever Ryan Madson killed a possible double play attempt, wiping out Martin at second, while Belliard moved up to third, Furcal hits a sacrifice fly for the inning’s second out, knocking in Belliard, to make it an 8-6 Phils’ lead. Madson would then get out of the inning by getting Ramirez to ground out 5-3, with runners on first and third. Brad Lidge was then given the ball in the ninth to save it. Lidge was greeted with a lead-off single by Kemp. But, he then got Blake to hit into a 4-6-3 double play, wiping out Kemp at second base, for outs number one and two. Loney then worked a walk, after falling behind 0-2, to keep the game alive. After Loney took second on defensive indifference, Lidge finally recorded the save, his first for the series, by getting Belliard to pop up to Rollins for the final out.
Cole Hamels got the win, as he pitched five and one-third innings, giving up four runs on eight hits and a walk, while striking out four. His record in the series is now 1-0 with a 6.75 ERA. Chad Durbin picked up his first hold of the series as he pitched a third of an inning, getting out the only man that he would face. J.A. Happ also picked up his first series hold as he pitched a third of an inning, giving up a walk. Antonio Bastardo pitched to one batter, giving up a hit. Chan Ho Park got his first hold as he pitched a scoreless inning, as he struck out a batter. Ryan Madson pitched an inning, as he gave up two runs on four hits. Brad Lidge got the save, his first in the series, as he pitched a scoreless inning, giving up a hit and a walk. Clayton Kershaw took the lost as he went just four and two-thirds innings, giving up five runs on four hits, five walks and three wild pitches, while he struck out three. His series record is now 0-1 with a 9.64 ERA. Ramon Troncoso pitched a third of an inning, getting out the only batter he would face. Ronald Belisario and Hong-Chih Kuo combined for two scoreless innings, giving up just one hit (Kuo), while striking out two (Kuo). George Sherrill pitched an inning, giving up three runs on two hits and two walks. Jonathan Broxton pitched a scoreless inning, giving up a hit, while he struck out a batter.
The Phils had only eight hits in the game, making the most of them, along with the seven walks that they received. Shane Victorino, Raul Ibanez and Carlos Ruiz led the team with two hits apiece, with both Ibanez and Ruiz each hitting a three-run home run. Jimmy Rollins and Ryan Howard had the other two Phils’ hits, with Howard’s hit being a two-run double. The Phils did very well with runners in scoring position as they went 3 for 5.
The Phils (1-0) continues their NL Championship Series with the Dodgers (0-1) with an afternoon game at Dodgers Stadium. The game will start at 4:07 pm Eastern (1:07 pm Pacific). The Phils will send to the mound Pedro Martinez (5-1, 3.63), who last pitched on September 30 against the Astros, as he went only four innings, giving up three runs on six hits and a walk, while striking out two as he received a no-decision in the Phils’ 10-3 win, as they clinched the NL East pennant. This will be his first start of the 2009 post-season, as he hope to give the Phils a chance to take a 2-0 lead back to Philadelphia. The Dodgers will counter with Vicente Padilla (12-6 (4-0), 4.46 (3.20)), who is coming off a win against the Rockies on October 4, as he pitched five innings, giving up just a run on four hits, as he struck out ten, in the Dodgers’ 5-3 win. He will be trying to even up the series before the two teams head for Philadelphia. The Phillies hope to continue their road success before they head back home to continue the series with home field advantage.