Until March 27, we’ll be counting down the 50 greatest Phillies games of the last 50 years. This is 50 of 50.
And this is No. 31.
THE DATE: Oct. 9, 2008
THE GAME: Phillies vs. Los Angeles Dodgers, Citizens Bank Park, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
THE STAKES: Game 1, National League Championship Series
THE GREAT: The Phillies found themselves in the NLCS for the first time since 1993. After a quick playoff exit the season before, the Phillies showed they belonged by beating the Milwaukee Brewers in four games.
With rally-towels going, Cole Hamels settled the nerves of the 45,839 fans in a jam-packed Citizens Bank Park after getting Rafael Furcal to ground out to start the game. Then Andre Either hit a double down the left-field line and Manny Ramirez stepped to the plate.
Ramirez may have been on the last leg of his career but he still had the capability of putting fear into the opposing team. With one swing, he could change the course of the game. In true Manny fashion, he absolutely smashed a ball. Luckily, it was to the deepest part of the park – RBI double.
Hamels limited the damage to just one run but the Phils couldn’t seem to get anything going against Derek Lowe. The Dodgers added another run in the fourth inning to give Lowe a two-run lead to work with.
Just when it seemed it wasn’t going to be the Phils’ night, Shane Victorino reached second after a throwing error by Furcal. It was as if a light was flicked on. Almost instantly you could feel the momentum shift.
With the crowd suddenly rejuvenated, Chase Utley stepped to the plate. First pitch … two-run home run. Game tied.
Pat Burrell followed up on his two-homer game in the series clincher against the Brewers with a solo home run to give the Phils the lead for good.
Just as they had done all season, the Phils left the game in the hands of Ryan Madson and Brad Lidge.