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Archive for Thursday, October 22, 2009

Philadelpia making return trip to Series

October 22, 2009

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— Ryan Howard and the defending champs are back in the World Series — proving last year was no fluke and looking even more dangerous this time around.

Jayson Werth homered twice, Shane Victorino and Pedro Feliz also connected, and the Philadelphia Phillies beat the Los Angeles Dodgers, 10-4, in Game 5 on Wednesday night to win their second straight NL pennant.

Brad Lidge closed it out, Howard was selected NL championship series MVP, and the Phillies became the first team to reach consecutive World Series since the New York Yankees in 2000-01.

“I can get used to it,” manager Charlie Manuel told a cheering crowd. “We got one more step, and we’re going to get it.”

Now, Jimmy Rollins and crew wait for their next opponent. They’ll go for their third World Series title beginning Wednesday night at New York or Los Angeles. The Yankees lead the Angels 3-1 in the ALCS, which resumes tonight at Angel Stadium.

Meanwhile, slugger Manny Ramirez, manager Joe Torre and the rest of the Dodgers go home after leading the NL with 95 wins in the regular season and sweeping the St. Louis Cardinals in the division series.

“They’re confident, they’re talented, and they’re going where we all want to go right now — the World Series,” Torre said, praising the power-hitting Phillies.

With a big night at the plate, Philadelphia overcame another shaky outing by 2008 NLCS and World Series MVP Cole Hamels. Los Angeles closed to 9-4 in the eighth, but Ryan Madson escaped a bases-loaded jam by striking out Russell Martin and retiring Casey Blake on a grounder.

After beating Tampa Bay in last year’s World Series, the Phillies are trying to become the first repeat champions from the NL since the Cincinnati Reds in 1975-76. The Yankees were the last team to win consecutive titles when they captured three in a row from 1998-2000.

“We got one more step,” Howard said. “Then we got action!”

Andre Ethier, James Loney and pinch-hitter Orlando Hudson hit solo homers for the Dodgers, who also lost to the Phillies in five games in last year’s NLCS.

The teams combined to tie the record of seven homers in a postseason game. It was the fifth time that’s happened.

“They were better than us,” Ramirez said. “You saw what they were capable of doing.”

Fireworks exploded over Citizens Bank Park after Victorino caught a fly ball for the final out. The NL East champions, who beat Colorado in four games in the opening round, met Lidge in the middle of the diamond to celebrate and began putting on hats with the stitched-in logo of “WS2009.”

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