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Phillies clinch title with power

October 06, 2008|From the Associated Press

MILWAUKEE -- Jimmy Rollins led off the game with a home run, Pat Burrell connected twice and Jayson Werth hit a solo shot Sunday to lead the Philadelphia Phillies to a 6-2 victory over the Milwaukee Brewers that clinched their first trip to the National League Championship Series since 1993.

After winning a best-of-five playoff series in four games, the Phillies will face the Dodgers. Game 1 is Thursday in Philadelphia.

"I like our chances," Manager Charlie Manuel said. "I think we can beat anyone in the National League, really."

Overshadowed by the home run barrage was a gem by midseason addition Joe Blanton, who held the Brewers to one run after an eight-day layoff. Burrell backed him with a three-run shot and a solo drive, breaking out of a playoff slump.

"I couldn't be more thrilled. You know, I don't think it's actually sunk in all that much yet," said Burrell, who has been with the Phillies since they drafted him in 1998.

Burrell, Chase Utley and Ryan Howard were a fearsome trio in the regular season for the Phillies. Howard led the league in home runs with 48 and runs batted in with 146, and Utley and Burrell each hit 33 home runs.

But they were four for 28 in the first three games of the series with the Brewers, with Burrell going hitless.

On Sunday, Rollins led off with a bang, turning on a 3-and-2 pitch from Jeff Suppan and depositing it into the first row of seats in right field.

Burrell lofted Suppan's 2-and-2 pitch in the third inning so deep into the left-field stands that Ryan Braun barely bothered to chase it. Werth, the next batter, followed with a home run to put the Phillies ahead 5-0.

Burrell homered in the eighth inning against Guillermo Mota.

Blanton, a right-hander acquired in July from Oakland, hadn't pitched since Sept. 26 and was making only the second postseason appearance of his career. But he was in a groove from the first pitch.

"From the first batter, it really set the tone. It allowed me to get comfortable," Blanton said.

After a first-inning single by Braun, Blanton retired the next 10 hitters, with only four balls leaving the infield. He tired in the seventh inning, giving up a leadoff home run to Prince Fielder, who had been 0 for 12 in his first postseason.

"All their pitchers threw the ball well the whole series," Braun said.

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Milwaukee vs. Philadelphia

Phillies win NL division series, 3-1.

Game 1: at Philadelphia 3, Milwaukee 1

Game 2: at Philadelphia 5, Milwaukee 2

Game 3: at Milwaukee 4, Philadelphia 1

Game 4: Philadelphia 6, at Milwaukee 2

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