Major Leagues: Phillies 5, Dodgers 1
LOS ANGELES ó Jimmy Rollins got the Phillies rollin’ with a leadoff homer and they kept right on going. Next stop, the World Series.
Rollins homered in the first inning, Cole Hamels pitched his third gem of the playoffs and Philadelphia beat the bumbling Los Angeles Dodgers 5-1 Wednesday night to win the NL championship series 4-1 for its first pennant since 1993.
“These guys are going crazy right now,” slugger Ryan Howard said. “I can only imagine how it is in Philadelphia.”
The NL East champions ó the losingest team in pro sports history ó took advantage of three errors by shortstop Rafael Furcal in the fifth inning and shrugged off another home run by Manny Ramirez.
Now, the Phillies go for their second World Series title beginning next Wednesday night at Tampa Bay or Boston. The Rays lead the Red Sox 3-1 in the ALCS, which resumes Thursday night at Fenway Park.
“After hearing about the ’93 team over and over and over again, we finally get a chance to make our mark,” Rollins said. “This was an organization that I wanted to change. We were used to losing. I wanted to see what I could do.”
Brad Lidge closed it out for the Phillies, who won their lone championship in 1980 by beating Kansas City in six games. They also reached the World Series in 1915, 1950, 1983 and 1993, when they lost to Toronto in six games on Joe Carter’s ninth-inning homer off Mitch Williams.
Now they’re headed back, carrying the hopes of a championship-starved city that hasn’t had a title to celebrate since the NBA’s 76ers won it all in 1983.
You can bet your last cheesesteak, Broad Street is primed for a party. And those Philly fans, who always expect failure, can relax ó at least for a week.
“It’s a great feeling right now,” Howard said. “I don’t know what to say.”
Ramirez homered in the sixth to end Hamels’ shutout bid in what might have been his final game with the Dodgers. The slugging left fielder hit .520 with four homers, 10 RBIs and 11 walks in eight playoff games.
On the bench, Joe Torre came up short in the postseason again. He won four World Series in his first five years as manager of the New York Yankees from 1996-2000, but hasn’t won one since. This was his first year as the Dodgers’ skipper after 12 with the Yankees.