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Thursday, October 15, 2009

Phillies @ Dodgers NLCS Game 1: Phillies 8, Dodgers 6

Top 1st: Shane Victorino reaches on a one-out line drive single off Clayton Kershaw, and immediately afterwards, the fans hearts find their way into their throats as Chase Utley chases Matt Kemp to the warning track for a long, scary flyball out. Kershaw picks off Victorino 1-3-6; the Flyin' Hawaiian stumbles along the way to make it easy for the Dodgers.

Bottom 1st: Following leadoff man Rafael Furcal's flyout to left off Cole Hamels, Andre Ethier proves himself capable of hitting Cole Hamels, spanking a single into left. That brings Manny Ramirez to the plate. He strikes out. Matt Kemp grounds one to left for a single, but Casey Blake pops out to second baseman Utley to end the frame.

Top 2nd: Kershaw gets both Ryan Howard and Raul Ibanez on called third strikes using "public enemy number one", his enormous bender made famous in last year's spring training when Vinny gave it that name from Roy Campanella. It's the second inning in a row where he's faced the minimum.

Bottom 2nd: James Loney takes a 93 MPH fastball into the right center pavilion to make it 1-0 Dodgers with a solo homer. Of the three hits given up by Hamels, two have been from lefties.

With two out, Kershaw walks on five pitches; the lineout Hamels gave up earlier to Belliard was hammered, so the Dodgers are getting in some good swings. That's not what Furcal does, though, tapping out meekly to third to end the frame. 1-0 Dodgers.

Top 4th: After getting the first two batters in the frame on harmless pop outs, Ryan Howard walks on a very close 3-2 pitch (Gameday says it's well over the corner of the plate). Jayson Werth gives the Dodgers a scare with a long flyball out that Manny Ramirez catches at the fence for the final out. Still 1-0 Dodgers.

Bottom 4th: Hamels gets Ronnie Belliard to pop out to Utley for the inning's final out, the last of a 1-2-3 inning. Hamels hasn't allowed a baserunner since he walked Kershaw in the second.

Top 5th: Kershaw gives up a leadoff single to Ibanez, walks Pedro Feliz, and then leaves one out and over the plate for Carlos Ruiz, who punishes it into the right field seats to make it 3-1 Phillies. He goes 3-0 to Hamels, bringing Russell Martin to the mound for a conference.

Hamels walks on four pitches, Kershaw's fourth walk of the game. Scott Elbert starts warming up in the bullpen.

Jimmy Rollins hits into a fielder's choice, and takes second on Shane Victorino's wild pitch strikeout. The first pitch of Utley's at-bat is another wild pitch, Kershaw's third of the inning, pushing Rollins to third.

Utley reaches on what would have been Kershaw's fourth wild pitch but for a nice save by Martin. And then Ryan Howard belts a double to cash in two, 5-1 Phillies. Ramon Troncoso relieves Kershaw with two out.

Tron-tron gets Werth on a flyball out to medium left to end the frame. Gah.

Bottom 5th: The Dodgers get right back in it with Andre Ethier's scoring fielder's choice (thanks to an error by Jimmy Rollins that ended up with Ethier on second) and a two-run jack by Manny, making it 5-4 Dodgers. The Dodgers really need to get a lead back.

Top 6th: Ronald Belisario gets the Phils in order, including homer-hitting Ruiz on a tapper to second. The crowd's still very much into it.

Bottom 6th: The Dodgers get men on first and second to bring up Jim Thome with two out. Charley Steiner keeps calling him James Loney. Yes, it's exciting, Charley.

Thome walks against reliever J.A. Happ, loading the bases. The Dodgers replace him with pinch-runner Randy Wolf. Maybe. Yup, it's Wolfie.

Happ now to Furcal, and he's wild, going 2-1. Furcal swings and foul tips one into home plate umpire Randy Marsh's mask. 2-2 count now. Just downstairs for a 3-2 count, and on the next pitch, Furcal bounces out to Utley to end the inning.

Bottom 7th: Vinny comes back to the booth, and informs us how poorly Ethier has done against left-handed pitching in the regular season. Just after that announcement, Ethier hammers one into the right field corner for a double, chasing Antonio Bastardo, who only faced Ethier.

It's Chan-Ho Park time, so this should be interesting. It's Manny versus Park with the winning run at the plate and nobody out. Park quickly gets a 1-2 count on Ramirez, and Manny checks his swing on a high, inside pitch. 2-2. Manny taps out to third for the first out of the inning.

Here's Matt Kemp. He works a full count after going 1-2, and strikes out for the inning's second out. Casey Blake taps out to third, and despite a high throw from Pedro Feliz, the Dodgers are out of the inning, wasting the leadoff double.

Top 8th: The normally impregnable George Sherrill gives up a pair of walks and Raul Ibanez belts one over the fence to break open the game once again, making it 8-4 Phillies. It's only the second home run he's given up all year, Vinny says.

Sherrill eventually limps out of the inning by getting a flyball double play to end it.

Bottom 8th: Ryan Madsen gives up three consecutive singles, culminating with Russell Martin's to make it 8-5 Phillies, James Loney scoring from second. That brings on pinch-hitter Juan Pierre, who will hopefully rediscover his beast mode right about now. Pierre bounces into a 1-4 fielder's choice for the inning's first out. But there's now men on the corners for Rafael Furcal with Belliard at third.

Furcal flies out to deep right, cashing in Belliard to nibble away the lead to only a two-run advantage, 8-6 Philadelphia. Andre Ethier singles, Pierre scampers to third, and now Ramirez arrives at the plate as the go-ahead run. Anticlimactically, he bounces slowly to third to end the inning, stranding another pair of baserunners, the eighth and ninth of the game.

Bottom 9th: The Dodgers go with hardly a peep, getting leadoff man Matt Kemp aboard on a single, but Casey Blake grounding into a double play. Belliard eventually pops out to end the game, in a very disappointing game that really should have been much closer; even the Dodgers' supposed strength, left-handed pitching, mostly failed (Kershaw and Sherrill). Get 'em tomorrow, I guess.

ESPN Box

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