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David Brown

Philly uses every bit of North America to take 3-1 lead in NLCS

David Brown
Big League Stew

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Hawaii's Shane Victorino went volcanic on the Los Angeles Dodgers and Canada's Matt Stairs hit a ball to the North Pole in a four-run eighth inning, driving the Philadelphia Phillies to a stunning 7-5 victory in the NLCS.

As a result, the Phillies lead 3-1 in the best-of-seven series and can clinch their first World Series appearance since 1993 with another victory in L.A. on Wednesday. Day off Tuesday.

Here are a few thoughts on the game, which probably cleared a little angst out of the veins of Phillies fans fearful of the Dodgers tying the series — and they were five outs from doing so:

Poi, poised: Victorino (right) is the poster child for the Phillies postseason so far, hitting the grand slam against CC Sabathia in the NLDS and then stroking a pea just over the fence in right against Cory Wade to tie the score at 5 in the fateful eighth. Makes little sense that he was bunting runners into scoring position earlier in the game for the likes of Pedro Feliz and Carlos Ruiz.

Fame Canada: Matt Stairs, who says he always swings for the fences, put a charge into Jonathan Broxton's fastball and sent it far, far away to flip the game completely for the Fightins, giving them a 7-5 lead that Brad Lidge would maintain. Stairs is short, shaped like a fan (or, as one commenter noted, a Canadian Greek God) and has a history of being a fourth outfielder/DH-type. This is his moment in the sun. Just cover up, because he's pasty and will burn easily.

Decisions, decisions: Let the second-guessing, first-guessing, tres-guessing, begin! Charlie Manuel intentionally walks Manny Ramirez in the first inning. Joe Torre dumps Derek Lowe for rookie Clayton Kershaw in the sixth. Manuel waits to put in Ryan Madson. Torre delays putting in his closer, who fails anyway. Dodger fans don't leave early.

The list: Shane Victorino is the best thing to come out of Hawaii since:

  • The surf board
  • Five-O
  • Magnum
  • Don Ho
  • Those episodes of the Brady Bunch when they go to Hawaii
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