Phillies' power capitalizes on free passes

Phillies' power capitalizes on free passes

LOS ANGELES -- The Phillies can hit. They led the National League in runs scored, extra-base hits, slugging percentage and home runs during the regular season and they carried that into Game 1 of the NL Championship Series on Thursday night.

So when the Dodgers pitchers had trouble throwing strikes, the Phillies had the firepower ready to make them pay for their trespasses.

A pair of three-run home runs by catcher Carlos Ruiz and outfielder Raul Ibanez and a two-run double by Ryan Howard were the big blows that carried them to an 8-6 victory over the Dodgers at Dodger Stadium.

"Our power is definitely a big part of our offense," Phillies manager Charlie Manuel said after his team took a 1-0 lead going into Game 2 on Friday night.

Dodgers manager Joe Torre was more frustrated by his pitchers walking seven batters than the Phillies' muscle. Four of those seven walks came around to score on the big hits by Ruiz, Howard and Ibanez.

"Seven walks is a little bit tough to overcome," Torre said. "The thing we have to do is get back to doing a better job of keeping their guys off base."

The Phillies needed all they could get. Ruiz hit his three-run home run in the fifth inning and Howard added a two-run double to give the Phillies a 5-1 lead. But if they had stopped scoring there, they would have been in trouble.

The Dodgers came right back with three in the bottom of the fifth inning and made it a one-run game again. Ibanez delivered his three-run home run in the top of the eighth and the Phillies needed the extra runs because the Dodgers scored two more in the bottom of the inning.

NL Championship Series
Gm. 1 PHI 8, LAD 6 Wrap Video
Gm. 2 LAD 2, PHI 1 Wrap Video
Gm. 3 PHI 11, LAD 0 Wrap Video
Gm. 4 PHI 5, LAD 4 Wrap Video
Gm. 5 PHI 10, LAD 4 Wrap Video

"This is a short series so everyone is really trying to do their job offensively," Ruiz said. "Our team knows how important it is to score so we keep trying to add runs every inning. I'm doing my part and each player is doing his part. That's the key to winning for us."

Ruiz was 2-for-3 on Thursday after going 8-for-14 with a home run against the Dodgers in the regular season. In his career he is hitting .375 (21-for-56) in 20 games over both the regular season and the playoffs against the Dodgers.

"He's that guy that seems to be that pain in the neck or some other part of your body," Torre said. "I think there's always one guy on each team that gives certain teams trouble. And when it's the eighth-place hitter, it frustrates you. But it's certainly something he's done more than once."

Ibanez has given many teams trouble. He hit a career-high 34 home runs during the regular season but this was his first career playoff home run in 34 at-bats.

It came in the eighth against Dodgers left-hander George Sherrill, who had just walked the first two batters of the inning. Sherrill was struggling but he's usually brutal on left-handed hitters. They hit .128 (10-for-78) off him during the regular season and he has allowed just one home run to a left-handed hitter in 141 at-bats over the past two seasons.

But Ibanez, who played with Sherrill in Seattle, hit the first pitch he saw over the right-field fence for a three-run home run.

"I'm really thinking [about] not trying to do too much," Ibanez said. "You know, he's a very good pitcher. I faced him in the American League a little bit and obviously played together with him for a long time in Seattle.

"So you know, you're definitely not trying to do too much. He's tough. He's a tough pitcher. He's tough on left-handers. You're trying to do less, and a lot of times in this game, less is more. So you're really just trying to stroke ... get a decent pitch to him and stroke a line drive somewhere."

It was one of three situations where the Phillies' muscle made Dodgers pitchers pay for lack of control, and they are 1-0 in the NLCS.

T.R. Sullivan is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.