Rollins rocks Dodgers in the ninth
PHILADELPHIA — Jimmy Rollins curled up to protect himself in the pile and took some playful punches from his teammates.
One more win and the Fightin' Phils will have another World Series trip to celebrate.
Rollins lined a two-run double with two outs in the ninth inning off All-Star closer Jonathan Broxton and the Philadelphia Phillies rallied past the Los Angeles Dodgers 5-4 Monday night for a 3-1 lead in the NL championship series.
The defending champions can earn their second consecutive pennant with a victory at home in Game 5 on Wednesday night. Cole Hamels, last year's NLCS and World Series MVP, will take the mound for the Phillies. Clayton Kershaw or Vicente Padilla will start for Los Angeles.
"This is big," Rollins said. "The pressure's all on them."
Trailing 4-3, the Phillies started their rally with one out in the ninth when pinch-hitter Matt Stairs walked on four pitches against Broxton.
Broxton hit Carlos Ruiz with a pitch, but pinch-hitter Greg Dobbs looped a soft liner to third for the second out.
Rollins, just 3 for 18 in the series to that point, ripped a 99 mph fastball to right-center and the ball rolled to the wall. Andre Ethier's throw toward the infield was high and off line, and Ruiz slid home without a play.
Rollins pointed in the air as he rounded second and got mobbed by teammates at third base. Even Jamie Moyer, who just had surgery on his lower abdomen, limped out and joined the celebration.
"I'm all right. I had to curl up in the fetal position and throw some punches of my own," Rollins said before taking a cream pie in the face from a teammate.
It was the second thrilling ending to a playoff game Monday. Hours earlier, Jeff Mathis hit an RBI double with two outs in the 11th inning to give the Los Angeles Angels a 5-4 victory over the New York Yankees in Game 3 of the AL championship series.
It was the sixth time two postseason games have ended in walk-off fashion on the same day, according to STATS LLC. The previous time was Oct. 5, 2007, when Boston beat the Angels and Cleveland topped the Yankees in AL division series.
Brad Lidge got two outs in the ninth to earn the win. Ryan Howard hit a two-run homer that gave him eight straight postseason games with at least one RBI, tying Lou Gehrig's major league record set more than seven decades ago.
But J-Roll got the biggest hit for Philadelphia.
"He likes the moment," Phillies manager Charlie Manuel said. "He wants to be there, and he can control his adrenaline and he can handle the moment. The bigger the stage, the better he likes to play."
Matt Kemp had a tiebreaking, solo homer for Los Angeles, and Manny Ramirez made a shoestring catch that prevented the tying run from scoring in the sixth.
Before Rollins came through, Dodgers relievers hadn't allowed a hit in 3 1-3 innings.
"They're a very tough lineup to go through," manager Joe Torre said. "You try to be careful. He almost dug himself out."
Dodgers starter Randy Wolf pitched 5 1-3 effective innings against his former team while his "Wolf Pack" fan club sat in seats he left for them — and rooted against him.
George Sherrill struck out Howard with two runners on in the eighth and Broxton retired Jayson Werth on a fly ball to end the inning. At that point, Torre had made all the right moves one day after hearing criticism for starting Hiroki Kuroda in Game 3. Torre let Sherrill face Howard, even though he was 0 for 10 against Broxton.
But Broxton couldn't nail down the four-out save. Now, the Dodgers are one loss from elimination.
"He put some good wood on it and it went to the wall," Broxton said. "It was a good game, just let it get away in the ninth."
Trailing 4-2 in the sixth, the Phillies got within a run on Chase Utley's RBI single.