Phillies' sixth-inning homers sink Lowe, Dodgers in Game 1
PHILADELPHIA -- Not even submarines sink like a Derek Lowe sinkerball.It's more than a pitch. It's a subterranean robot. And for five innings Thursday night, that Derek Lowe sinkerball was doing exactly what it's designed to do to offenses like the Phillies' -- squishing defenseless blades of grass all over the infield at Citizens Bank Park. So as the bottom of the sixth arrived in Game 1 of the National League Championship Series, not even the Psychics Hotline could have predicted the turn of events that was about to lead the Phillies to an improbable 3-2 win over Lowe and the Dodgers.
One minute, the Phillies didn't look like a team that could get a ball airborne with a tennis racket. The next, two stunning home runs were floating through the electrified October night, those rally towels were swirling, and the look on Derek Lowe's face said it all.Loosely translated, you could describe that look this way: "This park is a joke." He'd just watched a game-tying, two-run, Chase Utley home run come down in the third row of the right-field lower deck. He'd just watched what turned out to be a game-winning homer by Pat Burrell return to earth in the second row of the left-field lower deck. And nobody had to get out a site map to explain to Derek Lowe -- or anyone in a Dodgers uniform -- that if they had been playing baseball in L.A. instead of Philadelphia, those mighty blows would not have been home runs on anybody's scorecard. But as that noted wise man, Manny Ramirez, observed sagely afterward: "No -- but we're not in L.A."
- Heading into the sixth, 11 of Lowe's 13 non-strikeout outs had been ground-ball outs -- and the only member of the Phillies' lineup who had made an out in the air was leadoff man Jimmy Rollins, who had made two of them (popup to first, fly ball to left).
- Also heading into the sixth, Lowe had given up only two home runs to the previous 286 hitters he'd faced -- a span that included 12 starts over the past eight weeks.
- And the two guys who were about to homer off him, Utley and Burrell, had faced him a combined 44 times in their respective careers -- and never hit any homers.
Jayson Stark is a senior writer for ESPN.com. His book, "The Stark Truth: The Most Overrated and Underrated Players in Baseball History," was published by Triumph Books and is available in bookstores. Click here to order a copy.
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NLCS GAME 1: PHILLIES 3, DODGERS 2
Chase Utley and Pat Burrell accounted for all three Phillies' runs with home runs and Cole Hamels pitched seven strong innings as the Phillies defeated the Dodgers, 3-2.
Story | NLCS page
• Amy Nelson: Billingsley passes the blame
• Jayson Stark: Phillies sink Lowe
• Amy Nelson: Lefty Hamels impresses
• Jeff Bradley: Philly fanatics are a factor
• Hamels pitches Phillies to Game 1 win
• Utley on beating the Dodgers in Game 1
• Baseball Tonight recaps the Phillies' win
• Joe Torre, Dodgers talk about loss
• Shulman, Phillips recap Game 1