Phils grab Game 1

100908_chasehomer_400
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.

Continue Reading