LOS ANGELES (AP) - Philadelphia fans had been worried about the Phillies' sometimes-shaky bullpen holding leads. But the Phillies came up with the perfect remedy - the three-run home run.
Carlos Ruiz and Raul Ibanez both supplied three-run home runs as the Phillies took the opener of the best-of-seven National League Championship Series by beating the L.A. Dodgers 8-6.
Ruiz touched Dodger starter Clayton Kershaw for a three-run home run in a five-run fifth inning that also featured a two-run double by Ryan Howard that knocked out Kershaw. The 21-year-old lefty was charged with five runs on four hits in his four and two-thirds innings.
After the Dodgers rallied with three runs in the bottom of the fifth, including a two-run home run by Manny Ramirez, the Phils got some breathing room when Ibanez connected off Phillies reliever George Sherrill.
The win went to Phils starter Cole Hamels. Hamels lasted five and a-third innings, giving up four runs on eight hits. Hamels was followed by six relievers.
The Phils' final pitcher was closer Brad Lidge, who had blown 11 saves in the regular season. But Lidge earned his third save in the postseason. Lidge gave up a leadoff single to Matt Kemp, but got Casey Blake to ground into a double play. After a walk, Lidge got Ronnie Belliard to pop out to end the game.
Loney's leadoff home run in the bottom of the second inning gave the Dodgers an early 1-0 lead. He went three-for-four with a walk.
Game 2 is Friday night at Dodger Stadium - 37-year-old Pedro Martinez goes for the Phils against Vicente Padilla of the Dodgers.
(Copyright 2009 By The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)