The Phillies used the long ball to back a shaky start from Cole Hamels, as Brad Lidge saves his third straight postseason game in the win.
Who did what?
Cole Hamels (W, 1-0) allowed four runs on eight hits in five and a third. He walked one and struck out four.
Ryan Howard went 1 for 3 with a double (1) and two RBIs.
Raul Ibanez went 2 for 4 with a homer (1) and three RBIs.
Carlos Ruiz went 2 for 3 with a homer (1) and three RBIs.
Brad Lidge (S, 1) allowed one hit and one walk in a scoreless ninth to earn the save.
Clayton Kershaw (L, 0-1) allowed five runs on four hits in four and two-thirds. He struck out three and walked five.
Andre Ethier went 3 for 5 with a double (1) and an RBI.
Manny Ramirez went 1 for 5 with a homer (1) and two RBIs,
James Loney went 3 for 4 with a homer (1) and an RBI
Russell Martin went 2 for 4 with a double (1) and an RBI.
What does this mean?
It was a game that no one wanted to win. A game that saw aces get knocked around, setup men get pummeled, and a career .246 hitter in the mix of it all.
With a trip to the World Series on the line, the Phillies broke out the bats agains the Dodgers, as Cole Hamels survived a shaky start to earn the win and take game one of the National League Championship Series.
Hamels, who allowed five runs in five innings in his start in the NLDS against the Rockies, didn’t fare much better tonight. After allowing a second inning homer to James Loney, Hamels would go on to retire eight of the next nine hitters to preserve the one-run deficit.
The Phillies’ bats struck in the fifth inning, when a single from Raul Ibanez, followed by a walk to Pedro Feliz, put two men on for Carlos Ruiz, who deposited a 2-1 pitch into the left field bleachers to give the Phillies a 3-1 lead.
Kershaw would be unable to escape the inning, as he walked Cole Hamels on four pitches, who was then erased on a fielders choice off the bat of Jimmy Rollins. After striking out Shane Victorino and walking Chase Utley, Kershaw allowed a two out, two run double to Ryan Howard, in what would prove to be his final batter of the game.
Cole Hamels ran into trouble in the bottom half of the frame, allowing a leadoff double to Russell Martin and a one out single to Rafeal Furcal. Hamels would induce a double play ball off the bat of Andre Ethier, but a bobble from Jimmy Rollins saw the Phillies only recording one out, with a run scoring to make it a 5-2 lead.
Instead of sitting in the dugout with a comfortable lead, Hamels found himself facing off against Manny Ramirez with a man on and two out. On the third pitch of the at-bat, Manny served a 2-0 change up into the left field seats to make it a one run game.
Hamels wouldn’t make it through the sixth, as he allowed two men on while recording only one out. Chad Durbin came on to retire Russel Martin, followed by Jay Happ, who walked Jim Thome to load the bases before retiring Furcal to end the inning.
Antontio Bastardo took the hill in the bottom of the seventh and promptly allowed a leadoff double to Andre Ethier. He was relieved by Chan Ho Park, who set down Manny Ramirez, Matt Kemp and Casey Blake to end the threat and hold the one run lead.
The Phillies struck again in the eighth inning, when Ryan Howard and Jayson Werth worked back-to-back walks off George Sherrill, before allowing a three run homer to Raul Ibanez to give the Phillies a four run lead.
The Dodgers tacked on two more in the eighth of Ryan Madson, who allowed four singles in the frame before retiring Manny Ramirez with two outs and two on.
With a two run lead, Brad Lidge came on in the ninth and shut the door, despite allowing a leadoff single to Matt Kemp, who was then doubled up off the bat of Casey Blake. After walking James Loney, Lidge got Ronnie Belliard to pop up to shallow left field to end the game.
To say the least, it was an exciting game. After Kershaw set the Phillies down with relative ease early in the game, it looked to be a pitcher’s duel, with Cole Hamels holding up his end of the bargain.
But after a botched double play ball in the fifth, Cole’s biggest problem came to light: He got flustered. If you recall, the same thing happened in his start against Colorado after he gave up the homer to Yorvit Torrealba. In fact, this has been Cole’s M.O. the entire season. Despite how well he is pitching, one bump in the road are capable of derailing his efforts. Had the Phillies turned that double play, then it’s quite possible that Hamels goes seven innings en route to an easy Phillies victory.
While Cole struggled, the bullpen stepped up. Chad Durbin, Jay Happ and Chan Ho Park came up big in a tight game. The most impressive of the three was Park, who made his first appearance in nearly a month after a stint on the disabled list. His fastball had life and velocity, and his control was solid. If he can maintain this for the rest of the post season, things will be much easier on the beleaguered ‘pen.
And of course, Brad Lidge earned his third straight October save. It wasn’t a typical save from Lidge, but it’s good enough.
With game on in the books, the Phillies can breathe a sigh of relief, especially with Pedro Martinez taking the hill in game two. Having not pitched in an actual game since the Phillies clinched the division, a lot is riding on him and his right arm. But knowing Pedro and his penchant for the spotlight, the Phillies could find themselves in a very advantageous position tomorrow night.
What’s next for our 2009 National League Division Series Winners?
In game two of the NLCS, Pedro Martinez (5-1, 3.63 in the regular season) takes on Vicenta Padilla (1-0, 0.00).
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