Victorino, Phils bid for third straight NL title

October 13, 2010, 8:21 AM HST · Updated October 13, 8:21 AM
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By Fred Guzman

The stage has been set for the league championship series and Maui’s Shane Victorino again will be playing in major league baseball’s version of the final four.

Victorino has enjoyed another productive season for the Philadelphia Phillies, who are bidding to become the first National League team in 66 years to win three straight pennants.

The 29-year-old center fielder was one of many Philadelphia’s starters to spend time on the disabled list, but he still managed to log 147 appearnces.

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Victorino finished with a so-so .259 batting average, but his other numbers were impressive: 18 homers, 84 runs, 69 RBI and 34 steals.

A Gold Glove selection in the previous two seasons, Victorino continued to shine in the field, using his exceptional speed to register 360 putouts and his strong arm to gun down 10 base-runners.

In the three-game sweep of Cincinnati, Victorino scored two runs and drove in three. Now, Shane and the Phillies will meet the San Francisco Giants in the NLCS that begins Saturday in Philadelphia.

With the help of another exceptional outing by left-hander Cliff Lee, the Texas Rangers advanced by defeating Tampa Bay 5-1 in yesterday’s Game 5 of the AL division series. Lee tossed yet another post-season gem, striking out 11 and scattering six hits while going the distance.

Lee improved to 6-0 with a 1.44 ERA and three complete games in seven career playoff starts, striking out 54 and walking six in 56.1 innings. He had 21 strikeouts and no walks in 16 innings against Tampa Bay.

The Rangers will open the best-of-seven ALCS on Friday against the New York Yankees, who advanced by sweeping Minnesota.

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