10/05/08 1:29 AM ET
Dodgers Short Hops: Game 3
Kuroda, top of the order help lead LA's sweep in NLDS
By Nick Zaccardi / MLB.com
Behind an excellent performance from Hiroki Kuroda, the Dodgers completed their sweep of Chicago to advance to the National League Championship Series.
Dodgers third base coach Larry Bowa, 62, reacted with the vigor of a man half his age when Manny Ramirez slid safely into home in the first inning. Ramirez's helmet had fallen off during his 270-foot dash on James Loney's double.
7 -- The top three hitters reached base seven times, scoring all three of Los Angeles' runs. Game balls
Kuroda has Chicago's number -- there's no denying it now. He stifled the league's top offense for the third straight time in his rookie season. Kuroda did a great job of keeping the ball down. His first 11 outs were on ground balls. He was chased after putting two on with one out in the seventh, but Cory Wade bailed him out.
The first baseman's first-inning double was all Los Angeles needed to back Kuroda. He hit a line shot off Rich Harden, plating two runs. Loney also had the winning hit in Game 1, a grand slam.
He replaced Kuroda with two on and one out in the seventh and worked out of the jam by inducing Alfonso Soriano and Mike Fontenot into flyouts. Though Wade gave up a run in the eighth, he kept the Cubs from swinging the momentum.
Sense of October
An A-list of Hollywood and baseball celebrities in the house, including Billy Crystal, Jon Lovitz, Rob Reiner, Dennis Haysbert, Vince Vaughn (in a Cubs hat), Tommy Lasorda and Dave Stewart.
4 AB, 2 2B, 1 RBI, 1 R
Comment: Martin got the offense rolling with a one-out double in the first and scored the first run later in the inning. He brought home the third run with a two-bagger in the fifth. Martin recorded extra-base hits in each game of the series.
6 1/3 IP, 0 R, 6 H, 2 BBs, 4 Ks
Comment: An efficient line for the right-hander. He put two men on in the first, third and fourth but worked out the jam each time. The fifth and sixth were 1-2-3 innings.
"From the time he's been here, he's been the most valuable player for this team and probably the biggest reason we're in the postseason right now." -- Casey Blake on Ramirez
The Dodgers await the winner of the Phillies-Brewers series. The Phillies are up, 2-1, and Game 4 is Sunday in Milwaukee.
Nick Zaccardi is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.