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Phillies take pennant from Dodgers

Jayson Werth hit two home runs as reigning World Series champions Philadelphia beat the Los Angeles Dodgers 10-4 to return to Major League Baseball’s title showdown.

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The Phillies won their second straight National League pennant, besting the Dodgers in the best-of-seven NL Championship Series four games to one.

The Phillies became the first team to reach consecutive World Series since the New York Yankees in 2000-01.

“Big games call for big times,” Werth said. “Hopefully, we can keep it going. We’ve got four more games to win.”

Shane Victorino and Pedro Feliz also homered for the Phillies, and pitcher Brad Lidge closed out the victory that sends the Phillies to the Fall Classic beginning next Wednesday in either New York or Los Angeles.

The Yankees lead the Los Angeles Angels 3-1 in the American League Championship Series, which resumes on Thursday in California.

Philadelphia survived another shaky start from pitcher Cole Hammels, who hasn’t shown the form that saw him earn Most Valuable Player honors in last season’s NLCS and World Series.

Five pitchers hurled 4 2/3 strong innings in relief of an ineffective Hamels, with Chad Durbin earning the win by retiring all four batters he faced.

That included Dodgers slugger Manny Ramirez, who represented the tying run when he came to the plate in the fifth inning.

But Ramirez and the rest of the Dodgers, who led the National League with 95 regular-season victories and swept St. Louis in the first round of the playoffs, now head home.

Andre Ethier, James Loney and pinch-hitter Orlando Hudson hit solo home rns for Los Angeles, who also lost to Philadelphia in five games in last year’s NLCS.

The two teams combined to tie the record of seven homers in a postseason game, marking the fifth time the total was reached.

Los Angeles closed to 9-4 in the eighth inning, but Philadelphia’s Ryan Madson escaped a bases-loaded jam.

Ryan Howard was named MVP of the series. He hit .333 with two homers, one double, one triple and eight RBIs in the series. He had at least one RBI in eight straight playoff games, tying the major league record first set by Lou Gehrig more than seven decades ago and also matched this week by the Yankees’ Alex Rodriguez.

Howard’s streak ended Wednesday, when he failed to drive in a run in the clinching victory.

Howard’s fellow Phillies slugger Chase Utley tied a playoff record by reaching base in 25 straight playoff games.

Utley matched the record – set by Baltimore’s Boog Powell from 1966-71 – when he was walked by Dodgers starter Vicente Padilla in the first inning.

The Phillies, who beat Tampa Bay in last year’s World Series, now vie to become the first repeat champions from the National League since the Cincinnati Reds in 1975-76.

The Yankees were the last team to win back-to-back titles when they earned three in a row from 1998-2000.

“It’s not on our minds,” Werth said. “We’re taking it one pitch, one game at a time and do what we can to win games. So far, it has been working.”

Lidge, who had a lackluster season, worked a scoreless ninth inning and has a 0.00 ERA in the playoffs.

“I always believed it was going to turn around,” Lidge said. “One of the biggest things was I was starting to feel really healthy at the end of the season.”

Hamels allowed three runs and five hits in 4 1/3 innings, but still got a standing ovation from the Phillies faithful.

Padilla, formerly of Philadelphia, gave up six runs and lasted just three-plus innings for the Dodgers.

Philadelphia, who rallied to win game four on Monday thanks to Jimmy Rollins’s two-run double with two outs in the ninth, got the ball rolling with two outs in the first.

Utley walked, and Padilla then walked Howard. Then Padilla threw three straight balls to Werth.

After taking two strikes, Werth lined the ball into the seats in right center field for a 3-1 lead.

Werth’s solo shot off reliever Hong-Chih Kuo in the seventh gave him five homers this postseason and made it 9-3.

Ethier had put the Dodgers up 1-0 in the first inning, belting a fastball into the seats in right-center. Loney’s homer in the second cut the deficit to 3-2.

Feliz led off the bottom of the second with an homer to right to make it 4-2. Raul Ibanez doubled in a run in the fourth to chase Padilla.

George Sherrill relieved Ramon Troncoso with two outs and the bases loaded and hit Victorino on a 3-2 pitch to force in another run in the fourth.

Hudson, pinch-hitting for Sherrill, homered to get the Dodgers to 6-3 in the fifth.

But in the sixth Victorino hit a two-run homer to put Philadelphia up 8-3.

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