Phillies off to flying start against Dodgers
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The Philadelphia Phillies stunned the Dodger stadium crowd in Los Angeles with an 8-6 win to score the first point in the National League final series.
AFP - Carlos Ruiz and Raul Ibanez both belted three-run home runs Thursday as World Series champions Philadelphia beat the Los Angeles Dodgers 8-6 in game one of the National League Championship series.
Ruiz's homer highlighted a five-run fifth inning for the Phillies, while Ibanez's first career playoff homer, in the eighth, gave Philadelphia all the cushion they needed to get off to a winning start in the best-of-seven series that will send the winners to the World Series.
Cole Hamels pitched 5 1/3 innings, giving up four runs on eight hits, and Brad Lidge saved his third playoff game in as many opportunities as Philadelphia drew first blood in this rematch of last season's NLCS.
"The Dodgers are a great team. They come from behind a lot so you take everyone seriously," Lidge said.
Slugger Manny Ramirez belted a two-run homer for the Dodgers, but grounded out to end the eighth inning, leaving runners on first and third.
James Loney also homered for the Dodgers, in the second inning.
"It's like a prize fight, we just came up a little short," Dodgers manager Joe Torre said of a game in which Los Angeles left 10 runners on base.
Los Angeles hurler Clayton Kershaw became the youngest starter in League Championship Series history at 21. He gave up five runs on four hits with five walks in 4 2/3 frames.
Kershaw's inexperience showed in the fifth, when he surrendered five runs and set a League Championship Series record for most wild pitches in an inning with three.
Ibanez singled to left off Kershaw in the fifth before Pedro Feliz worked a four-pitch walk.
Ruiz then turned on a high fastball, powering it into the left-field seats for a three-run shot that appeared to rattle Kershaw.
Jimmy Rollins reached on a fielder's choice, then got to third on consecutive wild pitches. Chase Utley walked and Ryan Howard hit a two-run double that stretched Philadelphia's lead to 5-1.
Kershaw allowed four hits in 4 2-3 innings and walked a total of five in his second postseason career start.
He worked out of the bullpen in last year's NL championship series, in which Philadelphia beat the Dodgers four games to one.
"It looked like he tried to overthrow the ball, got frustrated out there." Torre said of Kershaw. "Unfortunately, it got away from him quickly. As far as the pressure of the game, he certainly can handle it, but sometimes things get away from you."
The Dodgers closed to 5-4 with three runs in the bottom of the fifth. Ramirez belted his first homer since September 18, and Andre Ethier drove in a run.
Los Angeles' fourth relief pitcher of the game, George Sherrill, gave up Ibanez's homer in the eighth.
Howard worked a walk then Jayson Werth took a free pass in front of Ibanez, who pounced on a first-pitch curveball and hit it over the right-field wall for an 8-4 lead.
"I was trying not to do too much, stroke a line drive," Ibanez said. "Fortunately, I got it in the air and it carried out of the park."
The Dodgers pulled two runs back in the bottom of the frame thanks to Russell Martin's RBI single and a sacrifice fly by Rafael Furcal.
Game two is on Friday at Dodger Stadium, where the Phillies will send Pedro Martinez to the mound and the Dodgers give the ball to former Phillie Vicente Padilla.
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