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Phils denied sweep with Game 3 loss

Phils denied sweep with Game 3 loss

MILWAUKEE -- The Phillies' National League Division Series victory celebration was put on hold Saturday night at Miller Park when the Brewers held on for a 4-1 win that trimmed Philadelphia's lead in the best-of-five series to 2-1.

The Phils will get chance No. 2 after a quick turnaround, roughly 15 hours after Saturday's game, when Game 4 will be contested at 1:07 p.m. ET on Sunday.

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The series shifted to Miller Park on Saturday against Dave Bush, who grew up a Phillies fan in Berwyn, Pa. His new favorite team fought off the first of three match points, and needs one more to even the series and send it back to Philadelphia.
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"They were ready and determined not to let us win tonight," Jimmy Rollins said. "We expected them to come home and be revved up in front of their home crowd."

The Phillies need one win in the next two games to close out the series. History is still on their side, as heading into the 2008 postseason, none of the 16 previous NLDS teams down 0-2 won Games 3 and 4 to force a decisive Game 5. The Brewers are now the fourth to force a Game 4, joining the 1995 Rockies, 2004 Dodgers and '06 Padres. None of those teams forced a deciding game.

Milwaukee's Jeff Suppan and his 3.00 ERA in nine playoff outings will deal with Joe Blanton and his two innings of postseason experience. Blanton is pitching on eight days' rest. Game 5 would bring CC Sabathia -- on four days' rest -- against Cole Hamels if it's necessary.

"Do I feel like there's pressure on us?" Ryan Howard said. "No, we just need to win one game, that's it."

Manager Charlie Manuel and his team figured on a loud night in Miller Park, with fans excitedly taking in the city's first playoff game since the 1982 World Series.

Mimicking Citizens Bank Park decibel levels, the throng of 43,992 rally-towel waving fans pounded deafening roars with every first-inning strike thrown by starter and series-extender Bush. The Milwaukee righty needed 10 pitches to strike out Rollins and Jayson Werth and get Chase Utley on a comebacker.

Prospering from Bush's first-inning exit strategy, the Brewers scratched two runs off Jamie Moyer, who became the second-oldest pitcher to start a postseason game, at 45 years, 321 days. The oldest, Jack Quinn, was 46 years, 103 days, when he started for Philadelphia against the Cubs in the 1929 World Series.

Unable to establish his low strike, Moyer threw five straight balls, walking Mike Cameron on four straight and eventually issuing a free pass to Bill Hall. Patience paid off for the Brewers.

He retired Ryan Braun on a popup, but a wild pitch sent the runners to second and third during that at-bat. Prince Fielder lofted a sacrifice fly to right and J.J. Hardy singled in Hall, who had taken third on Fielder's out.

The 34 pitches were Moyer's highest first-inning total of the season, beating his previous twice-done total by seven.

"I wanted to be down in the zone and throw strikes," Moyer said. "I just couldn't get any consistency. I felt better [after the first inning] throwing to both sides of the plate and forcing contact. It was too late then."

"He threw a lot of pitches in the inning, and it looked a lot were close," Manuel said. "He didn't say anything about the umpire [Brian Runge] missing them or anything. He felt like they were close, but he didn't say a whole lot about it."

The Phillies sniffed Bush and four relievers for just six hits, with the heart-of-the-order trio of Utley, Howard and Pat Burrell going 3-for-11 with one RBI. The are 4-for-28 with eight whiffs (.143) in the first three games.

Despite scoring in just three innings, they're up two games to one.

"We've got to hit," Manuel said. "We've got to score runs. We're supposed to hit, and when we don't, I'm concerned. That's what the playoffs are about; you don't have time to go into slumps. You've got to be playing good. In order for us to go to the World Series, we've got to hit."

To go to the NLCS against the Dodgers, the Phillies have to hit, too.

Trailing by three runs in the ninth, the Phillies nearly spoiled the bratwurst party by loading the bases with no outs in the ninth inning against closer Salomon Torres.

That rally ended as quickly as it began, when Pedro Feliz grounding into a double play -- an interference call on Shane Victorino at second base erased a run from scoring -- and Carlos Ruiz grounded to Torres.

"I've seen times probably where they didn't call that, but the umpire is standing right there on it," Manuel said of the interference call. "Vic went to take him out, and evidently the guy thought that he went too far out of the baseline, and he was too aggressive with him or something. I mean, that's the only two things I can think about what happened.

"The umpire said that interference was called, the runners could not advance a base," Phillies manager Charlie Manuel said. "I said, well, 'the guy on third base and the guy running from second, they've got to advance.' Like it's a force play. And he said that's still not ‑‑ the rule.', I said, 'Do you know the rule?' He said, "Yes, we know the rule." He said, "I'm telling you, that's the rule." At the end [Phils coach] Jimy Williams was wanting me to go out and protest. I said, 'Do you know the rule, is it right?' He said, 'I don't know.' "So I figured I'd better stay where I was at."

"I'm not happy about it," Feliz said of the double-play grounder. "I was trying to hit it hard somewhere. We'll have to win tomorrow. Today is over."

As players spoke in hushed tones, no one spoke of the impetus to win Sunday game. Similar to clinching the division, the Phillies would rather line up Hamels for the NLCS and not give Sabathia a chance at revenge.

"Last year was over at this point," Burrell said, referring to being swept by the Rockies. "We won two games without getting a whole lot of production from the middle. I think that's a good thing. That means it's about to turn around. We're up 2-1 and we have a chance to take care of this thing tomorrow. It's important for everybody in here to go home, get some rest and come back tomorrow. We're in a good situation. We just have to come out and play hard."

Ken Mandel is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

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