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“It’s great. It’s an opportunity you dream of, you work all year long for,” said Victorino. “We have one step to go. We’re happy to be here. We’re happy to be NL champs and we have one more step to go.”Philadelphia made a dramatic comeback to win, 7 5, in Game 4 behind two run homers in the eighth inning from Victorino and Matt Stairs. Two nights later, Hamels (3 0) frustrated the Los Angeles bats, except for Manny Ramirez’s homer in the sixth, a post season record 28th of his career. The lefty, making his first ever playoff road start, allowed five hits, with three walks and had five strikeouts over seven innings. Hamels, who also was the Game 1 winner, was named the NLCS MVP. “We wanted it so much and we played so hard,” said Hamels. “We have the energy and the excitement to go all the way.” Ryan Howard, who came into the game hitting .185 in the 2008 postseason, had three hits, an RBI and scored once for the Phillies, who captured their sixth NL pennant. There hasn’t been a title in the four major sports (NFL, MLB, NHL, NBA) in the City of Brotherly Love since 1983 when the 76ers beat the Los Angeles Lakers for the championship.
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The Tampa Bay Rays or Boston Red Sox stand in the way of the Phillies accomplishing that goal. The surprising Rays hold a 3 1 lead in the AL Championship Series, with Game 5 set for Thursday night in Boston. The winner of that best of seven series will have home field advantage for the World Series, which starts next Wednesday.“This is for the city of Philadelphia, and you know we’ve got one more step,” said Phillies manager Charlie Manuel. “This is the third step. We’ve got one more big step and then we’re going to take a grand parade.” The trip to the World Series comes less than week after Manuel’s mother passed away. “I guarantee you my mom’s watching right now,” said Manuel. Dodgers manager Joe Torre yanked Chad Billingsley (1 2) with two outs in the third inning and the bases loaded after the righty gave up four hits, four walks and three runs. It also may have been the end of Ramirez’s time with the Dodgers. The 2004 World Series MVP, who was acquired at the trade deadline from Boston, is due to be a free agent this winter. “We played great, but they played better,” said Ramirez. “The better team always wins. They got the big hits. You make mistakes and you pay for it.” It was a much different result for the Dodgers and Torre in his first year as skipper of the team, when compared to their NLDS three game sweep of the Cubs. “This has been an up and down year,” said Torre. “I think they learned a lot. I think they learned to come together. But these kids didn’t know what inning it was, they didn’t know what score it was. They just kept fighting until someone told them it was over.” Rollins homered on cheap buccaneers jerseys the eighth pitch of the game, taking a 3 2 offering over the wall in right center field. It was much like the NLDS clinching victory over Milwaukee, a game in which Rollins led off with a homer off Jeff Suppan. “Any time you can get a home run early it sets the tone and Jimmy did that,” said Hamels. “I was able to locate my fastball and my change up worked effectively” The Dodgers put two men on base in the second, but Blake DeWitt’s double play grounder killed the rally, and the Phillies tacked on two more runs in the third. Rollins drew a one out walk and stole second before Chase Utley walked with two outs. Howard then lined a ball sharply into right field, beyond a diving Loney at first base for a 2 0 margin. Pat Burrell followed with an RBI single to right center field. Billingsley’s wild pitch and an intentional walk to Victorino loaded the bases, but Chan Ho Park then got Pedro Feliz to ground out with the bases fu