The Dodgers were a singles-hitting machine tonight, but their tiny Andy Dufresne rock hammer was no match for the jackhammer of Shane Victorino. The former Dodger had two doubles and a home run, leading the Phillies to a 5-3 win over the Dodgers, who continued their crawl through a foul-smelling season with no redemption in sight.
Too bad Victorino appealed his three-game suspension.
The Phillies scored their first run in the top of the first inning. After Victorino hit a one-out double to center field and advanced to third on a ground ball, Ryan Howard hit a bounding ball just over the outstretched glove of a leaping Kuroda. What could have been the third out of the inning turned into an infield single and another RBI for Howard, the National League leader in that department.
Another double scored a pair of runs for Philadelphia in the second inning, though this time with a little help from James Loney. With Carlos Ruiz on first and one out, Michael Martinez grounded to first. Loney double clutched, which killed any chance he had, if any, at a double play, then threw behind a covering Hiroki Kuroda, allowing Martinez to reach and Ruiz to advance to third base. With catcher Rod Barajas backing up first base on the play, home plate was briefly unoccupied, but unfortunately we missed an opportunity to see two catchers both racing toward home plate from different angles.
By the middle of the second inning the Dodgers were down 3-0, and were faced with these grim realities:
- When the Phillies have scored three runs for Roy Halladay, he was 13-0 and the team was 17-0 this season before tonight (and make it 23-0 and 27-0 dating back to last July)
- When Kuroda had given up a run he was 2-13 and the team was 2-14 this season (0-11 for Kuroda and 0-12 for the team since his last start of April)
Kuroda recovered to pitch into the seventh inning, and the Dodgers even scored a run for him. But it was just one run, in the fifth inning. The Dodgers threatened with a pair of singles by Matt Kemp and Aaron Miles to open the sixth inning, but Halladay shut the door by retiring the next three batters.
The Phillies added an insurance run in the seventh inning after Kuroda was removed in a double switch, when Howard doubled off Scott Elbert to score Victorino, who himself had doubled off Kuroda for the second time of the game earlier in the inning.
The Dodgers put another two runners on in the seventh inning with one out to chase Halladay, but left-hander Antonio Bastardo was able to induce a double play grounder from Andre Ethier to end the inning. Ethier had two hits on the night, his fourth straight multi-hit game, but he is hitting just .246/.281/.341 against southpaws this season.
Once Halladay was out of the game, the Dodgers felt a weight lifted off their shoulders and scored two runs in the eighth, but it could have been more. With two runs already in, pulling the Dodgers to within 4-3, and runners on first or second base and one out, Dee Gordon hit a slow ground ball to Utley. Juan Rivera, running from first, just ran straight through Utley as he attempted to field the ball, and was immediately called out for interference, per MLB Rule 7.08(b). With interference, the ball is dead and no runners may advance, so pinch runner Eugenio Velez had to go back to second base even though he would have easily been at third base had Rivera not interfered with Utley. This was big when Brad Lidge uncorked a wild pitch on his very next pitch, which could have brought home the tying run.
After Victorino's home run in the top of the ninth, the Dodgers brought the tying run to the plate in the bottom of the inning, but Ryan Madson was able to retire the side for his 20th save of the season.
- The 13 singles were the most by the Dodgers without an extra-base hit since June 22, 2006, against the Mariners, when they had 14 singles.
- The Dodgers today signed their sixth-round draft pick Scott Barlow, a right-handed pitcher out of Golden Valley High School in Santa Clarita. Jim Callis of Baseball America reported the signing bonus for Barlow to be $150,000.
- Callis also reported the Dodgers signed ninth-round catcher Tyler Ogle out of the University of Oklahoma, for $100,000. The deadline to sign all 2011 draft picks is next Monday, August 15, at 9 p.m.
- Game two of the series is Tuesday night, with Ted Lilly facing Cliff Lee in a battle of former Expos southpaws
WP - Roy Halladay (15-4): 6 1/3 IP, 9 hits, 1 run, 2 walks, 4 strikeouts
LP - Hiroki Kuroda (7-14): 6 1/3 IP, 9 hits, 4 runs (3 earned), 1 walk, 4 strikeouts
Sv - Ryan Madson (20): 1 IP, 1 hit, 1 strikeout