Phillies on a roll in NLCS

Jimmy Rollins lined a two-run double with two outs in the ninth inning off closer Jonathan Broxton and the Philadelphia Phillies rallied past the Los Angeles Dodgers 5-4 Monday night for a 3-1 lead in the NL championship series.

Philadelphia Phillies’ Jimmy Rollins (11) hits a two-run double to win Game 4 of the NLCS baseball series Tuesday.

Philadelphia Phillies’ Jimmy Rollins (11) hits a two-run double to win Game 4 of the NLCS baseball series Tuesday.

Phillies 5 Dodgers 4

PHILADELPHIA — Jimmy Rollins lined a two-run double with two outs in the ninth inning off closer Jonathan Broxton and the Philadelphia Phillies rallied past the Los Angeles Dodgers 5-4 Monday night for a 3-1 lead in the NL championship series.

The defending champions can earn their second straight trip to the World Series with a victory at home in Game 5 on Wednesday night. Cole Hamels, last year’s NLCS and World Series MVP, will take the mound for the Phillies. Clayton Kershaw or Vicente Padilla will start for Los Angeles.

“This is big,” Rollins said. “The pressure’s all on them.”

Trailing 4-3, the Phillies started their rally with one out in the ninth when pinch-hitter Matt Stairs of Fredericton walked on four pitches against Broxton. Stairs hit a two-run homer off Broxton in Game 4 of the NLCS last year at Dodger Stadium.

Broxton then hit Carlos Ruiz with a pitch, but pinch-hitter Greg Dobbs hit a soft liner to third for the second out.

Rollins, just 3-for-18 in the series to that point, then ripped a 99 m.p.h. fastball to right-centre and the ball rolled all the way to the wall. Andre Ethier’s throw toward the infield was high and off line, and Ruiz slid home safely without a play.

Rollins pointed in the air as he rounded second and got mobbed by teammates at third base.

Even Jamie Moyer, who just had surgery on his lower abdomen, limped out and joined the celebration.

“I’m all right. I had to curl up in the fetal position and throw some punches of my own,” Rollins said.

Brad Lidge got two outs in the ninth to earn the win. Ryan Howard hit a two-run homer that gave him eight straight post-season games with at least one RBI, tying Lou Gehrig’s major league record set more than seven decades ago.

Matt Kemp had a tiebreaking, solo homer for the Dodgers, and Manny Ramirez made a shoestring catch that prevented the tying run from scoring in the sixth.

Before Rollins’ hit, Dodgers relievers hadn’t allowed a hit in 3 1-3 innings.

“They’re a very tough lineup to go through,” Los Angeles manager Joe Torre said. “You try to be careful. He almost dug himself out.”

Starter Randy Wolf pitched 5 1-3 effective innings against his former team while his “Wolf Pack” fan club sat in seats he left for them — and rooted against him.

George Sherrill struck out Howard with two runners on in the eighth and Broxton retired Jayson Werth on a fly ball to end the inning. At that point, Dodgers manager Joe Torre had made all the right moves one day after hearing criticism for starting Hiroki Kuroda in Game 3. Torre let Sherrill face Howard, even though he was 0-for-10 against Broxton.

But Broxton couldn’t nail down the four-out save. Now the Dodgers are on the verge of elimination.

Trailing 4-2 in the sixth, the Phillies got within a run on Chase Utley’s RBI single. Shane Victorino tripled into the left-field corner as Ramirez nonchalantly chased after it. Victorino scored on Utley’s liner to right.

Wolf exited after walking Howard. Ronald Belisario came in to face Werth, who hit a broken-bat fielder’s choice to third. Second baseman Ronnie Belliard dropped the ball before he could throw to first for a possible double play.

Hong-Chih Kuo replaced Belisario, and Raul Ibanez lined his first pitch to left. But Ramirez, known more for loafing than sensational grabs, saved the day — momentarily — for the Dodgers. He still was removed for defensive replacement Juan Pierre in the ninth.

It was another brisk night — 8 C for the first pitch — at Citizens Bank Park. Bundled-up fans kept warm by waving their “Fightin’ Phils!” rally towels and screaming “Beat LA! Beat LA!”

They had plenty to cheer early when Howard ripped a 3-1 pitch to the seats in right, giving the Phillies a 2-0 lead in the first. Fans gave Howard a standing ovation and many chanted “M-V-P!” as he came out for the early curtain call.

The streaking slugger has driven in a run in each of the Phillies’ eight playoff games this year. Gehrig’s streak stretched over two World Series with the New York Yankees in 1928 and 1932.

“I’m just going to go up there and keep throwing my bat at the ball,” Howard said.

Making his first start since he lasted just 3 2-3 innings in Game 1 of the division series against St. Louis, Wolf gave up three runs and four hits. The Wolf Pack — a group of fans who used to sit in the upper deck and cheer for Wolf when he pitched in Philadelphia — was in the crowd. Wolf left them tickets, knowing they would root for their beloved Phillies.

Philadelphia starter Joe Blanton allowed four runs — three earned — and six hits in six innings in his first post-season start after two relief appearances against Colorado in the first round.

Coming off the most lopsided victory — 11-0 — in their post-season history, the Phillies jumped on the Dodgers in the first for the second straight night. But Wolf settled in and Los Angeles chipped away.

Kemp, who started a two-run rally in the fourth by drawing a walk, put the Dodgers ahead 3-2 when he connected off Blanton with two outs in the fifth. Kemp’s drive to straightaway centre carried just over the wall. Victorino climbed the short fence with his back turned to the field, but the ball was beyond his reach.

Shaky defence by Philadelphia helped the Dodgers tack on the run in the sixth. Ramirez reached on third baseman Pedro Feliz’s throwing error, a ball that first baseman Howard could’ve scooped. With two outs, Casey Blake looped an RBI single down the right-field line to give the Dodgers a 4-2 lead. Blake was 1 for 13 in the series before the hit.

Blanton retired his first 10 batters before running into trouble in the fourth. James Loney and Russell Martin hit consecutive RBI singles to tie it at 2.

Notes: Howard tied Mike Schmidt’s club record with his sixth career post-season homer. Howard has 14 RBIs this post-season and has reached base safely in 17 straight playoff games. … Wolf was an all-star with the Phillies in 2003 and started the first game at Citizens Bank Park in ’04. … Blake was 1-for-25 against Blanton before his RBI single.

Just Posted

Envisioned exterior of the future Red Deer Aquatic Centre, by GEC Architects. Council determined Monday that it will eventually be built on the Michener North site, off 30th Avenue. (Contributed image).
Red Deer’s aquatic centre will be built on Michener North site

Rotary Recreation Rark has too many space constraints, most councillors decided

Chief medical officer of health Dr. Deena Hinshaw says the National Advisory Committee on Immunization has advised that Pfizer and Moderna vaccines can be used interchangeably for second doses and Alberta is following that approach. (File photo by The Canadian Press)
Red Deer down to 66 active COVID-19 cases

Red Deer has lowest number of active cases since last November

(Advocate file photo).
Red Deer drivers warned about temporary lane closure on 67th Street

Power line will be rebuilt in six-month project

Black Horse Singers performed for students at Ecole la Prairie on Monday. (Photo by SUSAN ZIELINSKI/Advocate staff)
WATCH: Students remind Red Deer that every child matters on National Indigenous Day

Heart-shaped messages to decorate trees at Ecole la Prairie through the summer

Tampa Bay Lightning center Tyler Johnson, center, tries to get position for a shot against New York Islanders goaltender Ilya Sorokin (30) during the second period in Game 5 of an NHL hockey Stanley Cup semifinal playoff series Monday, June 21, 2021, in Tampa, Fla. (AP Photo/Chris O'Meara)
Stamkos, Vasilevskiy pace Lightning’s 8-0 rout of Islanders

Lightning 8 Islanders 0 (Tampa Bay leads series 3-2) TAMPA, Fla. —… Continue reading

Calgary Mayor Naheed Nenshi says he’s ‘convinced’ the city will be able to get rid of the mandatory mask bylaw in July. (File photo by THE CANADIAN PRESS)
‘Made in Calgary’ approach will keep mask requirements past Alberta’s total reopening

Calgary won’t be following provincial recommendations on the mandatory wearing of masks… Continue reading

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau speaks during a debate in the House of Commons, in Ottawa, Tuesday, June 1, 2021. Parliamentarians are entering what could be their final stretch in the House of Commons before it breaks for summer as the Liberal government sharpens its focus around two key pieces of legislation. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Liberals, opposition clash with days left to pass legislation before House rises

OTTAWA — Parliamentarians are in their final week before a summer break… Continue reading

The border crossing into the United States is seen during the COVID-19 pandemic in Lacolle, Que. on February 12, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Paul Chiasson
Border measures start easing in July for fully vaccinated Canadians

OTTAWA — Fully vaccinated Canadians returning to Canada will soon be able… Continue reading

The home of Lionel and Shanna Desmond in Upper Big Tracadie, N.S., is shown in this undated police handout aerial photo. An inquiry investigating why a former Canadian soldier killed his family and himself in 2017 heard today from a relative who said Lionel Desmond's mental health appeared stable after he served in Afghanistan in 2007, but there was a dramatic decline over the next 10 years. THE CANADIAN PRESS/HO - Lionel Desmond Fatality Inquiry
Lionel Desmond inquiry: soldier’s sister-in-law testifies about his mental decline

PORT HAWKESBURY, N.S. — An inquiry investigating why a former Canadian soldier… Continue reading

People look over the damage after a tornado touched down in Mascouche, Que., north of Montreal, Monday, June 21, 2021. Dozens of homes were damaged and one death has been confirmed. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Ryan Remiorz
One dead and extensive damage as tornado hits Mascouche, Que., north of Montreal

MONTREAL — One person was killed after a tornado struck Mascouche, Que.,… Continue reading

President of the Public Health Agency of Canada Iain Stewart, right, approaches the bar in the House of Commons to be admonished by the Speaker of the House of Commons Anthony Rota on Parliament Hill in Ottawa on Monday, June 21, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick
PHAC president rebuked, still doesn’t produce documents on fired scientists

OTTAWA — The Conservatives are asking that the Public Health Agency of… Continue reading

Memphis Grizzlies forward Dillon Brooks (24) gestures to teammates during the first half of Game 5 of their NBA basketball first-round playoff series against the Utah Jazz on Wednesday, June 2, 2021, in Salt Lake City.  THE CANADIAN PRESS/AP-Rick Bowmer
After months of speculation, Canada’s men’s basketball roster set ahead of qualifier

With a tantalizingly deep pool of talent, Canada’s men’s basketball roster has… Continue reading

Most Read