Friday, December 19, 2014

Phils grab Game 1

Phils win Game 1 of the NLCS.

Phils grab Game 1

Chase Utley is greeted by Shane Victorino after his two-run homer in the sixth inning of Game 1 of the NLCS. (David Maialetti / Staff Photographer)
Chase Utley is greeted by Shane Victorino after his two-run homer in the sixth inning of Game 1 of the NLCS. (David Maialetti / Staff Photographer)

People grab games at this time of year and make them theirs. They take them, literally. It is a sport that is decided by moments -- by blinks, really. Players either grab them or they don't.

Chase Utley grabbed his moment Thursday night.

Pat Burrell grabbed his moment, too.

The Dodgers' Derek Lowe had been burying the Phillies, pounding them with his sinker, inducing ground ball after ground ball after ground ball -- ad nausem, advantage Dodgers. The night had the look and the smell of a Dodgers victory at Citizens Bank Park in Game 1 of the National League Championship Series. It had the feel of a night that could grab the momentum for the Dodgers and put the Phillies immediately on their heels.

It had that feel.

Then, Utley. Then Burrell. And the Phils ended up taking Game 1 of the series, 3-2.

It happened so quickly in the sixth inning. After Shane Victorino reached first base on an error, Utley turned on a pitch and deposited into the rightfield stands. The ballpark went berserk. Then, one batter later, Burrell hit an absolute rocket into the leftfield seats. Dodgers leftfielder Manny Ramirez barely turned his body, just a quick peek over his shoulder and nothing more, as the tracer soared over him.

That was it. Cole Hamels pitched seven innings of six-hit baseball. Ryan Madson pitched a scoreless eighth. Brad Lidge locked down the ninth. And the Phils got their gotta-have-it start to the series.

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Rich Hofmann Daily News Sports Columnist
About this blog
Rich Hofmann arrived at the Daily News in 1980 for a job whose status was officially designated as "full-time, temporary." A senior at Penn at the time, he was hired to fill in on the copy desk during a staff illness. The notion of him covering the Eagles or being a columnist did not exist in anyone's imagination. It was supposed to be six weeks and out, but he never left. It is only one of the reasons why so many people have concerns about him as a potential house guest. Rich has blogged the postseasons of the Flyers and Eagles. E-mail Rich at hofmanr@phillynews.com Reach Rich at hofmanr@phillynews.com.

Rich Hofmann Daily News Sports Columnist
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