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Next stop for Phillies: St. Pete?

The Phillies’ Chase Utley slides home safely as shortstop Rafael Furcal’s wild throw sails past Dodgers catcher Russell Martin during the fifth inning. Furcal committed three errors in the inning to help Philadelphia score twice.

Associated Press

The Phillies’ Chase Utley slides home safely as shortstop Rafael Furcal’s wild throw sails past Dodgers catcher Russell Martin during the fifth inning. Furcal committed three errors in the inning to help Philadelphia score twice.

LOS ANGELES — Jimmy Rollins got the Phillies rolling with a leadoff homer, and they kept right on going. Next stop, the World Series.

Rollins homered in the first, Cole Hamels pitched his third gem of the playoffs and Philadelphia beat the bumbling Dodgers 5-1 Wednesday night to win the NL Championship Series 4-1 for its first pennant since 1993.

The NL East champions, the losingest team in pro sports history, took advantage of three errors by shortstop Rafael Furcal in the fifth and shrugged off another home run by Manny Ramirez.

Now, Philadelphia goes for its second World Series title beginning Wednesday night at the Rays or Red Sox. Tampa Bay leads 3-1 in the ALCS, which resumes tonight at Fenway Park.

"This is something we've worked so hard for, so long," Hamels said. "They made my job easier when they went out and got some runs.''

Brad Lidge closed it out for the Phillies, who won their lone championship in 1980 by beating the Royals in six games. They also reached the World Series in 1915, 1950, 1983 and 1993, when they lost to the Blue Jays in six 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.

"I guarantee you my mom's watching right now,'' said Phillies manager Charlie Manuel, whose mother, June Manuel, died Friday.

Ramirez homered in the sixth to end Hamels' shutout bid in what might have been his final game with the Dodgers. The leftfielder, who hit .520 with four homers, 10 RBIs and 11 walks in eight playoff games, can become a free agent after the World Series. He batted .396 with 17 homers and 53 RBIs in 53 regular-season games for the Dodgers after being acquired July 31 from the Red Sox.

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 Yankees, from 1996-2000, but hasn't won one since. This was his first year as Dodgers skipper after 12 with New York.

Rollins, last year's NL MVP who dropped off this season, also hit a leadoff homer in the first-round clincher at the Brewers. The Phillies didn't even clinch a playoff berth until the final week.

Hamels, 24, earned NLCS MVP honors. The left-hander has allowed 13 hits and three runs in 22 innings this postseason, with two wins over Los Angeles and another over Milwaukee. He'll have ample rest to pitch Game 1 of the World Series.

Ramirez is one of several high-profile free agents who might have played their final game for the Dodgers, along with Jeff Kent, Casey Blake, Furcal, Nomar Garciaparra, Derek Lowe and Greg Maddux.

Furcal, a shortstop who missed 125 games with back problems before being activated in late September, tied a postseason record by committing three errors in the fifth, leading to two unearned runs.

Rollins drove Chad Billingsley's full-count pitch over the right-centerfield fence to put the Phillies ahead. He came to the plate with two hits in 17 at-bats in the series.

Billingsley walked Rollins and Chase Utley in the third before Ryan Howard and Pat Burrell hit two-out RBI singles to make it 3-0. Chan Ho Park relieved with the bases loaded and worked out of trouble by retiring Pedro Feliz on a grounder.

Billingsley, 6-0 with a 1.60 ERA in his last seven regular-season starts at home, lasted 22/3 innings. The right-hander, 24, who went 16-10 with a 3.14 ERA this season, gave up a career-high eight runs in 21/3 innings in Game 2, won by the Phillies 8-5.

The Phillies made it 5-0 in the fifth against Maddux thanks to Furcal's errors. The first two came on one play, when he booted Burrell's potential inning-ending double-play grounder and threw the ball away, allowing one run to score. Furcal made another throwing error on Carlos Ruiz's two-out grounder.

Phillies 5

Dodgers 1

Next stop for Phillies: St. Pete? 10/16/08 [Last modified: Wednesday, November 3, 2010 3:58pm]
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