LOS ANGELES -- Phillies shortstop Jimmy Rollins gave his team a spark and made a bit of history on Wednesday, when he hit a home run to lead off Game 5 of the National League Championship Series at Dodger Stadium.
"He set the tone," outfielder Shane Victorino said. "He set the momentum for tonight's game. To have him lead off the game with a home run, it was definitely big."
Rollins drilled Chad Billingsley's 3-2 pitch over the right-field wall, giving the Phillies some first-inning offense for the second consecutive game. It was Rollins' second leadoff home run of the postseason, and first since Game 4 of the NLDS in Milwaukee.
Aside from those two home runs, however, Rollins has struggled offensively in October. Entering Wednesday with just two hits in his previous 17 at-bats, Rollins hadn't recorded an extra-base hit since his Game 4 NLDS home run 10 days before. And he and first baseman Ryan Howard had taken criticism in recent days for their lack of production in the playoffs, despite Howard's three hits and three runs scored in Games 3 and 4.
The Phillies seemed primed to add even more offense off Billingsley in the first, when Jayson Werth, batting second, walked. But Chase Utley then hit into a double play, with Werth shaking up Dodgers shortstop Rafael Furcal on the play. After a brief conference with the team's training staff in shallow center field, Furcal remained in the game.
Rollins' leadoff homer makes him the first player to accomplish that feat three times in the postseason. He can lay claim to all three leadoff home runs in Phillies postseason history, including one in Game 2 of last year's NLDS against the Rockies. And those three have come in addition to his 28 career regular-season leadoff home runs.
Anthony DiComo is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.