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October 10, 2009

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Dodgers capitalize on Holliday error

MATT Holliday dropped a catch that would have won the game for St Louis, allowing the Los Angeles Dodgers to claw back for a 3-2 win over the Cardinals on Thursday, taking a 2-0 lead in their National League playoff series.

With two outs in the bottom of the ninth, Holliday charged in to catch a sinking line drive from James Loney, but misjudged it, spilling the catch and allowing Loney to reach second base.

Ronnie Belliard and pinch-hitter Mark Loretta then came through with RBI singles off St Louis' All-Star closer Ryan Franklin, giving the Dodgers a victory that moves them within one win of clinching the best-of-five series. They can close it out in Game 3 in St Louis.

"That's about as tough a loss as you can have," Cardinals manager Tony La Russa said.

"Incredible," was the view of Dodgers manager Joe Torre, whose team will go to St Louis to resume the series.

The Cardinals got a second-inning homer from Holliday and a stellar performance by starter Adam Wainwright, who left with a 2-1 lead after eight innings. Still, St Louis went home empty-handed and winless after two games when it had used Cy Young Award contenders on the mound: Chris Carpenter and Wainwright.

Belliard's single in the ninth scored pinch-runner Juan Pierre and tied the score. A passed ball moved runners up to second and third, and Franklin walked Russell Martin to load the bases.

Loretta, who was 0 for 15 in his career against Franklin, hit a soft single that drove in Casey Blake.

In Philadelphia, Yorvit Torrealba hit a two-run homer to help Colorado edge Philadelphia 5-4 and square their NL series at 1-1.

Colorado's Huston Street pitched out of trouble in the ninth to save it. He retired Shane Victorino on a soft liner toward second base to leave the potential tying run at second.

Cole Hamels, the World Series MVP last year, looked nothing like the dominant pitcher during Philadelphia's championship run last October. He allowed four runs in five innings. He didn't stick around after departing, rushing off to be with his wife, Heidi, who was in labor with the couple's first child.

The best-of-five series shifts to Denver for Game 3.

In Anaheim, California, John Lackey held Boston scoreless into the eighth inning, steering Los Angeles to a 5-0 victory in the opener of their American League playoff series.

The game remained scoreless into the fifth when Angels slugger Torii Hunter hit a three-run homer to center field.

The win was a boost for Los Angeles against its longtime playoff nemesis. The Red Sox ended three of the Angels' past five seasons in the division series, winning nine of 10 games.

Boston pitcher Josh Beckett faces Jered Weaver in Game 2.

The AL West champions Angels snapped a six-game home playoff losing streak thanks to Lackey, who posted his first postseason victory since 2002.


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