Phils blast back into World Series
Werth hit two home runs, Shane Victorino and Pedro Feliz also connected and the defending champions 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 manager Charlie Manuel’s Phillies became the first team to reach consecutive World Series since the New York Yankees in 2000-01.
“Big games call for big times,” Werth said. “Hopefully, we can keep it going. We’ve got four more games to win.”
Now, Jimmy Rollins and crew wait for their next opponent. They’ll go for their third World Series title beginning next Wednesday night at New York or Los Angeles. The Yankees lead the Angels 3-1 in the ALCS, which resumes Thursday night at Angel Stadium.
Philadelphia overcame another shaky outing by 2008 NLCS and World Series MVP Cole Hamels.
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.
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.
“It’s not on our minds,” Werth said. “We’re taking it one pitch, one game at a time and do what we can to win games. So far, it’s been working.”
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.
“It’s a crazy game,” Werth said. “We thought we had them coming into the game.”
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.”
After the trophy ceremonies on the field, the Phillies retreated to their clubhouse to spray champagne and celebrate.
Five pitchers tossed 4 2-3 strong innings in relief of an ineffective Hamels, who hasn’t been the dominant ace he was last postseason. Chad Durbin earned the win by retiring all four batters he faced, including Ramirez representing the tying run in the fifth.
Lidge, who has bounced back from a rough season with a 0.00 ERA during the playoffs, worked a scoreless ninth.
“I always believed it was going to turn around,” Lidge said. “One of the biggest things was I was starting to feel really healthy at the end of the season.”
Hamels allowed three runs and five hits in 4 1-3 innings. Still, he got a standing ovation on his way to the dugout.
Vicente Padilla, the former Phillie who was excellent in his first two playoff starts, lasted just three-plus innings and gave up six runs.
The teams combined to tie the record of seven homers in a postseason game. It was the fifth time that’s happened.
Once considered the NL’s laughingstock, the Phillies have been thinking dynasty since riding down Broad Street on flatbed trucks during the city’s first championship parade in 25 years last October.
On the 29th anniversary of their first World Series title, the Phillies became the first NL team to win two straight pennants since the Atlanta Braves did it 13 years ago.
So what that they’re the team of 10,000 losses? The sad-sack losers of the past are a distant memory in Philadelphia.
This will be Philadelphia’s seventh trip to the World Series in 127 years. The Phillies beat Kansas City in 1980 and lost in 1915, 1950, 1983 and 1993. The Yankees swept Philadelphia in ’50, winning the first three games of that series by one run.
Another sellout crowd implored their team to “Beat LA!” and waved their white-and-red rally towels, rocking Citizens Bank Park on a beautiful, 63-degree night. It was only 48 on Monday night.