The 2008 NLCS seems close to being wrapped up as the Philadelphia Phillies thanks to late homers by Shane Victorino -- who has seemed to be in the middle of everything -- and Matt Stair's long shot in the 8th led them over the Los Angeles Dodgers, 7-5.
Tuesday's action had none of the drama of the previous night, and Philadelphia staged a dramatic comeback as the knocked up the Los Angeles bullpen in the latter half of the game. Derek Lowe was strong -- especially giving up two runs in the first inning -- and went only five innings; however, he kept the Dodgers in the game long for them to take the lead in the bottom of fifth by taking a 3-2 lead.
Now, why he was taken out by Joe Torre early -- who knows (maybe it's the fact he pitched on 3 days rest); however, that decision might have cost the Dodgers.
Joe Blanton -- the starting pitcher for the Phillies -- went five innings and gave up three runs, but it was Chad Durbin who opened up the flood gates by giving up a 2-run-homer to Casey Blake in the sixth to put the Dodgers up 5-2.
Both bullpens were taxed, but in the end, it was Philadelphia who reigned supreme. The reliable Dodger bullpen imploded and could not hold the lead.
They tied the game at three in the sixth at Ryan Howard plated in a run off Chan Ho Park; thereafter, two innings later they added a four spot thanks to 2-run homers by each Victorino and Stairs.
The Dodgers must win game five, or the season is over -- plus, I will not be able to use my tickets for game six...
There's an off-day for the NLCS on Wednesday (maybe to have the Red Sox in prime time); however, Philly will play for all the marbles on Thursday.
Tampa touched up Jon Lester sail to the easy win. Lester only lasted a little over five innings, gave up five runs and his teammates could do nothing but watch the carnage.
B.J. Upton, and Evan Longoria homered early, while Rocco Baldelli's shot (what an incredible comeback story this kid has had), and Carlos Pena's homerun in the ninth has now sent Red Sox Nation thinking collectively, "Are you serious that Tampa could beat us?"
Yes, I am. I still think the Red Sox will come back and take it, but folks, these are the old Rays -- or Devil Rays -- they have the athleticism and power to beat anyone.
Matt Garza, who did not look too hot in Chicago during the ALDS, threw six innings of one-run ball for the easy win.
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