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Phils take 2-0 NLCS lead over Dodgers

Phils take 2-0 NLCS lead over LA

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PHILADELPHIA -- Buoyed by both the arm and the bat of right-hander Brett Myers, who pitched five effective innings and knocked out three hits, the Phillies took their first 2-0 lead in an NLCS with an 8-5 victory over the Dodgers at Citizens Bank Park on Friday.

In the clubhouse after the big win, however, it was two losses that weighed on the minds of the team as the coaches and players mourned the passing of June Manuel, mother to manager Charlie Manuel, and Irene Victorino, grandmother to center fielder Shane Victorino. The two women, who passed away early Friday, were remembered by the team in a celebratory, but somber clubhouse. Irene Victorino was 82; June Manuel 87.

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"Maybe she helped me make that catch," Victorino said of his snagging of Casey Blake's drive to end the seventh, which prompted an exuberant on-field high-five from Jayson Werth. "It's definitely an emotional time. You're guaranteed one thing in life, and that's death. She's in a better place."

Victorino heard of his grandmother's passing from his father Mike, who is in Philadelphia. Mike kept the news from Shane until after the game, not wanting to distract from his son helping the Phillies to a 2-0 lead in the best-of-seven series.

Manuel received the news of his mother's passing during a morning meeting with coaches, and opted to remain with the team for Game 2. She had reportedly suffered a heart attack on Tuesday and was rushed to a hospital in Roanoke, Va., near her home of Buena Vista.

"At the end of the day, she'd want me to stay with this team, help them win," Victorino said, who added that he spoke to Irene on Thursday night. "I'm sure Charlie's mom is the same way."

Manuel didn't speak to reporters after the game, and may return home for Saturday's off-day.

Word quickly spread through the clubhouse, and the players did the only thing they could -- win. Myers told his manager before the game that they would win this "for his mom." In the third inning, he told Manuel that he loved him.

Manuel's response?

2-0 advantage big in NLCS
The Phillies became the 19th team in history to win the first two games of the NLCS. Of the clubs that have jumped out to a 2-0 lead, 16 of the 18 teams have ended up winning the series.
YearTeamOpponentFinal
2007RockiesD-backs 4-0
2004CardinalsAstros 4-3
2002GiantsCardinals 4-1
2000MetsCardinals 4-1
1999BravesMets 4-2
1998PadresBraves 4-2
1995BravesReds 4-0
1992BravesPirates 4-3
1985DodgersCardinals 2-3 (loss)
1984CubsPadres2-3 (loss)
1982CardinalsBraves 3-0
1979PiratesReds 3-0
1978DodgersPhillies 3-1
1976RedsPhillies 3-0
1975RedsPirates 3-0
1974DodgersPirates 3-1
1970RedsPirates 3-0
1969MetsBraves 3-0

"Let's go, pitch, kid," Myers said.

Myers lasted five innings, but did more damage at the plate, as the Phillies pelted Chad Billingsley and closed to within two games of their sixth World Series appearance. The right-hander collected three hits, the eighth time that's happened in postseason history and the first since Dontrelle Willis in the 2003 NL Division Series against the Giants.

Four-run outburts in the second and third innings mounted an 8-2 lead, with Myers and Victorino combining to drive in seven of those runs. Running the bases took its toll on Myers, who needed 102 pitches to escape five innings. A three-run homer by Manny Ramirez in the fourth pulled Los Angeles within three runs, where it remained.

When a Ramirez shot, complete with a chest-pounding, finger-wagging show for the home crowd -- and jawing between he and Myers -- becomes an insignificant detail, the Phillies offense has come to life.

Philadelphia, which scored nine runs in its previous two postseason games on home runs, plated eight Friday without a ball leaving the yard. With Myers in the center as when he unraveled Milwaukee's CC Sabathia in Game 2 of the NL Division Series. After Carlos Ruiz laced a two-out double to score Greg Dobbs and tie the game at 1, Myers singled home Ruiz.

The Phillies became the 19th team in history to win the first two games of the NLCS. Of the clubs that have jumped out to a 2-0 lead, 16 of the 18 teams have ended up winning the series. Since 1985, only the 1985 Cardinals, the 1985 Royals and the 2004 Red Sox have erased 0-2 deficits in a seven-game LCS.

"We've got a long way to go still," Werth said. "We're in great shape. We need to continue to grind it out and continue to win games and do things that put us in this position."

The Phillies are that close, and the players grieved for their family members. For two members of the organization, they'll remember the women who helped shape them.

"You can't replace a life," J.C. Romero said. "It doesn't matter how strong you are, or how professional you are. The loss of a grandmother or a mother is a very deep pain. All we can do is support him. I will keep them in my prayers. I hope they're resting in peace."

"I guess this is Black Friday, after all," added Myers. "We're here for anybody who goes through a tragic time. If they need to cry, there's plenty of shoulders. We're a family here. When someone in their family passes away, we feel like we've lost somebody, too."

Dobbs hopes this can help with the healing, at least a little.

"They in turn would want you to not worry about them and focus on the game," he said. "That's the hard thing to do as a teammate because we care about each other so much. But this is the right thing to do in that situation. It's what we wanted to do. If someone close to you lost someone special, you feel like you lost someone special."

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

{"content":["league_championship_series" ] }
{"content":["league_championship_series" ] }
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