Ranger Suarez knew what we had to do on Friday night, and he succeeded. As cool as ever, the 27-year-old lefty twirled five outstanding innings and limited the Padres to just two runs, one earned, in a 4-2 Phillies victory in Game 3 of the National League Championship Series at Citizens Bank Park. 

The victory gives the Phils a 2-1 advantage in the best-of-seven series, with Game 4 set for Saturday night in Philadelphia. 

Suarez scattered two hits, didn't issue a walk, and whiffed three.  

"Just go out and do my best, that was the plan," Suarez said. "This is a great win for the team and now we move forward."

Seranthony Dominguez recorded the final six outs to collect the save; the last six out postseason save for the Phillies belonged to Tug McGraw and came in the deciding Game 6 of the 1980 World Series, 42 years to the day. 

"I was just thinking about finishing it,” Domínguez said. “I’m out of the game when they say I’m out. When I’m still in the game, I’m going to try to get people out.”

Dominguez has been outstanding for the Phillies this postseason, not allowing a run over 6 2/3 innings while scattering just two hits. He's also collected 13 strikeouts.

"Incredible,” Phillies manager Rob Thomson said. “Ever since we started the playoffs, he’s been locked in. He’s pitched in the biggest parts of the game and done a great job. The moment doesn’t get to him.”

Kyle Schwarber hit a solo leadoff homer in the first to set the tone, joining Jimmy Rollins as the only player in franchise history to leadoff a postseason game with a homer.

Jean Segura delivered the big blow though for the Phillies, connecting for a two-run single in the fourth. Alec Bohm contributed with a pair of hits in the victory, including an RBI double in the sixth that chased Padres starter Joe Musgrove. 

The Padres did threaten a few times, particularly in the fourth inning. 

Juan Soto was hit by a pitch to open the frame and motored over to third on a Brandon Drury single to the right side that beat an infield shift. Jake Cronenworth then hit a tailor-made double-play ball to the left side of the infield, but Segura dropped a Bryson Stott toss, allowing Drury to be safe at second and Soto to cross the plate to even the contest at 1-1. Suarez proceeded to record two outs without incident to eliminate the threat.

Segura's two-run single put the Phillies back on top, but a Rhys Hoskins defensive miscue in the fifth allowed the Padres to come back to within a run. Luckily for the Phils, that's as close as the Padres got. 

Musgrove tossed 5 2/3 innings, surrendering four runs on eight hits for San Diego. 

"This game is about the mental part," Segura said. "At the end of the day, we're going to make a mistake. That's the play that I probably made 3,000 times in my life, but for some reason I missed it. As a player, you learn from your mistake, and you never put your head down. Just keep it up, continue to play the game because you don't know how the game's going to end. Maybe that play can affect you through the game. So just it's part of the game. When you make a mistake, just keep going forward."

Lefty Bailey Falter will start for the Phils in Game 4; he hasn't pitched since Oct. 5. Thomson's hope is that he can get through the lineup once, but from there it'll depend on matchups. The Padres will counter with right-hander veteran Mike Clevinger.

The Phillies now sit two wins away from reaching the World Series.

"It's exciting, but we can't look beyond tomorrow right now." said Rhys Hoskins. "We're focused only on tomorrow."

13 stars

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