Tue, Oct 14, 2008 - Page 19 News List

Dodgers top Phillies to battle back into championship series

AP , LOS ANGELES

The Los Angeles Dodgers’ Rafael Furcal points into the crowd after hitting a solo home run as Philadelphia Phillies catcher Carlos Ruiz looks on during Game 3 of the National League Championship Series playoffs in the second inning at Dodgers Stadium in Los Angeles, California, on Sunday.

PHOTO: EPA

NATIONAL LEAGUE

Blake DeWitt’s bases-loaded triple off Jamie Moyer capped a five-run first inning as the Los Angeles Dodgers beat the Phillies 7-2 on Sunday to trim Philadelphia’s lead to 2-1 in the best-of-seven series National League championship series.

The benches and bullpens emptied moments after Los Angeles starter Hiroki Kuroda threw a pitch over Shane Victorino’s head, with an angry Manny Ramirez barking at the Phillies during the dustup.

But there were no punches or ejections, and the Dodgers played with poise all night.

Kuroda pitched effectively into the seventh for Los Angeles, who were to try to even the series last night.

Game 1 loser Derek Lowe, working on three days’ rest, will face Philadelphia’s Joe Blanton in a matchup of right-handers.

Kuroda buzzed Victorino in the third, apparently an attempt to retaliate for Philadelphia’s Brett Myers throwing behind Ramirez in Game 2.

Plate umpire Mike Everitt immediately warned both teams.

Victorino shouted at Kuroda while pointing at his own head and upper body as if to say: “It’s OK to throw at my body, but not my head.”

Victorino grounded out to first baseman Nomar Garciaparra and then exchanged words with Kuroda near the bag.

Both dugouts emptied and the bullpens followed, but no punches were thrown and there were no ejections.

Dodgers third base coach Larry Bowa and Phillies first base coach Davey Lopes appeared to be two of the angriest participants in the near-scuffle, yelling at each other before the teams cleared the field.

Ramirez also came in from left field to bark at the Phillies and had to be restrained by teammates, manager Joe Torre and an umpire.

Myers threw behind Ramirez in the first inning of Game 2 on Friday, and Los Angeles’ Russell Martin was brushed back as well.

The soft-tossing Moyer hit Martin with a pitch in the first inning on Sunday night, and reliever Clay Condrey knocked down the Dodgers’ catcher in the second.

Martin was hit by another pitch in the seventh, by Chad Durbin, drawing a boos from the crowd and prompting Ramirez to climb to the top step of the dugout, but he took first base without incident.

The Phillies and Dodgers don’t have a recent history of animosity, unlike Boston and Tampa Bay, the ALCS participants.

The Red Sox and Rays have played two peaceful games in their series after a nasty brawl in June.

The Phillies and Dodgers have played 11 times this year including eight in the regular season, with the home team winning every game.

And the Dodgers’ 23-9 record at home after the All-Star break was the best in the majors.

Kuroda, a 33-year-old rookie making just the second postseason start of a career that includes 11 years in the Japanese Central League, gave up only five hits and two runs with one walk and three strikeouts before being relieved by Cory Wade with two on and nobody out in the seventh. Wade retired the next three batters to end the inning.

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