LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - The Philadelphia Phillies advanced to their first World Series in 15 years after wrapping up the National League Championship Series with a 5-1 Game Five win over the Los Angeles Dodgers on Wednesday.
Philadelphia, who last won the World Series in 1980, await the winner of the American League Championship Series, where the Tampa Bay Rays hold a 3-1 advantage over the Boston Red Sox.
“Your goal is always to go out and leave your mark on the game,” Phillies slugger Ryan Howard told reporters amidst a champagne-soaked celebration after the 4-1 series win. “This is special, now we have to go out and try to win the next series.”
Left-handed starting pitcher Cole Hamels was named the NLCS MVP after he recorded his third win of the playoffs.
Shortstop Jimmy Rollins led off the game with a solo home run on a 3-2 pitch from Los Angeles starter Chad Billingsley, who was chased in the third innings when he gave up two more runs.
Billingsley issued four walks and allowed four hits and three runs in 2 2/3 innings.
“Sometimes you swing and you miss those,” said Rollins, of the belt-high pitch he drove out of right-center field.
“Our goal is to win the World Series (though), not to win the National League Series. We look at it like we’ve qualified, now we have a chance.”
The Phillies scored two more runs in the fifth on three Dodger errors all committed by shortstop Rafael Furcal.
Howard led Philadelphia, going 3-for-4 with an RBI and a run scored while Rollins scored twice.
Manny Ramirez produced Los Angeles’ only run with an opposite field solo homer in the sixth inning.
“I basically told (my team) I was proud to be their manager,” said Dodgers manager Joe Torre. “They just kept fighting until someone told them it was over.”
Ramirez, who was acquired in a trade with the Red Sox on July 31, will be a free agent at the end of the season and sure to receive lucrative offers after leading Los Angeles into the playoffs.
He batted .520 with four home runs and 10 RBIs in eight post-season games.
“(The Dodgers) are going to do what’s best for them,” Ramirez said after the loss. “(But) the fans here have received me with open arms.”
Editing by Greg Stutchbury