LOS ANGELES - The Phillies brought the best road record in the major leagues - 19-6 - into Dodger Stadium tonight.
The Dodgers were waiting for them with the best home record in the majors at 20-6, and the best overall record as well, at 37-18.
What emerged was a taut game between the teams that played for the National League championship last season, and the Phillies took a 3-0 victory, their seventh win in a row.
Lefthander Cole Hamels (4-2), who had faltered in his previous start, was sharp this time. He went the distance, giving up just five hits while striking out five and walking none.
Hamels was the starter the last time the Phillies played at Dodger Stadium, too, and they left Chavez Ravine headed for the World Series after winning Game 5 of the League Championship Series.
That memory was one some of the Phillies gave a nod to today, and others packed away like old news clippings.
"No question, when you get back here, you remember what happened last year, having a nice celebration afterward," said closer Brad Lidge, who was on the mound for the final out last October.
"There's a little bit of that when you get here. You kind of think about what we did," Lidge said before the game. "Then you realize, hey, it's a new season. This season's got new battles to fight."
Hamels probably didn't expect to fight some of the battles he did earlier this season, but he had pitched well recently until his unsettling most recent start, an eight-hit, six-run outing against Washington on Saturday in a game the Phillies won nonetheless.
He was back on his game tonight.
The question was: How long would the Phillies have to wait to get on the scoreboard themselves?
They didn't get a hit off Dodgers starter Clayton Kershaw until the fourth inning, when Chase Utley led off with a double. He gave the Phillies a 1-0 lead after he moved to third on a groundout and scored on a sacrifice fly by Ryan Howard.
The Phillies tried to add to their slender lead in the fifth, but Kershaw got Jimmy Rollins to fly out to right with two outs and runners on second and third to end the inning.
Kershaw was fading, though, and the Phils chased him the next inning after Jayson Werth singled with one out, moved to second on a walk to Howard, and scored on a double to left-center by Raul Ibanez for a 2-0 lead.
Some apparent base-running confusion led to Howard's being tagged out between second and third, squandering a chance to score.
But the Phillies added a run in the seventh when Werth's single up the middle drove in Carlos Ruiz, who had singled and managed to steal second.
A little nostalgia for the Phillies at Chavez Ravine? Maybe not.
"We're already on to the next stage, which is focusing on 2009," Howard said before the game. "It's always fun to come to L.A., just because of the atmosphere, the history that lies in this stadium.