PHILADELPHIA — Brett Myers stood on first base, shaking his head and shrugging his shoulders. He couldn’t explain his hitting success, and no one ever expected it.
Myers did better at the plate than on the mound, going 3-for-3 with three RBI, and Shane Victorino drove in four runs as the Philadelphia Phillies overcame another homer by Manny Ramirez to beat the Los Angeles Dodgers 8-5 Friday for a 2-0 lead in the NL championship series.
“I’m not a very good hitter,” said Myers, who became the first pitcher to get three hits in an NLCS game. “I just get lucky occasionally. I’m baffled by it. I would’ve rather pitched better.”
A grieving Charlie Manuel was in the dugout with the Phillies, hours after the manager’s mother died. Ramirez, whom Manuel managed in Cleveland, was among the players and coaches who stopped to offer condolences. Manuel didn’t speak to reporters.
“I know Charlie told me he talked to his mom on a regular basis and her only concern was for him to go out and win ballgames,” Dodgers manager Joe Torre said.
The Phillies rallied around their skipper.
“We were pretty shocked to hear it,” closer Brad Lidge said. “We really wanted to win today for Charlie.”
Victorino found out after the game that his grandmother died Friday morning. He hopes to attend the funeral in Hawaii, but doesn’t want to miss any games.
Victorino made a clutch catch with two on to end the seventh, and Lidge hung on in the ninth for his second save of the series. He walked Ramirez and James Loney, then struck out Matt Kemp and Nomar Garciaparra to end it.
The series shifts to Los Angeles for Game 3 on Sunday night, with 45-year-old Jamie Moyer pitching for Philadelphia against Hiroki Kuroda.
Myers wasn’t sharp on the mound, allowing five runs and six hits in five innings. Good thing for the Phillies that he’s suddenly become a pesky batter after hitting .069 with one RBI in the regular season.
“He had four hits all year and three today. That’s tough to count on and defend against,” Torre said.
Myers was surprised, too. At one point, he stood in the dugout, covered his eyes with one hand and feigned a swing with the other, showing a teammate how he did it.
The Phillies, appearing in their first NLCS in 15 years, are two wins from the World Series. They’ve won just one championship (1980) in the franchise’s 126 years.
“We’re not comfortable until we’re finished with this whole thing,” Myers said. “We’re going to keep fighting.”
A title-starved crowd waved its “Fightin’ Phils” rally towels and chanted “Beat LA!”
Ramirez did his best to spoil the party.
After grinning when a pitch from Myers sailed behind his back in the first inning, he lined a three-run shot into the flower bed just beyond the left-field wall to pull the Dodgers to 8-5 in the fourth.
Ramirez has hit a record 27 homers in the postseason. His 71 RBI are second only to Bernie Williams’ 80.
“I’d want to have a guy like that on my team,” Ramirez said of Myers. “He’s going to go out there and battle.”
Myers left after tossing a scoreless fifth, and four relievers kept the Dodgers off the scoreboard the last four innings. Chad Durbin, J.C. Romero and Ryan Madson combined for nine outs.
Lidge finished for his fourth postseason save and his 45th in 45 chances this year.
Dodgers starter Chad Billingsley allowed eight runs — seven earned — and eight hits in 21/3 innings.
Myers had a go-ahead RBI single with two outs in a four-run second inning, and his two-run single chased Billingsley in the third. Myers was 4-for-58 in the regular season and is a lifetime .116 hitter.
“It’s crazy,” he said.
Before he rattled Billingsley, Myers unnerved some of the Dodgers’ hitters. He threw some high-and-tight fastballs in the first inning and the one really wild pitch that sailed behind Ramirez.
Myers knocked down Russell Martin with a fastball right before he struck out on a slow curve. That brought up Ramirez with two outs and nobody on.
Myers’ first pitch was in and the next one, a 94 mph fastball, was several feet behind the Ramirez. Never shy to tell a pitcher he doesn’t appreciate getting brushed back, Ramirez didn’t say a word and ended up striking out on a 3-2 slider.
As he walked to the dugout, Myers had some words with Dodgers first-base coach Mariano Duncan.
“He said, ‘You’re going to get somebody hurt out here,”’ Myers said. “The ball slipped out of my hand. I don’t want to hurt their best player.”
Notes: Hall of Fame pitcher Sandy Koufax sat one row in front of