Cliff Lee, Carlos Ruiz dominant as Dodgers fall in opener to Phillies

Harry How

The Phillies left-hander has lasted at least seven innings in all nine career starts against the Dodgers.

LOS ANGELES -- Paul Maholm got roughed up for two big innings while Cliff Lee was his usual stingy self, giving the Phillies an easy 7-0 victory over the Dodgers on Monday night at Dodger Stadium.

Carlos Ruiz, batting cleanup for the first time this season, doubled to right to knock in two runs in the first inning, then hit a two-bagger to left in the third inning. Chooch added a two-run home run in the ninth inning to match his career high with three extra-base hits in a game.

Ruiz had four extra-base hits, all doubles, in 14 games, entering Monday. In 51 career games against the Dodgers, including the playoffs, Ruiz is hitting .313/.433/.469.

"I fell behind 3-1, I fell behind 3-0, and it was 3-2 when I walked him. I was mainly falling behind and having to come to him and not make him hit my pitch, and that was a recipe for disaster," Maholm said of his battles with Ruiz. "It's kind of how most of the game went. If I get ahead, I get easy ground balls. But I had too many balls up in the zone."

Ryan Howard blasted a Maholm curveball into the right center field pavilion in the fifth inning for a two-run home run and a 4-0 Philadelphia lead. Maholm then allowed a pair of two-out singles, then threw a potential inning-ending Freddie Galvis tapper back to the mound over the head of Adrian Gonzalez at first base to bring him the Phillies' fifth run.

"It's still a 2-0 game in the fifth and could have been a 1-0. If there's a different guy on the other side and we're able to put some runs up, who knows what we'd do differently," said manager Don Mattingly. "The way Cliff was going four runs felt like 10."

Maholm needed 107 pitches to get through his five innings, and had more walks (three) than strikeouts (two) for the third time in three starts this year.

Matt Kemp singled to lead off the second inning, the third hit in the first five batters against Lee, but that was pretty much it. Lee retired the next 20 batters and lasted eight innings for his third win of the season.

The man to break up Lee's string of 20 straight batters retired was Tim Federowicz, who was 2-for-32 (.063) before the single.

Lee struck out 10, walked none, and in his career against the Dodgers has a 1.30 ERA with 75 strikeouts and 10 walks in 69 innings, including the playoffs. He has lasted at least seven innings in all nine starts.

Lee in his career has 17 games with double-digit strikeouts and no walks, including four in the postseason.

The Dodgers' only real scoring threat against him came in the first inning.

Gonzalez extended his hitting streak to 16 games with a slow groundball up the middle in the opening frame fielded by Chase Utley behind second base, but Utley wisely caught Yasiel Puig rounding third base for the third out of the inning.

As it was, Puig was the only Dodgers runner to reach second base all night.

Gonzalez at 16 consecutive games matched his longest hitting streak as a Dodger, set from Sept. 19, 2012 to April 1, 2013, and is two games shy of his career-high streak of 18 games, set in 2012 with Boston.

Notes

When Maholm was removed in favor of Brandon League to start the sixth inning, Dee Gordon entered the game on a double switch, with Justin Turner moving to third base. That gave Juan Uribe his first rest of the year, after playing the first 181⅔ defensive innings this season.

League pitched two scoreless innings in relief on Monday night with a strikeout, one hit allowed, four ground outs and one line drive back to the mound that he caught. In his last three outings, dating back to Wednesday in San Francisco, League has pitched 4⅔ with three strikeouts, eight groundouts, and no fly balls.

"We feel like he's been pretty good. I know he got the loss in the game in San Francisco, but he's been throwing the ball pretty good. Obviously it's been negative since last year and because he has a little bit of a rough spring," Mattingly said of League. "He's given us some good innings, he's kept games where they should be, giving us chances. He's doing his job."

Scott Van Slyke played the final two innings in center field Monday night for his first regular season action at the position in his career. Van Slyke did play the final inning in center field in St. Louis in Game 1 of the 2013 NLCS.

Up next

The Dodgers send Hyun-jin Ryu to the mound in the second game of the series on Tuesday night. The Phillies counter with A.J. Burnett

Monday particulars

Home runs: Ryan Howard (5), Carlos Ruiz (1)

WP - Cliff Lee (3-2): 8 IP, 4 hits, 10 strikeouts

LP - Paul Maholm (0-2): 5 IP, 8 hits, 5 runs (4 earned), 3 walks, 2 strikeouts

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