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October 12, 2009

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Dodgers sweep Cards away

THE Los Angeles Dodgers cruised past the St Louis Cardinals 5-1 to sweep their National League division series in three games on Saturday.
Right-hander Vicente Padilla held the light-hitting Cardinals to four hits and no runs over seven innings and Manny Ramirez drove in two runs with three hits as the Dodgers advanced to the NL championship against the winner of the Philadelphia Phillies-Colorado Rockies series. The Phillies and Rockies are tied 1-1 in their best-of-five playoff with Saturday's scheduled Game 3 called off due to snow in Denver.
In St Louis, Ramirez staked Los Angeles to a 1-0 lead with a first-inning double to deep center, then drove in the Dodgers' final run with a single in the seventh.
"I was just trying to be aggressive," Ramirez told reporters. "With the key hit that I got (the double), I think that set the tone."
Andre Ethier added two more runs with a third-inning homer. The right-fielder also had a double and triple and scored twice as he continued his strong hitting in the playoffs.
"From the get-go, they beat us to the punch all night," St Louis manager Tony La Russa said.
Jobless until Los Angeles acquired him in August, Padilla retired 17 of 18 batters at one point. He struck out four and walked one as his mother, who traveled to the game from Nicaragua, looked on.
The West Division champions Dodgers wrapped Cardinals starter Joel Pineiro, a 15-game winner in regular season, for seven hits and four runs in four innings.
The win marked the second successive season the Dodgers have swept their opening playoff season. Last year they beat the Chicago Cubs in three games.
They start their best-of-seven NL championship series on Thursday.
Philadelphia and Colorado will resume their series this morning (Shanghai time). Game 4 of the series will be played tomorrow, also in Denver. The Coors Field venue was blanketed by a snowstorm that began on Friday night.


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