10/13/08 12:28 AM ET
Dodgers Short Hops: Game 3
Fast start, Kuroda's solid outing get Los Angeles a win
By Kevin Horan / MLB.com
The Dodgers rode an early offensive eruption -- including five first-inning runs -- and an effective start by pitcher Hiroki Kuroda to a 7-2 victory.
Both benches cleared in the middle of the third inning, a result of Kuroda throwing behind the head of Phillies center fielder Shane Victorino. When Victorino grounded out to end the inning, he and Kuroda engaged in a brief back-and-forth, and both benches and bullpens emptied.
5 -- The Dodgers had been in need of some early offense in the National League Championship Series, having struggled to get anything going in the early innings of Games 1 and 2. They solved that quickly Sunday night, jumping all over Phillies starter Jamie Moyer with five runs in the first inning, keyed by a two-out, bases-loaded triple by second baseman Blake DeWitt. Game balls
The Dodgers' second baseman came to the plate in a pivotal first-inning spot. The Dodgers had the bases loaded with two outs, having already put up two runs in the inning. It was Los Angeles' chance to break the game wide open, and DeWitt did exactly that, driving in three runs with a triple. It was the 23-year-old rookie's first hit of the postseason.
The Dodgers came into Sunday's game badly in need of a solid performance from their starting pitcher, after Chad Billingsley was chased from Game 2 having allowed seven earned runs in 2 1/3 innings. Kuroda did his part in Game 3, delivering six solid innings in which he allowed two runs on five hits.
Furcal set the tone for a big first inning Sunday night with a leadoff single that led to the Dodgers' first run. He also led off the second inning with a home run.
Sense of October
Adrenaline was running especially high among members of both teams when the benches and bullpens cleared following Kuroda's near miss of Victorino.
4 AB, 2 H, 2 R, 1 BB, 1 RBI
Comment: Furcal provided the key leadoff hit that started the Dodgers' first-inning rally. He also led off the second with a home run.
6 IP, 5 H, 2 R, 3 Ks, 1 BB
Comment: Kuroda was able to provide the quality start that the Dodgers needed and made sure that Los Angeles' early lead did not go to waste.
"You win a game and you have that good feeling about yourself and maybe, hopefully, we've planted a seed of doubt." -- Dodgers manager Joe Torre, on the momentum gained by the Dodgers after winning Game 3
Home-field advantage has proven to be crucial in games between Philly and Los Angeles this season. Including regular-season contests, these two teams have met 11 times, with the home team winning every time. On Monday, the Dodgers will be looking to continue to take advantage of playing in front of their Dodger Stadium crowd in Game 4.
Kevin Horan is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.