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DENVER - Philadelphia manager Charlie Manuel on Friday chose RHP Pedro Martinez to start tonight's Game 3 against the Rockies. The other candidates were LHP J.A. Happ and RHP Joe Blanton, starters during the regular season who made relief appearances in Game 1.

Martinez sat out most of the year before signing with the Phillies. He went 5-1 with a 3.63 ERA in nine starts. He last pitched Sept. 30. He said he didn't know how the layoff would affect him.

"But I feel really good physically," Martinez said. "I'm looking forward to going out there, hopefully get a normal start, use my experience to my advantage and try not to waste too much energy and too many pitches."

Martinez's age (37), minimal work (seven innings dating to Sept. 13) and expected frigid temperatures (20s with snow flurries) were believed to work against Martinez getting the nod. But Manuel said he didn't hesitate.

"I say he's going to throw anywhere from 85 to 100 pitches," he said. "And I think that can get you into the sixth or seventh inning if his command is good."

Thievery: While going through the handshake line after saving Game 2, the Rockies' Huston Street swiped the ball 2B Clint Barmes caught for the final out from his glove. Nothing personal. It's just Street collects all the balls from his saves.

Barmes looked stunned but said later he didn't mind.

"If I catch the last out, I always give the ball to the closer," he said. "I've got enough stuff, so they can have it. I don't even know what they do with them."

Avoiding Albert: The Dodgers have intentionally walked the Cardinals' Albert Pujols three times among his nine plate appearances in their series and won't hesitate to continue to do so.

"It may cost me ... a three-run homer instead of a two-run homer," manager Joe Torre said. "But I'm still going to make somebody else beat me."

Been there:In 2001, Torre's Yankees overcame a 2-0 division series deficit to the A's despite losing the first two at home.

"It doesn't look good, and it doesn't feel good, for sure," Torre said. "But just like on our side of it, we can't go in and think that, 'Okay, we've got a 2-0 lead, it shouldn't be a problem.'"