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The National League Championship Series was a best-of-five matchup between the Western Division champion Los Angeles Dodgers and the Eastern Division champion Philadelphia Phillies. The Dodgers beat the Phillies three games to one and went on lose the 1977 World Series to the New York Yankees.

Summary

Philadelphia Phillies vs. Los Angeles Dodgers

Game summaries

Game 1

Tuesday, October 4, 1977 at Dodger Stadiummarker in Los Angeles, Californiamarker

The Phillies took the opening game of the series, winning their first postseason game since Game 1 of the 1915 World Series. They had lost the final four games in 1915, been swept in the 1950 World Series and were swept again in the 1976 National League Championship Series.

Game 1 had been billed as a classic pitching matchup between 1977 Cy Young award winner Steve Carlton and twenty-game winner and Comeback Pitcher of the Year Tommy John. It didn't really live up to that, as neither figured in the final decision. The Phillies drew first blood in the first on a two-run homer by Greg Luzinski. They stretched the lead to 4–0 in the fifth on a bases-loaded, two-run single by Davey Johnson. In that inning, the Phils were helped when, on an apparent force-out of Bake McBride by Larry Bowa, Dodger shortstop Bill Russell glided off the second base bag as he received the throw before completing an attempted double play.

The Dodgers finally got on the board in their half of the fifth when Davey Lopes singled in Lee Lacy, who had pinch-hit for John and singled. Lacy scored after being advanced to second on a Carlton balk. The Phillies countered in the sixth on an RBI single by Carlton.

With two outs in the seventh and Lopes on first, Carlton appeared to be on his way out of the inning. However, he issued walks to Bill Russell and Reggie Smith. Ron Cey then made Carlton pay dearly for his loss of control by tying the game at five with a grand slam.

The Phils bounced back in the top of the ninth on an RBI single by Mike Schmidt, his only RBI of the NLCS. They added another run to close out the scoring when Bowa scored on a balk by Dodger reliever Elias Sosa.

Game 2

Wednesday, October 5, 1977 at Dodger Stadiummarker in Los Angeles, Californiamarker

The Phillies got on the board first once again via homer, with Bake McBride hitting a solo shot off Dodger starter Don Sutton in the third. The Dodgers tied it in the bottom half on an RBI single by Davey Lopes, then broke it wide open on a grand slam by Dusty Baker in the fourth off Jim Lonborg. Meanwhile, Sutton settled in and combined with Charlie Hough to shut the Phils down the rest of the way. The Dodgers added single runs in the sixth and seventh on an RBI single by Steve Yeager and an RBI triple by Reggie Smith.

Game 3

Friday, October 7, 1977 at Veterans Stadiummarker in Philadelphia, Pennsylvaniamarker

Game 3 went down in Philadelphia baseball annals as "Black Friday." The Dodgers opened the scoring in the second off Larry Christenson when Dusty Baker doubled home Steve Garvey from first on a close play at the plate. The Phillies tried to claim Garvey never touched home plate, but to no avail. Steve Yeager followed with a single to score Baker to make it 2–0.

In the bottom of the second, with two outs and Richie Hebner on second and Bob Boone on first, Dodger starter Burt Hooton began to dispute ball/strike calls issued by home plate umpire Bob Engel. Hooton's attitude and delay of the game aroused the displeasure of Philadelphia's infamous "boobird" fans, who took out their wrath upon their team's opponent. As the volume of the boos escalated to a deafening level, Hooton uncharacteristically lost control of both his pitches and his composure, issuing walks to Ted Sizemore, Christenson (forcing in Hebner), Bake McBride (forcing in Boone), and Larry Bowa (forcing in Sizemore), thus giving the Phillies a 3–2 lead. Dodger manager Tommy Lasorda then pulled Hooton in favor of Rick Rhoden, who induced Mike Schmidt into popping up to end the threat.

While Rhoden and Doug Rau were busy shutting down the Phils, the Dodgers tied the game in the fourth on an RBI single by Baker. The score stayed tied at 3–3 until the bottom of the eighth, setting up a wild finish.

Hebner led off the eighth with a double. Garry Maddox singled home Hebner and went all the way to third as Reggie Smith's throw home to try to nail Hebner went wild. Maddox then scored when Bob Boone grounded to Ron Cey at third and Cey threw wildly at home in an attempt to throw out Maddox. With a 5–3 lead entering the ninth and ace reliever Gene Garber on the mound, the Phillies looked to be sitting pretty.

Garber retired the first two hitters, but then pinch-hitter Vic Davalillo shocked the Phillies infield by laying down an 0–2 drag bunt and beating it out. Lasorda then sent another pinch hitter, Manny Mota, to hit for pitcher Lance Rautzhan. Mota sent a deep drive to left that Greg Luzinski trapped against the wall. Ted Sizemore then mishandled Luzinski's peg attempt at second to try to nail Mota, scoring Davalillo and sending Mota to third. Phillie manager Danny Ozark came under fire later from the media for not having Jerry Martin, a faster outfielder, in left field at that point. Martin, many felt, would have reached Mota's liner easier than the bigger, slower Luzinski.

Davey Lopes followed by hitting a blistering grounder to third that took a wicked hop and struck Mike Schmidt in the left knee. Larry Bowa retrieved the carom out of the air, fired to first, and appeared to have retired Lopes, but Lopes was called safe. TV replays showed that Bowa's throw beat Lopes. Meanwhile, Mota scored to tie the game at 5–5.

Garber, in an attempt to pick off Lopes at first, threw wildly past Hebner, sending Lopes to second. Bill Russell then singled to center to score Lopes with the go-ahead run. Mike Garman retired the side in the ninth for the Dodgers, who narrowly escaped defeat.

Game 4

Saturday, October 8, 1977 at Veterans Stadiummarker in Philadelphia, Pennsylvaniamarker

The Phillies would not recover after a controversial finish of game 3 as the Dodgers would clinch the pennant in a game that was delayed two hours by rain after the first inning. The Dodgers punched their ticket to the World Series on the strength of a two-run homer in the second by Dusty Baker, who was named NLCS MVP. Tommy John atoned for his Game 1 performance by getting the better of Steve Carlton this time, only allowing a single run in the fourth on an RBI double by Richie Hebner. Two more Dodger runs came across in the fifth when Baker scored on a Carlton wild pitch and Steve Yeager came home on a Bill Russell suicide squeeze bunt. Baker's homer was all John needed, however.

Composite box

1977 NLCS (3–1): Los Angeles Dodgers over Philadelphia Phillies

Notes

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