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Article:Phillies One Game Away

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Breaking with the 'home team wins' MO that has characterized both teams, the Phillies scored a potentially crushing 7-5 win over the Dodgers.

The win was propelled by LA fan-favorite Shane Victorino's 2-run homer in the 8th. That quieted the crowd - that pretty much booed each breath Victorino took - and set them up for the coup-de-grace, a towering 2-run homer off the bat of Matt Stairs.

With the win, the Phillies take a solid 3 games to 1 lead in the NLCS, and also take back the momentum that was lost after Sunday's loss.

En route to becoming the first road team to win in this Phils/Dodgers season series, the Phillies scored runs in multiple innings, doing so in the 1st, 6th and 8th innings, alternately giving the Dodger faithful hope and then snatching that hope away.

They don't make it easy. Every time the Phillies left a runner on base, I groaned. Then the Phillies seemed incapable of having an inning that didn't include at least two Dodgers reaching base.

There were many close calls, and the Phillies got the better end of the stick this night.

Of course, it could also be argued that the Phillies simply played better when it counted.

Chase Utley pulled off a clutch - and momentum killing - double play to end a 6th inning that had already seen the Dodgers score two runs, with the definite potential for them to do even more damage. But, as he has done many times before, Chase saved the day (er...night). And, he contributed three hits. Not a bad day at the office.

Their bullpen pitched scoreless 7th, 8th and 9th innings. And they took advantage of Joe Torre's frequent - and puzzling - pitching changes.

When he took Hong-Chih Kuo out of the game, I think that was the turning point for the Phils. He was mowing the Phils down pretty good, getting Jayson Werth and Chase Utley on swinging strikeouts to close out the 7th.

After two Dodger base runners in the bottom of the inning (but no scoring), Kuo came back out and gave up a single to Siberian-like Ryan Howard. Then he was pulled for Cory Wade.

Wade then gave up Victorino's homer, tying the game at 5. Wade then recorded an out and gave up a single to Carlos Ruiz, at which point he was lifted for Jonathan Broxton, who then surrendered the moon shot to Stairs that sent the Phillies home happy. I still am wondering why Kuo was lifted.

But who cares? Phillies fans, have a Yuengling! As Mike Schmidt said in 1980 "Take this win and savor it! You all earned it." ... or something along those lines.

Now they only need one more game. I wrote earlier in the year about telling my son all about the 1980 Phillies and how I hoped he'd be able to enjoy a Phillies World Series with me. I am pleased as punch that this is very close to becoming a reality.

Go Phils!

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