Dodgers on the Brink, Drop Game 4 of the NLCS to the Phillies, 7-5

The Dodgers battled back from an early deficit, only to see things slip away from them late. Philadelphia took a commanding three games to one series lead, after coming from behind to beat the Dodgers 7-5 in Game 3. Derek Lowe, pitching on three days' rest, allowed the Phillies to score two in the first inning, before avoiding further trouble by getting Shane Victorino to ground into a double play to end the inning. Lowe settled down after that though, working his way out of a couple of jams to hold the Phillies scoreless from that point on through the end of the fifth, when Cayton Kershaw replaced him to start the sixth.

When Lowe left the game, the Dodgers had a 3-2 lead, thanks to an RBI double in the first from James Loney, and a two-run fifth inning that really should have been much more than that for the Dodgers. After Rafael Furcal worked a full count successfully into a walk, Andre Ethier singled on the next play to put runners at first and second with nobody out. Next up was Manny Ramirez, who electrified the stadium simply by coming to the plate. The entire crowd rose to its feet and began to cheer, almost as if they knew what was about to happen. Manny delivered on the very first pitch, and ripped a line drive to left which scored Furcal to tie the game at two. With runners now at second and third with nobody out, L.A. should have been able to do a lot more damage. But after a Russell Martin ground out sent Ethier in to give the Dodgers a 3-2 lead, Blake DeWitt grounded into a double play to cut the L.A. rally short.

A couple of pitching changes later for L.A. in the sixth, a Chan Ho Park wild pitch allowed the Phillies' Ryan Howard to score from third to tie the game at three. The Dodgers answered in the bottom of the inning though, scoring two runs on a Casey Blake solo shot and a sacrifice bunt from Rafael Furcal, ending the inning with a 5-3 lead and momentum seemingly on their side. It wouldn't last long.

The eighth inning was all Phillies, as they put up a four spot to claim the game and likely, the series along with it. Shane Victorino and Matt Stairs each belted two-run homers in the inning, giving the Phillies a 7-5 lead which would end up being the game's final score.

The relief pitching of the Dodgers was supposed to be an advantage in this series, especially playing at home. But Joe Torre gave several of his relievers a shot tonight, and none of them seemed to be able to stop the bats of the Phillies. Clayton Kershaw allowed a walk, a single, and a sac bunt in the sixth, before Park's wild pitch allowed the Phillies to tie the game. In the eighth, Cory Wade allowed Victorino's two-run bomb, then Jonathan Broxton served up the pitch for Stairs' two-run homer that ended up being the difference. And hitting into rally-killing double plays when the Dodgers were at bat in the fifth and eighth innings ruled out any chances of them winning this one in a slug-fest.

There's still one more game to be played in Los Angeles, and the Dodgers aren't done just yet. But trailing three games to one, they're going to need their pitching to come through big time, and shut down a Phillies offense that has dominated all season long, not to mention the majority of this series. It's a tall task, and one that's going to take a total team effort to avoid being eliminated from the post-season on Wednesday.

Contact Us