Los Angeles Dodgers
For the first time in 20 years, the Dodgers won a playoff series. The notable victory came at the expense of the Chicago Cubs, whose World Series championship drought extended to 100 years.
It was a series that pitted the team with the worst record in the playoffs (Dodgers, 84-78) against the team with best record in the National League (Cubs, 97-64). Yet, it was the Dodgers who looked like the superior squad, sweeping the Cubs, three games to none in the best-of-five divisional series.
The series turned on a James Loney grand slam in Game 1 of the series at Wrigley Field. With the Cubs leading 2-0, Loney’s fifth-inning blast silenced the crowd – and Chicago’s offense – as the Dodgers never trailed at any point of any game the rest of the way. Starting pitchers Chad Billingsley, Derek Lowe and Hiroki Kuroda were outstanding for the Blue Crew, giving up a combined three runs in 19 innings.
The Dodgers will face the Philadelphia Phillies in the best-of-seven National League Championship Series, which starts Oct. 9 in Philadelphia.
Fresh off its loss to Oregon State and an eviction from the top spot in the polls, No. 9 USC returned to Los Angeles looking for victory at the expense of No. 23 Oregon. Despite being considered the better of the two Beaver State schools, Oregon (4-2, 2-1) could not repeat what Oregon State did last week, as Southern California (3-1, 1-1) handily disposed of the Ducks, 44-10, at the Coliseum on Saturday.
Mark Sanchez led the Trojan resurgence, throwing for 332 yards and three touchdowns on 19-of-28 passing. Southern California had 598 yards of total offense in the onslaught. Southern Cal’s offense limited Oregon to just 60 yards rushing and 239 overall. The Ducks averaged 308 rushing yards coming into the Coliseum. After leading 10-3 midway through the second quarter, Oregon would never score again against the Trojan defense.
Kevin Craft discovered a passing lane, Kahlil Bell found a few creases in the defense and UCLA located the victory column as the Bruins defeated Washington State, 28-3, at the Rose Bowl on Saturday. The victory was UCLA’s first win since its season opening upset of Tennessee more than five weeks ago and halted the Bruin’s ensuing three-game losing streak.
Craft threw for 225 yards and two touchdowns on 23-for-36 passing, while Bell ran for two touchdowns and 43 yards on 21 carries. Defensively, UCLA limited Cougar quarterback Marshall Lobbestael to 151 passing yards on 15-of-31 passing. He also threw an interception and was sacked four times.
The Bruins improved to 2-3 (1-1 in conference), while Washington State dropped to 1-5 (0-3).
Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim
Despite winning 100 games in the regular season, the Angels failed to win their first two games of the postseason. The Red Sox extended their playoff-winning streak against the Angels to 11 games, as Boston won the first two games (4-1, 7-5) of the American League Divisional Series in Anaheim.
Los Angeles-Anaheim responded in Boston with a 5-4, 12-inning victory on Sunday. In playing the longest game (5h, 19m) in ALDS history, the Angels ended the losing streak, extending the series to a fourth game.
Catcher Mike Napoli helped end the streak for the Halos, hitting two home runs off Boston ace Josh Beckett before singling and scoring the winning run in the 12th inning.
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