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Phillies rally to advance to NLCS

DENVER — Chase Utley ducked near second base. The rest of the Phillies never flinched.

Ryan Howard hit a two-run double with two outs in the ninth and scored on Jayson Werth's single as Philadelphia rallied past the Rockies 5-4 in Game 4 on Monday to reach the NL Championship Series.

Brad Lidge, who had a terrible regular season, earned his second straight save by again retiring cleanup batter Troy Tulowitzki with runners on first and second for the final out.

Tulowitzki, who flied out to end Game 3, struck out this time, and the Phillies celebrated on the infield at chilly Coors Field before retreating to the clubhouse to spray champagne .

"I can't see and it hurts," Howard said. "But it hurts good."

The World Series champions play Thursday night at Dodger Stadium in an NLCS rematch.

"These couple of games have been kind of character builders," Howard said. "This is just step two of where we're trying to get to."

After Dexter Fowler's hurdle of Utley sparked Colorado's three-run rally in the eighth, Howard and the Phillies responded with a three-run rally against closer Huston Street.

Street converted 35 of 37 save chances this season but took the loss in Game 3 when he allowed Howard's tiebreaking sacrifice fly in the ninth. "We had gotten to Huston Street the night before, so we knew we had a shot to make some things happen," Howard said.

Colorado had lost just once all season when leading after eight innings, and Street started the ninth with a strikeout of pinch-hitter Greg Dobbs.

Jimmy Rollins singled with one out and Utley drew a two-out walk on a full count. Howard tied it with two strikes when he doubled to the rightfield wall. Werth followed with a soft single to right-center.

"We were a strike away from making a trip to Philadelphia," Rockies manager Jim Tracy said.

The Phillies, the NL's best road team, won both games at Coors Field, where the wild-card Rockies went 44-17 under Tracy.

"We stood toe-to-toe with the defending world champions," Street said. "I take full responsibility for there not being a Game 5 and not keeping us alive."

The Rockies looked as if they would send the series back to Philadelphia when Yorvit Torrealba's two-run double broke a tie at 2 in the eighth. That came after Fowler scored the tying run on pinch-hitter Jason Giambi's two-out single.

Fowler hurdled Utley, who stepped into the basepath to field Todd Helton's slow grounder, and his quick flip to second was wide right and mishandled for an error by Rollins.

"That was a football play," Rollins said. "That was like jumping over a defender trying to get to the end zone, and he made it."

That put two on for Tulowitzki, and Ryan Madson relieved Cliff Lee in a double switch that brought in leftfielder Ben Francisco to replace Raul Ibanez.

It paid an immediate dividend when Francisco raced in and made a diving catch of Tulowitzki's bloop to left for the second out. But Francisco couldn't get to Giambi's single fast enough to keep Fowler from scoring the tying run from second base.

Then, Torrealba sent a two-run double to right-center for a 4-2 Rockies lead.

"No one got rattled and no one was worried," Werth said. "Going back to '07, we got swept by the Rockies and I think everybody learned a lesson. Everybody knew what we had to do."



NL division series

Phillies 3, Rockies 1

Game 1: Phillies 5, Rockies 1

Game 2: Rockies 5, Phillies 4

Game 3: Phillies 6, Rockies 5

Monday: Phillies 5, Rockies 4

NL Championship Series

All games on TBS

Dodgers vs. PHILLIES

Thursday: at Los Angeles, 8:07 p.m.

Friday: at Los Angeles, 4:37 p.m.

Sunday: at Philadelphia, 8:07 p.m.

Monday: at Philadelphia, 8:07 p.m.

Oct. 21: at Philadelphia, 8:07 p.m.*

Oct. 23: at Los Angeles, 8:07 p.m.*

Oct. 24: at Los Angeles, 8:07 p.m.*

* If necessary

Phillies rally to advance to NLCS 10/13/09 [Last modified: Tuesday, October 13, 2009 7:41am]
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