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Deficit doesn't bother them

Despite losing the first two games of the NLCS, the Dodgers say they felt relaxed heading into Game 3. Nearly every starter has a hit as L.A. gets back into the series.

October 13, 2008|Kevin Baxter | Times Staff Writer

Maybe Matt Kemp wasn't watching the same National League Championship Series as everyone else.

In the first two games in Philadelphia, his Dodgers had been beaten in every conceivable way -- outhit, outpitched, out-defended and out-managed. Yet Kemp said none of that mattered when he showed up at Dodger Stadium for Game 3 on Sunday.

"I think we had the momentum," he said. "I felt it in the clubhouse."

And then the Phillies felt it on the field, with the Dodgers batting around in a five-run first inning, then getting a leadoff home run from Rafael Furcal to start the second en route to a 7-2 victory that halved Philadelphia's lead in the best-of-seven series.

"We just came out swinging the bats," said Kemp, who contributed a pair of singles to the Dodgers' 10-hit attack. "We knew we had to get hot. We got some big hits in that first inning. We've just got to carry that over to these next two games."

The biggest hit in that first inning was Blake DeWitt's two-out, two-strike triple with the bases loaded.

"It's one of those at-bats where you have to come up with a good at-bat. Put the ball in play somewhere," said DeWitt, who is tied with Manny Ramirez for the team lead with five runs batted in in the LCS. "It's one of those at-bats [where] you can't strike out."

But if DeWitt felt pressure in that one at-bat, he agreed with Kemp that the team wasn't feeling tense despite entering the game down 2-0 in the series.

"I think everybody felt relaxed," he said. "We know that if we go out and play our game we're going to give ourselves a chance to win. Your adrenaline's pumping a little bit.

"It's fun playing in a game like this. We've just got to carry the confidence" into today's game.

Confidence and productivity. After the two games in Philadelphia, the Dodgers were hitting a collective .221; only two times in the last eight years has a team had a lower average in an NLCS.

But with the exception of Russell Martin -- who walked once and was hit by two pitches -- and pitcher Hiroki Kuroda, every starter had at least one hit Sunday.

"This was what we were looking for," said Furcal, who was one for nine with a costly error in Philadelphia but had two hits, scored twice and made three sparkling defensive plays Sunday. "Right now you have to go out on the field and play the game right. Everything you do is so important because it's a short series.

"We're trying to stay positive."

Yet despite all the impressive numbers he and his teammates put up Sunday, Furcal said there was only one statistic that matters now -- the final score.

"Right now we aren't playing for numbers," he said. "We're playing to win."

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kevin.baxter@latimes.com

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