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Dodgers’ bullpen collapses

Associated Press

LOS ANGELES ” The Los Angeles Dodgers’ bullpen, so dominant at slamming the door in the regular season, let the Philadelphia Phillies bust it open Monday night.

Cory Wade and Jonathan Broxton each gave up a two-run homer in the eighth inning and the Phillies won 7-5 to take a 3-1 in the best-of-seven NL championship series.

Wade and Broxton combined for three scoreless innings in a 7-2 victory Sunday night and the Dodgers’ bullpen was a team strength in the regular season, when it ranked second in the NL with a 3.33 ERA that trailed only the 3.19 of the Phillies’ relievers.

But the six pitchers who followed starter Derek Lowe couldn’t hold down the Phillies.

Los Angeles manager Joe Torre made the ill-fated decision to give the ball to Wade ahead of closer Broxton in the eighth, when Shane Victorino and pinch-hitter Matt Stairs each hit two-run drives to put Philadelphia ahead 7-5.

Wade threw just six pitches in two-thirds of an inning, including one to Victorino that tied it at 5.

Broxton came in, almost always a good sign for the Dodgers. Instead, the right-hander made things even worse. Stairs sent a 3-1 pitch into the right-field pavilion, giving Philly the lead.

Broxton appeared in all three games of the division series against the Chicago Cubs, working 3 1-3 scoreless innings. He struck out Alfonso Soriano to get the save in Game 3 that closed out the series.

But he couldn’t work himself out of a jam this time.

There was trouble before then, too.

Chan Ho Park’s wild pitch with two outs in the sixth allowed Ryan Howard to score, tying it at 3. Park entered with a scoreless inning in the series.

Clayton Kershaw took over from Lowe in the sixth, giving up one run and one hit in one-third of an inning. Park recorded one out and Joe Beimel got pinch-hitter So Taguchi to pop out to end the inning.

Hong-Chih Kuo struck out two in the seventh, but he also gave up one run and one hit, unlike the scoreless ninth he pitched in Game 1 against the Phillies.

Then Wade and Broxton struggled, letting the game get away and giving the Phillies the first road victory in 12 meetings this season between the teams.