Stairs' home run moves Phillies within a victory of World Series
LOS ANGELES -- The game was tied 5-5 in the eighth inning. A baserunner was on first. One of the game's hardest and most intimidating throwers,
Broxton unleashed a 94-mph heater on a 3-1 count, and the barrel-chested 40-year-old, anticipating a fastball, bludgeoned the ball high into the cool Southern California night. Dodger Stadium went silent. The only thing Stairs could hear as he rounded the bases was the howling of his teammates from the visitors' dugout. "We call him
No, it was not only the biggest home run of Stairs' career but also the biggest in recent Phillies' history. After a thrilling 7-5 win over the Dodgers in Game 4, Philadelphia is now one win from the World Series. Of the last 11 teams to go ahead 3-1 in the NLCS, only two -- the '96 Cardinals and the '03 Cubs -- went on to lose the series.
Until the fateful eighth inning, it all looked so promising for the Los Angeles. The home team was up.
Torre was also saving Lowe for a possible Game 7, but it was too early to take out the righthander for
Torre made another misstep when he yanked
Though it backfired, Torre's decision to go with his Broxton, his best pitcher in the bullpen, with two outs in the eighth inning of a tie game was the right move. For the first time this October, Broxton struggled. "He can throw 100 and has a nasty slider," says Howard. "He's about the last person you want to come off the bench and see. But Matt got the job done."
And so did the Phillies, now overwhelming favorites to win the series. In Game 5 baseball's best starting pitcher this October,