Dodgers Short Hops: Game 3
Manny comes alive to back Padilla's clutch effort
Fielding the Dodgers' 5-1 win over the Cardinals in Game 3 of the National League Division Series on a short hop ...
In < 25 words ...
The Dodgers jumped on the Cardinals right from the get-go en route to the sweep. Manny Ramirez led the way with two RBIs.
After Yadier Molina doubled in the seventh inning to wake up the Busch Stadium crowd, shortstop Rafael Furcal fielded a ground ball from Mark DeRosa and threw Molina out at third. That was a big blunder by Molina and showed how the Dodgers had taken the Cardinals out of their game. Big number
5 -- All five of the Dodgers' runs came with two outs. In the postseason it's all about being able to get the big outs when they matter most, and the Cardinals weren't able to do it. Game balls
After two unmemorable games in Los Angeles, Ramirez was a difference-maker in Game 3. He drove in the game's first RBI with a first-inning double. He finished 3-for-5 with two RBIs.
Padilla delivered the best start of the series from either team. He went seven innings, gave up only four hits and -- most important -- zero runs. It's been an interesting season for Padilla, but he came through and delivered a huge win for the Dodgers.
He came through with another huge two-run homer for the Dodgers -- this one coming in the third inning. The Dodgers never looked back after Ethier's shot made it 3-0. He added a triple in the seventh and then scored the game's fifth run.
Sense of October
As soon as Ethier's two-run homer cleared the fence to give the Dodgers a 3-0 lead, the life went out of Busch Stadium -- as well as the Cardinals. The players began to press, argue calls and unravel under the pressure of an elimination game. Considering how Game 2 ended, you just got the feeling the Cardinals weren't going to come back from a three-run deficit.
5 AB, 2 H, 1 RBI, 1 R
Comment: Ramirez and Ethier will get most of the limelight, but the Dodgers' offense is on another level when Furcal's hitting. Furcal was effective in the batter's box in all three games; it's not a coincidence that Los Angeles won in a sweep.
7 IP, 0 R, 4 H, 1 BB, 4 K
Comment: Not enough can be said about the start Padilla gave the Dodgers. He kept the Cardinals hitters off balance all day with his slow curve and mid-90s fastball. A lot was made about the Cardinals' pitching edge at the beginning of the series, but the matchup certainly played out differently.
"You're not going to hold Manny down for long." -- Ethier
The Dodgers get a nice break before the NL Championship Series begins with Game 1 on Thursday at Dodger Stadium. The Dodgers will play the winner of the Phillies-Rockies NLDS.
David Ely is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.